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Shake-ups in city politics, Thanksgiving, and semester finals

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our city's Director of Parks and Recreation has just resigned, seemingly because he and a crony collected bogus overtime from the city.
This is pretty major for people like me, who need help getting precious funds into urban forestry projects. Most of us involved in caring for city trees thought of him as as ally. He hadn't been on the job long, but was well-liked and responsive to our Tree Stewards group, and the Mayor considered Parks and Rec a big priority. It's unsettling to have to delete his email address, when I was looking forward to having a long and productive relationship. NOT GOOD less than a year after audits revealed that the city could not account for more than HALF the $ spent on urban forestry! I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I ask "what now?"


I have convinced the spouse to try something new this Thanksgiving: eating out. I think it was helpful that I have been cooking nothing but traditional Thanksgiving fare for the past two weeks, so I'm off the hook for doing that particular day, and we don't have any more appealing options at relatives homes, so restaurant dinner it is. Yay!


Just two more art projects to draw: I will get an A in art.
One more presentation, and the final exam, in arboriculture: I will get an A.
One more computer drawing in CADD: I'm pretty sure I will get an A.
One research paper, and class logs due, in propagation: I THINK I'll get an A there too.
Two conferences in December. School over until late January. Massive prep and housecleaning, inlaws arrive.
But this week - a week off from school and few warm days to work outside. Bliss!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 11/22/2010 3:59PM

    I am convinced that anyone involved in city politics is crooked! It blows my mind!

Enjoy your week off and especially not having to cook on Thursday!

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PHEBESS 11/22/2010 9:35AM

    Wow to the politics - so frustrating being disappointed in people like that, especially when you have a stake or vocational investment in the situation.

And yay to Thanksgiving out, and yay to all those As, and YAY to time off from school!!!!!

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Ok, I'm not imagining this (and I'm not alone).

Monday, November 15, 2010

College seniors spend a lot of time sitting at their desks.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 11/16/2010 6:10AM

    They also sleep. I have a professor friend who takes pix of his students sleeping at their desks and posts them on facebook.

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_UMAMI_ 11/15/2010 7:27PM

    I'm sure this is especially true of the past 15 years or so, since the Internet has become such a time-suck. Less time outdoors de-stressing by runnibg, biking or even a game of frisbee w/ friends, I would imagine.

(BTW, I love geeky science/health articles.)

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MBSHAZZER 11/15/2010 1:09PM

    Interesting! I spent a lot of time drinking beer during my senior year !

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I know who I am.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My most stressful and demanding class (the 8 week English class) has finally come to an end, and that is a HUGE weight off of my shoulders (yes, I managed to get an A!). Now, I only have one demanding class: Art. My other classes are stressful but not demanding. Arboriculture class is stressful because the teacher is appallingly bad, and my Propagation and CADD classes are stressful because they're so boring: but everything looks on track to get four more As. Even better: the same week my English class finishes, my Art class cancels. Yahoo! No Saturday class! It was sheer coincidence that my phone rang with a job offer, and due to the lightened load, I accepted the job.

I met with the homeowner the following day, and the job seemed very straightforward: the house is being sold, and the realtor wanted me to "stage" the landscape. Easy, because there was almost no brainwork; and desirable, because I would finally get away from my desk and enjoy the flawlessly beautiful weather we've been having. The only thing odd about the job was the homeowner, who had a strange proclivity to overload me with unnecessary personal information. Within minutes of our meeting, she told me:
1. she'd been divorced four times
2. her husband had prostate surgery and was impotent as a result
3. she was a recovering alcoholic
4. she was a lesbian
5. she'd met a woman online
6. she was in a long-distance relationship with the woman she met online
7. her husband didn't want a divorce
8. she and her husband were relocating to be closer to her new lover.

A lot to digest from a stranger.
I knew the job would be over, and the client gone, in a couple of weeks; so I gave a low bid, and it was immediately accepted.
I started the next day. I hired people and the work went fast; and I did what I could to avoid the chatty homeowner and stay on schedule. However, the interruptions escalated after the homeowner started drinking. And although I would never tell her, she's kind of a surly drunk. She seemed annoyed at my endeavors to maintain professional courtesy, and employed a barrage of passive-aggressive behaviors to combat it: frowning and telling me my approach toward my employees was "masculine", and insisting that I was, in fact, a lesbian. She complained loudly to other people about how expensive I was, glanced at me to make sure I'd heard, smiled, and walked away. One evening, after an all-day bender, she "helped" me prune a shrub by grabbing a tool and hacking away at one side of it (which took me almost 20 minutes to conceal), then cornered me to discuss religion, and told me I was delusional for believing in God. Fortunately, God made the sun go down right after that, so I could leave. And I thought I was getting away from psychic distress when I took this job.

On the way home, I thought about her, and decided she was just... lost. I mean, mentally lost. She started seeing therapists and stopped seeing God. She's been drunk most of her life, and has been married five times. What makes her think she can trust her instincts NOW? I accept her beliefs and I don't care who she loves. I applaud self-discovery, but she kept trying to convince me I was a lesbian, based on the fact that she didn't know SHE was one for over 50 years. She's still not sober. How can she be sure? I wouldn't put money on it... I think she's still lost.
I don't think that way about myself. I feel as if I know myself well, and I feel completely in control of my destiny. I don't feel uneasy or uncertain, because it is my truth, and there is integrity in my ownership of it.
When I think about myself, I see a very clear path. I know where it leads. I know where I plan to be next year and the year after that. I know what my goals are and what I should be doing today and five years from today to achieve them. I know the kind of person I am. I know all these things about myself, and I don't think she knows any of them about herself; and she certainly doesn't know them about me. But I know who I am!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCYGIRLLAX 11/1/2010 2:20PM

    Great blog, it is so hard to not take on what people say to you, but you were smart to walk away and see the lesson in that. I needed some inspiration today, I am glad I stumbled upon you!

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TEECHINMAMA73 11/1/2010 10:28AM

    I know WHERE I want to be. Still figuring out HOW to get there. But not as lost as this poor soul. lol. Keep up the good work!

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MBSHAZZER 10/26/2010 11:10AM

    Wow, that sounds like an interesting job! Doesn't seem like she's a "recovering" alcoholic... more like the drinking kind.

My BF has the kind of personality where people he's just met will tell him stuff like that. I lived next door to a woman for 5 years and within 5 minutes of meeting my BF, she told him more than I ever knew in 5 years!

Anyway, knowing who you are and where you are going is key in life. You have a good head on your shoulders.

Enjoy the rest of the semester!

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PHEBESS 10/26/2010 10:50AM


You are a strong woman to be able to deal with a client like that! Wow. I'm just so blown away!

Oh, and congrats on the A!!!!!!

Comment edited on: 10/26/2010 11:03:52 AM

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JLPNURSE 10/26/2010 7:31AM

    I LAUGHED OUT LOUD at this post. Ah, the poor lost soul that tries to lead another.

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Trying circumstances, stress, and exercises in positive thinking

Sunday, October 10, 2010

This week: midterms in four classes... finals in one class... and art class goes from relaxing to stressful.
Our art teacher, who has been easygoing, encouraging and empathetic to this point, began her maternity leave this week, but not before dealing out our most punishing assignment yet. After a discussion of atmospheric perspective, she told us to draw TEN before next class.
Our typical assignment is to draw ONE thing. Last week, I spent four hours on my drawing before the roof leak emergency, and didn't even get halfway finished. I was horrified. If I spent four hours on one drawing, I was looking at forty hours of art homework! I sent the teacher an email, trying to determine if quantity or quality was more important. She did not respond.
Limiting myself to one hour per sketch, I was able to make seven awful sketches. I was desperate to meet the requirement.
In class, teacher #2 went around from student to student, checking homework (which NOBODY was able to finish, by the way). I heard not a single word of encouragment come from her.
She came to me, I pulled out my sketches, and listened to her coldly point out everything wrong with every one of them. It was quite a departure from teacher #1. To each comment, I could only respond 'yes, I KNOW" - trying to remain calm in my astonishment, as she instructed me to do everything over by the next class.
By the time she finished with everyone, and settled in to begin her lecture, I needed a break. I got up, walked down the hall to the ladies room, and just bawled for about fifteen minutes. Yes, that's how bad it has gotten. My stress level has finally reached the point where it is spilling out of my eyeballs.
So how the hell do I have time to blog about this? I don't know. I feel like I'm losing my mind, and wonder if it is just stress, or my hormones (again).

After waiting almost four days for my english teacher to grade my last essay, she FINALLY responded, giving me the lowest grade yet, but failing to attach the part where she tells me what needs to be corrected - never mind that the deadline for making the corrections and resubmitting my essay IS TOMORROW. And lest I forget, the deadline for the draft of my NEXT essay is ALSO tomorrow. Still no word from my teacher.

No matter how many times I listen to my Zig Ziglar CDs, staying calm and thinking positively are a real challenge this week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 10/11/2010 9:22AM

    NB, very stressful week. I'm sorry you are having a tough time, but glad you took the time to blog about it. I will not say, "hang in there" because, really, what else can you do?! But I do hope you get a break soon!


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_UMAMI_ 10/10/2010 11:19PM

    Gosh, I'd be looking for a punching bag or a dartboard or something to VENT!

One of my oldest, best friends is working on her Masters (which, thru marriage, international moves, childbirth and divorce, has taken her close to 20 years to accomplish). In addition she works, commutes, single-parents. I know how stressful it can be.

I don't really have any helpful words, except that you have people who care about you here (even if we're just ethereal internet beings) and in real life, and we'll listen and offer support as we are able.

Also, when you have gotten thru this gauntlet, you will be MISTRESS OF YOUR DOMAIN!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SECRETFUN 10/10/2010 6:37PM

  Good gracious! Thinking positive active thoughts!

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PHEBESS 10/10/2010 11:04AM

    Sending you lots of hugs and good luck wishes, hon, and I know you'll persevere. (And it sounds like pg art teacher has hormone craziness going on!)

Did she want 10 finished drawings, or 10 sketches? I could see 10 sketches - not 10 finished drawings!

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My portfolio, and art classes

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I like my required art class this semester (Intro to Drawing) much better than the one I enrolled in last semester (History & Appreciation of Art). I couldn't STAND art history, and dropped the class after three weeks.
Intro to Drawing is a studio class, worth four credits. We each get an easel and the instructor teaches us a basic drawing technique, which we then practice. It is my only Saturday class. It's quite pleasant and relaxed, but takes a lot of time away from my other studies.
I purchased a separate, paper portfolio for the class, which wasn't damaged at all by the rain leaking through my roof, luckily! I will be graded on it's contents.
While drawing pictures is a big part of my job, I like that my art class makes me draw things I wouldn't ordinarily draw, and use techniques I would never use. The last time I had a similar art class was in 1979.
First, we drew simple outlines and silhouettes, and negative space drawings. I could literally do my homework in 5 or 10 minutes. Now that we've moved onto more complex compositions, my stress level has soared, because they take forever (well, not forever, but the last one took more than 2 hours). The whole time I'm drawing pictures for my homework assignment, I'm thinking about my homework due dates in all my other classes. It gives me heart palpitations.
I will be SO GLAD when this semester is over!

Homework: dog sleeping negative, 5 minutes.

Homework: negative drawing of my eyeglasses and coffee mug, 10 minutes.

In class exercise, 20 minutes. I have NEVER drawn with ink and a bamboo brush!

In class: objects on a table, 30 minutes.

Homework interrupted by roof leak.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GETFITTER7 10/14/2010 7:59PM

    I remember in art class not knowing what to draw, so I drew my hand in different resting positions. Art class...maybe someday I will go back...kinda miss it. But I will go for pleasure-not worry about the grade. Altho, that wasn't a problem for me. Good luck with your artwork! Try not to stress...relax and enjoy doing art. emoticon

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KAYKAYRUNNER 10/3/2010 1:42PM

    Wow! Lucky! LOL I'm taking Art History this semester! Its so hard to stay awake in that class! hehe.. Looks like you are a very talented artist!! Keep up the good work!! && The semester will be over before we know it! (HOORAY! haha)

Good luck!

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MBSHAZZER 10/3/2010 1:24PM

    Wow, you're very talented!! I had to take one art class as well... and it was the most time consuming. I definitely spent more time on that class than on all of my other classes combined that semester!

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SECRETFUN 10/3/2010 12:45PM

  I agree they are lovely!

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PHEBESS 10/3/2010 11:16AM

    Lovely drawings! I'm glad you like this class better than the art history one.

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