Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Invitation

The Invitation
by: Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of future pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine and your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't matter to me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
"Yes."

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Copyright 1995 by Oriah House



Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Do It Anyway...

I am sure a lot of us have come across the "Do It Anyway" poem that was made famous world-wide by Mother Teresa. But, how many of us know where it originally came from? The original version was called "The Paradoxical Commandments" and was written by Dr. Kent Keith. Mother Teresa's version puts a spiritual spin on the ideology while Dr. Keith tends to take a more practical approach. No matter what walk of life you are from though one or the other will most likely ring true for you. So, I share them here today...
 

The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

---------

The Paradoxical Commandments

by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

10 Tips for Surviving Finals Week

This week is Finals Week at Ivy Tech Community College - East Central Region and most likely most, if not all, of the Ivy Tech campuses throughout the state. It's also most likely finals week at other colleges and universities throughout the state as well. Finals can be a stressful time for everyone involved with the process, but more so for the students taking the exams. I was surfing the web and came across "Ten Tips for Surviving Finals" from the Office of Academic Programs at the University of Arizona. Since this is finals week, I thought I'd share their tips with you:


1. Don’t panic (make too much of the final).The first thing you should do
is to check what the final is worth in each course. Remember, it is only one
component of your final grade. If it is worth 20% or less, you probably won't
be able to bring your final grade up or down by more than one grade level
(e.g., B to B+), unless you perform extremely better or worse than you have
on other exams and assignments during the semester.

2. Don’t be too relaxed (make too little of the final).On the other hand,
you should try to do as well on the final as you possibly can. Furthermore,
sometimes the final is a big part of your final grade (30% or more), in which
case it is more likely to make a significant difference in your final average. It is
better not to go into the final with the idea, "I just need to get x number of
points to keep my B (or whatever it is) average." It may not be possible to
calculate this accurately anyway, since teachers sometimes compute things
like participation grades at the very end.

3. Make time for "renewing" activities.This is NOT the time to stop exercising
or doing other things that you find enjoyable. Pace yourself! You will
study more effectively if you spread things out and take breaks. But watch the
proportions here. Beware of doing 15 minutes of studying followed by a twohour
break to play a video game!

4. Use an effective study method.The key to effective retention is repetition,
and not overloading your brain (it can only absorb so much in an hour).
Click here to get information about an effective technique for exam study.
Whatever you do, don’t do it all in one long cramming session. Which brings
us to:

5. Get enough sleep.Don’t pull an "all nighter." You will do better if you are
rested, and cramming often leads to a superficial and confused knowledge of
the material you have studied. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is used
as torture. Failure to follow #4 and 5 can lead to writing nonsense on exams.
Teachers often fall off their chairs laughing at some of the silly statements that
appear on finals.

6. Resist the urge to party on "off" days. Instead, if you have a break in
your exam schedule, use it to get a head start on the exams coming up. This
can be a time to catch up on missed reading, or to complete Step 1 of
"Immediate Preparation" in my study method. REMEMBER: if you party, you
will need to recover! And research has shown that people who engage in highrisk
drinking deaden their cognitive skills (ability to recall and organize information,
etc.)

7. Arrive on time for the exam.Be especially careful about setting your
alarm the night before. Save yourself the anxiety and embarrassment of arriving
late. Needless to say, you may also need every minute of the exam period
to finish the exam.

8. Follow the rules of good exam taking.Click here for some tips on taking an essay exam.

9. Don’t worry about others finishing earlier than you.This could mean ANYTHING. It often
means these students have written a mediocre or poor exam. Take the time YOU need.

10. When the exam is over, let it go!Forget it! Move on to the next one, or go enjoy the
break! If you do have major concerns, make an appointment to see your professor at a mutually
convenient time.

Good luck everyone!

Throughout the week I'll be posting blogs about finals week on campus. Experiences I've had while at work and what it's like on campus during finals week... So, stay tuned!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sobering - I'm a Patient at the Cancer Center (Part 2)

Got your attention, didn't it? Well, if you haven't read my previous blog Sobering - Part 1 (click on the title to be taken to the blog) then you should probably take the opportunity to do that now so you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Continued from "Sobering - Part 1"

I called my primary care doctor's office the next morning and explained what was going on and they contacted the Hematologist for me and called me back and told me to expect a call from them. So, about 30 minutes later I get a call that went something like this:

Me: Hello?
Office Person: Hello! This is Medical Consultants. We've scheduled you for an appointment at 11 am with one of our Nurse Practitioners. Are you familiar with where we are located in the hospital?
Me: Yes, you're over in the Outpatient Pavilion with the other Medical Consultant offices right?
Office Person: Well, no. Our offices are in the Cancer Center at Ball Memorial Hospital. The doctor who will be managing your care is a Hematologist/Oncologist and our offices are there. Do you know where that is?
Me: The Cancer Center... My appointment is in the Cancer Center?!?
Office Person: Yes, do you know where that is?
Me: Uh... The Cancer Center? Um... What?
Office Person: Yes, The Cancer Center. The Nurse Practitioner, Nurse X, can explain everything when you get here.

Okay, so I don't have to tell you where my mind went as soon as I heard the words "Oncologist" and "Cancer Center". The person on the phone obviously picked up on some of the panic in my voice but she really couldn't tell me much since she most likely didn't know the particulars of my case in the first place. So I called my sister and told her that I had an appointment at the Cancer Center and her reaction was a little more tame than mine.

So, we go to the Cancer Center and wait in the waiting room with all these other people in various stages of cancer and I'm so nervous that I feel as if I could throw up at any moment. Finally, after what seemed like years, my name was called and my sister and I went back to a treatment room. The Nurse Practitioner started in about my platelet levels and told me that I'd be going back on steroids and I would meet with Dr. X tomorrow morning but for now they were sending me up to the Oncology floor. She had yet to tell me why I was being seen by an Oncologist or why I had to go to the Cancer Center. So I finally said "So is this ITP or something else... like you know... Cancer..." and she replied "Oh, God... It's ITP. I didn't realize you thought you had cancer. I guess coming to the Cancer Center and hearing words like Oncologists and Oncology would make you think that though..." YOU THINK?!?

So, I had to go to registration and register and then go up to Oncology. Now here comes the sobering part... I had to have an IVIG treatment, which takes about 8 hours. They put me in a room with three other people, all of which had some form of cancer and all were receiving chemotherapy. So, for 8 hours I had to sit in this room with my fellow patients and I realized that for them it isn't as simple as receiving two 8 hour treatments and going on steroids. For them, it's countless chemo treatments and everything that comes with that and the small hope that their cancer will go into remission and that some day there may be a cure. As I sat there humbled by their grace and strength and their perseverance I found myself at a loss for words. Conversations about chemo and nausea and hair falling out blended in with conversations about the best pizza in town and amazing new recipes and whirled around the room and I sat in stunned silence. Later that day they had to stop my treatment because I started having a reaction to it. Suddenly I was freezing and went pale and my lips turned blue. They brought me blankets and checked my oxygen level and stopped treatment and paged the Nurse Practitioner. From the corner of the room, and older gentleman spoke up and said "The young one is gonna be okay isn't she?" and he looked at me with genuine concern. This man who has advanced cancer is worried about me? The compassion he showed was awe inspiring and heartwarming. Several hours later when my treatment had finished he was still there receiving his chemotherapy and he smiled and waved at me and said "Maybe, God willing, I'll see you around again." I came back the next day for another treatment but he wasn't there. The room was empty when I first started but as the day went on people came and went for treatments such as iron and various drugs associated with treating blood related diseases. I was there for 8 hours and didn't leave until around 9 pm. When I left there was one older woman, a small fragile woman who had come in around 3 pm, who was still receiving a chemo treatment and infusion of something else. She smiled at me and said "God bless you on your journey" and closed her eyes as I walked out of the room.

Over the next year I went from bi-weekly to monthly to 6 month appointments with the Hematologist/Oncologist and his Nurse Practitioner. I would go to the Outpatient Lab 1 or 2 days before and get blood drawn and then I'd wait for the appointment and the news as to whether my platelet levels and white blood cell counts were normal.  Every day I sat in the lobby of the Cancer Center and listened to the other patients talk about diagnosis and treatment and prognosis and life expectancy. I listened as they talked about nausea and loss of appetite and energy. I listened to them talk about fearing they wouldn't get to see their grandchilden or children grow up. I listened as some of them talked about being in remission and how they felt better than they had in a long time but feared with each appointment that they'd get that dreaded news that the cancer was back. Then one day the news did come for one of them, yes the cancer was back and it had spread. I tried not to be intrusive as they talked about fighting and being tired of the fight. I listened as they talked about how they weren't ready to say goodbye to their family. One day a young woman who couldn't have been much older than me came in for an appointment. When she came out to greet her nervous family the news not only brought tears to their eyes, but mine as well. Yes, she had cancer. It was in it's beginning stages but she needed to be hospitalized immediately for exploratory surgery, more testing to make sure it hadn't spread to other organs and starting treatment. My heart was racing and tears were streaming and I finally got up and moved away to give them more privacy. I felt as if I were intruding on one of the most defining and life-changing moments this family would ever have. The mother caught my eye as I moved away and smiled a weak smile and nodded in thanks and understanding. But I barely managed to return it as I sat down and waited nervously for my appointment. It occurred to me that whatever news the doctor had for me couldn't possibly be as life-changing or devastating as the news that young woman just received. For me a relapse meant more IVIG treatments and steroids. It wasn't a death sentence it was just a set-back, but what about those patients who hear the word "cancer" at their appointments? It was all very sobering.

I had an appointment with the Hematologist/Oncologist last Wednesday (April 18, 2012) and he gave me the news I had wanted to hear. I have been symptom free and in "remission" from ITP for 1 year and 29 days.  My next appointment isn't until April of next year, unless I have symptoms and then I have to make an appointment immediately. But for now, I'm in the clear and there's a possibility and hope that is unique and different than most of the other patients, that it might not come back at all. As I walked out of the Cancer Center that day with a smile on my face I was reminded of my experiences over the last year and 29 days. I was reminded of my personal connection with cancer and how much I despised the disease.

My grandmother passed away on January 19, 1994 from cancer. She'd been ill on and off for as long as I could remember. She always seemed to beat it and come back though and she was a symbol of courage and strength for me and my family. Finally, in her final stages of cancer, she opted to come home instead of going to a hospice because she wanted to die at home. My family took care of her in her final days. I remember the final year of my grandmother's life and how she slowly slipped away. I remember how the disease slowly robbed her of everything she had and left her a small and scared little old woman dying. For me cancer is personal and with my latest illness and treatment at the Cancer Center came the reminder that life is precious. We must live every day with the knowledge that it could very well be our last. So, let the people you love know you love and appreciate them. Never take anything or anyone for granted. Take every opportunity to enjoy this beautiful struggle and journey we call life...

Live well. Laugh often. Love more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sobering - Background Information (Part 1)

In September of 2007 I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), which is a blood disorder in which your immune system attacks and destroys the platelets in your body. Platelets are necessary for clotting, so symptoms of ITP include bruising easily or bruises without obvious cause or injury, bleeding of the mouth and gums, nosebleeds, petechial skin rashes (red or purple dots), and in severe cases internal bleeding and bleeding in the brain. A normal platelet count is 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microlitre of blood. It is not known what causes ITP, hence the word "idiopathic". Although a suspected reoccurring virus might be the culprit in my case. My platelet count was 3000 and the ER doctor who admitted me said that I could have easily bled to death from something as simple as a scrape from falling down or a paper cut. I was admitted because they wanted to do an infusion of platelets, intravenous immunoglobulin treatments, and make sure I wasn't bleeding internally. I was hospitalized for 4 days and upon release I was on 150 mgs of Prednisone (steroid) and referred to my primary care doctor for follow-up care and monitoring. I had to get blood work done weekly at first and then eventually monthly while they slowly reduced my Prednisone by 10 mg a month. The entire process took over a year before I was finally off of Prednisone and all my care was handled by my primary doctor.

In March of 2011 I experienced a relapse and started developing the petechial skin rash and one morning I woke up with unexplained bruises all over my stomach. I immediately freaked out. We're talking major panic attack that involved getting sick. I tried to call my sister Brenda several times and couldn't get through. Then I heard a knock on the door and when I opened it she was there. She could tell by the look on my face that something was wrong. When I showed her the bruises she told me I needed to call my doctor immediately. I called my primary care doctor who saw me later that day and he ordered several lab tests that I had done at an outside lab facility. My sister Brenda drove me to both appointments and then drove me home and stayed with me a few hours before going home. Later that evening he called me to inform me that my platelet count was 9000 and that he was referring me to the same Hematologist that managed my care while I was in the hospital. His reasoning was that he thought I would be better served by an expert in the field because his knowledge of treatment was limited and he wanted to make sure there were no complications with my care. He also told me that if I were his daughter then he'd definitely insist that I saw a specialist. Well, that's comforting... He told me that I should call his office in the morning and they would contact the Hematologist and make sure all the labs were sent to him and then his office would contact me to schedule an appointment. Sounded simple enough. I was terrified, but I had been through this before so I had some idea of what to expect. Or at least that's what I thought...

To be continued...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

No Apologies... No Excuses...

Well, as you can see the idea I had about blogging at least once every day was a epic fail. It's all good. Life tends to get in the way sometimes. So, I'm not making any apologies and excuses but I am also not making any promises. I'll blog when I can... That might be every day or it might be a few days a week or it could be a few times a month. But I'll eventually blog. I can't promise intellectual stimulating conversation either. Some of the blog entries might not even make sense. But hey, it's always your choice to read or not to read... 

So anyway... I'm working up a longer entry for later. Peace out until then!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Epic Fail

So, I suppose since the last entry to this blog was on April 4th and it's now April 10th we can safely say that posting in my blog every day was an epic fail. Oh well...

There is something rather huge that I could blog about but I'm not sure I am ready to blog and share that just yet. I know, I'm such a tease... It's nothing bad though. It's just life-changing, perhaps in a good way, for our family.

Moving on...

Someone suggested the other day that I pick a current event or article from our newspaper or any newspaper and do a commentary every day. I am still considering this idea. On the surface it seems like a good idea. But, I am not sure if I am politically correct enough to comment on such things... I have a lot of opinions that might not be shared by everyone...  We shall see...

Until next time my dears...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

For Blog's Sake

I've decided to try posting to my blog at least once every day. Some of my posts might be short and sweet. There may be some days where I post several short entries and other days when I post a longer blog at the end of the day. There may be some days when I post a quote, poem, or song lyrics that have inspired me or touched me in some way. I hope to post something new every day unless I simply have nothing to say, which isn't often.

Enjoy the ride...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Laptop Drama

Approximately 6 years ago I purchased a Dell Inspiron 1300 from a local rent-to-own store. The only reason I purchased another computer was out of necessity because my Dell desktop I had owned for 7 years decided to shit itself. All the warning signs where there, but without the finances, I tried to make it last as long as I could. I went to the rent-to-own place because I didn't have the money to purchase another machine without financing, and my credit is less than stellar. So, I ended up paying triple what the machine was worth by the time they added all the financing charges into the price. I say triple what it was worth because it was an older model, Dell was making the Inspiron 17. But it fit my needs at the time so I was happy with my purchase and it was, like I said, my only option. In the past few months it has become increasingly slower, started to develop a ticking noise coming from the hard-drive area, and checking e-mail became a 20 minute process. So, it was time for a new laptop and I had enough money to make a purchase thanks to my tax check.


I knew what my price-range was and went on-line and shopped around. The best deal I could find was at Walmart, but I also had a friend of mine do some price checking around town as well. After comparing prices and taking into consideration that I had brand loyalty to Dell, I decided to purchase a Dell laptop from Walmart. Now you notice I said I HAD brand loyalty to Dell. You might be wondering what happened to my brand loyalty. Well, keep reading my dear... All will be clear in due time. Patience is a virtue. 


It should be noted that I am reserving the overly technical product spec details for later in this blog. For now, all we need to know is that I purchased a Dell Inspiron 15 with a 500 gb  hard-drive, built-in webcam, Windows 7 Home. I took the laptop home and within the first hour of being out of the box a problem surfaced. It locked up on the Windows password screen. I re-started and it went smoothly the second time and continued to run without any problems until 3 days later. It locked up on the Windows password screen again. After a restart I noticed it was running a bit odd. I wasn't quite sure what was wrong at that point but it was only a sign of things to come. The next morning I heard the dreaded high pitch whine noise that every person with even limited computer knowledge dreads. Later that evening the ticking noises started which were accompanied by "program unresponsive" and "cannot read" errors. Dell includes a pretty awesome program called Dell Support Center that is full of diagnostic tools you can use on your laptop. It should be noted that initially, in the first 2-3 days of owning the laptop, it passed all the diagnostic tests without a problem. But on day 6, after hearing the dreaded noises and receiving impending doom messages, I decided to run some more extensive diagnostic tests. I used the Dell Support Center, Windows ScanDisk, and a third-party software. Windows ScanDisk found errors on the drive and attempted to fix some clusters and sectors. Dell Support Center said there was an error reading the drive and wanted to perform more testing. After running the additional testing, the drive failed a Smart test and a Targeted Read test. The third-party software found bad sectors that were unable to be repaired. In short, a hard-drive failure was in the very near future.


After visiting the Walmart website again I discovered that someone had written a customer review on the laptop I had purchased. It wasn't there when I did my research because if it was I would have seriously thought twice about purchasing the Dell. Basically it was a review about how disappointed they were. They had purchased 3 laptops for their children. Each one of them had a failure of some sort, 2 were adapter failures and 1 was a hard-drive failure. These all happened within the first few weeks of purchase. The review also explained what a pain in the ass it was to deal with Dell on the warranty issues. So, after discussing the matter with my brother and reading that customer review, I decided to return the laptop to Walmart for an exchange. It was within the 15 day of first purchase limit and the customer service representative my brother spoke to said it wouldn't be a problem at all. 


So, I arrive with my defective Dell laptop and go straight to Electronics. After explaining why I am there the sales associate blinks a couple of times and then says "Oh crap. Another one?" Well that sounds promising, doesn't it? Well, just when I thought that it couldn't possibly get any worse he then proceeds to tell me that they do not have any of that particular Dell in stock. But not only do they not have any in stock, there aren't ANY in stock within a 60 mile radius. He called every store personally. He even checked with the warehouse, which told him there were none in transit and they had no idea when they would be sending any on the trucks. Incidentally, while this product is still listed on the Walmart website, the product availability is now listed as "In stores" and the price is "Prices may vary". Oh, and they are out of stock in just about every city I could think of too. But back to the exchanging of the Dell... It wasn't going to happen. So, the sales associate told me I had a few options. I could: A) Get a full refund. 2) Take home a laptop in the same price range with similar specs (if one was available). or C) Pay the difference on a laptop that had the same specs but was not in the same price range. So, I took option B (or was that 2), and made them look to see if they had a product available in the same price range with the same specs. As it turns out, they did... Well almost. Check this out...


**WARNING: Here comes the technical product specs I was talking about.**


Laptop 1 - Dell Inspiron 15R (Or as I have named it: Dell Defecto)


Processor: AMD Dual-Core A4-3300M Accelerated - 1.90 ghz, 2 mb cache
Memory: 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
Hard-drive: 500 gb SATA hard-drive
Connectivity: Wi-FI/Ethernet
Display: 15.6 HD WLED
Grpahics: AMD Radeon HD 6480G
DVD/CD Drive: 8x CD/DVD burner


Additional features:
Built-in Webcam
3 USB ports
1 HDMI port
8-in-1 memory card reader


Laptop 2 - HP Pavilion g7 


Processor: AMD Quad-Core A6-3420M Accelerated - 2.40 ghz, 4 mb L2 cache
Memory: 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
Hard-Drive: 500 gb SATA hard-drive
Connectivity: Wi-FI/Ethernet
Display: 17.3 HD+ BrightView LED-Backlit
Graphics: AMD Raedon HD 6520G
DVD/CD Drive: SuperMulti DVD Burner


Additional Features:
HP Built-In webcam
2-in-1 memory card reader
3 USB ports
1 HDMI port
1 VGA port


**END OF PRODUCT SPECS**


So, seriously?!? I believe all things happen for a reason. The HP was not available the day I purchased the Dell. If it had been then this blog would not be called "Laptop Drama" it would be called "I LOVE MY NEW LAPTOP". I mean seriously... I believe that this was fate, or the universe, or a higher power (depending on what your beliefs are) telling me that I should have never bought the Dell in the first place. The HP is hands down a better machine than the Dell was and I'm totally satisfied with my purchase-exchange-purchase.


So, there's the drama... 


Peace out!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Facebook - Get Over It People

It always amuses me how people tend to get their undergarments all out of sorts over free social networking sites. Some people react to changes on social networking sites as if it were a zombie apocalypse or the end of the world as we know it. Speaking of zombie apocalypses and such, I am renting out space in my concrete bunker and have extra weapons stock-piled in case you need them... You know, just in case that whole zombie apocalypse does happen and Facebook going to the new Timeline is just a "sign of things to come".



First of all, Facebook is a free social networking site designed for entertainment purposes only. The new Timeline feature is not the end of the world, nor is it a life or death situation. If the unveiling of the new Timeline actually causes you great anxiety and stress and throws your Happymobile into a tailspin, perhaps you should do some re-evaluation and reorganization of your priorities. Perhaps you should do some inner soul searching and find out what you truly want from life. What are your goals and dreams? What is your place and purpose in the world? If Facebook is part of your answer to any of those questions, you should probably seek counseling. That's just not normal. Really.


But in all seriousness, yes the changes can sometimes be frustrating and even a little annoying at times. But in time you'll get used to it. Just go play Farmville for awhile until you calm down and realize that the new Timeline feature will not make it easier for some random stalker to find you and track you down. There are privacy settings for a reason folks. I suggest you all take a look at your privacy and account settings and make sure you know what people can and can't see. But more importantly, if you just friend everyone that sends a friend's request your way, maybe it's time you look at your friends list as well. If you're friends with someone that's giving off that creepy "stalker" vibe, then perhaps you should re-evaluate that "friendship". Otherwise, it's kind of inevitable that they will start following around, popping up on every comment you make, commenting on all your photos, sending friend requests to all your friends and generally being well, creepy. Who knows, one day they might pop out of the bushes in front of your house and say hello in real life. Creepy...


Seriously, it's a social networking site meant for entertainment and networking. It's also free and totally optional. So if the changes being made on Facebook are the equivalent of a one-way ticket to Crapsville for you, then maybe you should just opt out. Maybe Facebook isn't for you after all.Take a step back. Do something totally unheard of and have an actual human relationship without the use of technology. I mean, sure you may be a little socially awkward. Your sense of humor may be a bit out there and you may have some questionable hobbies and interests. But I'm sure there's a friend out there for you somewhere Sunshine. Go out and find them! (Just don't stalk them. That's frowned upon in today's society.)


Peace out people!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tropical Paradise Otherwise Known As My House

We have heat. Yes, heat is important. I love heat. I will NEVER complain that it is too hot in our house during the winter EVER again. Even when my dad has the heat jacked up to 70 degrees and I'm sweating and sleeping in shorts and tank tops. 


So, if you read my earlier blog, Frozen Tundra, you know that earlier today our furnace wasn't working. It was totally craptastic and reminiscent of a few winters ago when I woke up to find a seriously cold house and a flooded basement. But, this time it wasn't that drastic. Apparently you're supposed to change the filters on your furnace. Yes, I knew this. I'm not entirely stupid. But,  I have no idea where the filter is and I thought someone had changed it last winter, so I thought we were okay. Personally I blame my sister. You're probably wondering why I'd blame my sister for something like this though, right? I'm about to tell you...


This weekend my oldest sister called and said that her furnace had stopped working and she needed a ride to Wal-Mart to get a filter. Apparently she had taken her furnace apart (yes, you read that right) and tried all the little secrets "someone who works on furnaces" told her and nothing worked. So, she figured since the filter was pretty clogged up she'd try that. So, after a quick trip to Wal-Mart she put it all back together and turned it on and miraculously it worked. But, the reason our recent furnace failure is her fault is because she said "When was the last time you changed your furnace filter?"... To which my reply was, "I assume it was changed last winter. I think."  


Thanks Brenda... But seriously, it's a bit ironic, don't you think? A little too ironic, and yes I really do think... (Sorry, musical reference... back to the blog.)


I know nothing about home maintenance and repair. My father used to take care of all of that and make all the necessary phone calls and arrangements and such. But, because of all the developments in my father's physical and mental health over the last year or so(there may be a blog explaining this in the future), I've had to step up and take some responsibility. I've had a crash course in the last 12 months. Let's do a recap:


1. Replace toilet (Our as the plumber called it "water closet".)
2. Clean drain in basement and drain lines (Same plumbing service.)
3. Replace water heater (Again, same plumbing service).
4. Replace back interior and exterior door (This is a story for another day perhaps).
5. Furnace repair


When the furnace repair man brought the filter upstairs to show us it was totally disgusting. My father's physical therapist was here and she said "Wow. That's gross." I seriously think that was the original filter that was installed with the furnace in 2008, that's how bad it looked. Our furnace has an automatic shutoff that is triggered when it overheats because of blocked airflow (like from a seriously clogged filter). But when he tried to reset the unit it wouldn't reset. He said that the part had most likely burnt out because it was constantly tripping and shutting off the furnace. He said the part was "kind of an oddball part" and that he would most likely have to order it but that he could "temporarily set us up" until the part arrived and then left. Pops doesn't hear to well and didn't hear the dude so the physical therapist and I had to explain what he just said. Neither of us knew exactly what we were talking about but my dad just nodded his head. He was either agreeing or had given up because the two "girls" had no idea what was going on. The physical therapist then said "The repair man talked like it would be repaired soon. I think... Gosh I hope so... It's really cold out there." Yes my dear, and it's really cold in here too...


Yes, he did reappear with a temporary part to fix the furnace until the other part for the furnace comes in. So the bill for today's adventure was $95 for a diagnostic test and $3.50 for a filter. He said he'd have the office give us a call when the part came in and they'd come out and install it. Perhaps we can have my sister do it and save some money... No. I'm totally kidding... Heat is important but so is preventing home explosions.


So, it's 70 degrees in the house once more... It's a tropical paradise. All that is missing is little fruity drinks with umbrellas. Maybe I'll whip some up to serve with dinner tonight... Ha ha ha... No.


So, the moral to today's story is this: CHANGE THE F'N FILTER!


Because heat is important. Yes, heat is very important.


Peace out!

Frozen Tundra Otherwise Known As My House

Our furnace is not working. It is 22 degrees outside and our furnace is not working. Hopefully the repair technician who is making a lot of noise in my basement right now can fix whatever is wrong with our furnace. This furnace is relatively new and was installed in February of 2008. I'm sure it's probably something stupid like a clogged filter or something of that nature... But I'm not a service technician... I don't even know where the filter is... 


I have to go find some blankets to pile on my un-amused and very cold pops. 


To be continued later... Hopefully with heat.


Yes, heat is important...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Insomnia and Weather Radios

Greetings kids!


Insomnia sucks. I've dealt with it on and off most of my life. There are nights when I fall asleep within an hour or so of laying down and remain asleep through most of the nights. Other nights I fall asleep and wake up every few hours. Then there are those nights when sleep doesn't come at all, and although they are few and far in between, it's still rather annoying. There isn't much you can do when you're an insomniac and the rest of your household, including a cat that loves to run through the house meowing at all hours of the day and night, is sound asleep. Usually when insomnia strikes I lay there for an hour or so staring at the ceiling. When it's obvious that sleep desires to remain elusive, I usually either turn on the laptop and surf the web or I watch television shows On-Demand. But even then I have to be mindful of the fact that my pops is asleep in his bedroom, which is separated from my own by a small bathroom, and sound travels quite easily in our house. Some nights are worse than others because they come with a restlessness that can't be quieted by late night television or surfing the web. It's those nights I dread.


Last night was one of those nights. I went to my room around 8:00 pm and spent a few hours talking on-line with friends and surfing Facebook. At around 11:00 pm I started to doze off so I said my goodnights and turned the laptop off. I turned the television to the Smooth Jazz Music Choice channel I listen to and settled in for the night. I drifted off to sleep rather quickly, but at 2 am I was wide awake. I can't tell you exactly what had woke me up but I could tell that it was going to be one of those restless nights. It must have been the energy in the air. The rain started to fall harder and the wind started to pick up and no matter how I tried I couldn't will myself back to sleep. Seconds turned into minutes and minutes turned into hours and still sleep eluded me. 


Finally around 6:30 am I started to drift back to sleep, which sucks because I had to be up in an hour to start the day. Suddenly the silence was shattered by the NOAA Weather Radio I received for Christmas. I bolted up-right and jumped out of bed, running to the dinning room where the radio was sitting in its charger and grabbed it. I quickly ran back to my room and shut the door, hoping it didn't disturb my pops, who had another hour of sleep left before he had to get up for his medicine and breakfast. The warning wasn't even for our county or the city we live in. When I programmed the radio I set it to receive alerts for the surrounding counties so we'd have a heads up if anything was in the area or coming our way. So, I guess I can take comfort in the fact that the radio does work and that I successfully programmed it for every county in a 60 mile radius from my home. (I think that was over-kill in retrospect...)


That brings me to my next topic... The crazy weather we've been having. Yes, I know I live in Indiana. Yes, I know we have that popular tag-line "If you don't like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change". But seriously, even by Indiana standards the weather recently has been a bit spastic. Yesterday it was in the 40s-50s and was raining. Last night and early this morning it was actually around 53 degrees and it was thunderstorming. On Thursday and Friday we had snow. See my post, Always Carry A Screwdriver, for just how cold it was when I left work on Thursday. I just heard a weather report before I came in to work that said the temperature was going to drop 20 degrees in the next few hours and by 8 pm this evening it will be snowing. 


Seriously? From thunderstorms to snow... Welcome to freakin' Indiana! Where the weather changes almost as quickly as my train-of-thought and direction in these blog postings... Yes, I think it's time to end this one.


Peace out!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Always Carry a Screwdriver

Greetings from the frozen tundra otherwise known as Indiana.

It's cold out there. No, cold doesn't even begin to describe how it feels outside. The minute you walk outside it's like all the air is sucked out of your lungs. It's so cold it hurts to breathe and any part of your body that is exposed to the icy wind starts to sting. Your breath hangs in mid-air, as if frozen. Yeah, it's definitely cold out there. The temperature is around 16 degrees, but when you factor in a wind of 30 mph with gusts around 40 mph you get a windchill of -2. But hey, that's winter in Indiana, right?

I work Thursday nights this semester with my friend Vicki. She doesn't drive and depends on public transportation to get back and forth to work so I usually offer to give her a ride home on the nights we work together. I parked on the backside of the building instead of in the main lot because there were no close spaces and I wasn't feeling the walking in sub-zero temperature thing. Frostbite   wasn't on my agenda tonight. 

For some reason when it gets cold outside my car doors have a bad habit of freezing shut. Well, tonight was no exception. When Vicki and I got to my car we found both doors frozen tightly shut. There were patches of ice right next to my car as well, making it hard to get any traction to actually pull the doors open as well. The passenger side door was not budging at all. I finally got the driver's side door open and Vicki had to crawl across the console/gearshift to the passenger side. It was pretty amusing to watch considering it's a Cavalier and there isn't much room for such a maneuver. Better her than me though, that's for damn sure. 

When she finally got over to the passenger side I slid into the driver's side and tried closing the door and heard a dull thud and the door bounced back open. I knew instantly what had happened. For some reason the latch that holds the door shut gets stuck and the door won't shut. It does it a lot in the winter time and two winters ago a co-worker of mine and I spent about 30 minutes in the parking lot trying to get the door to shut. We didn't have any tools in either of our cars and ended up breaking three pens but we finally got the door to shut, although neither of us really knew how. He suggested that I always carry a screwdriver with me so I'd have something to use to pry the latch into the open position. It became a running joke with he and I and he'd often ask me if I had a screwdriver and if I'd be needing assistance in the parking lot later. He was an awesome guy and always made sure I was safely in my car and pulling away before he'd leave the parking lot. He walked me out every night that we worked together. A few semesters ago he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away. It was all very unexpected and shocking, especially since I had spoken to him a day or two before it happened. I miss him deeply. But anywho, moving on...


The door latch has done that several times now and usually my brother-in-law came to my rescue. The last time he came to bail me out he shared the technique with me. Basically what you have to do is pull the door handle up and use the screwdriver to push the latch into the open position so it doesn't block the door from closing. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not tonight. The latch wouldn't budge. We were screwed so I finally admitted defeat and called my brother-in-law. But I'm not one that likes to admit defeat so I pulled my gloves back on and stepped back out into the icy wind and gave it another try. Finally I got it into the open position and was able to close the door. After a quick call to my brother-in-law to let him know we were good to go, I drove Vicki home. 


Of course the passenger side door was still frozen solid when we got to her house. I got out and pulled and she pushed and I almost fell on my ass but the door finally opened and the latch on the driver's side didn't stick this time so  once she disappeared into her house I drove away.


Now I'm safe and warm inside my house and ready to settle in for the night. The Weather Channel says it's 16 degrees with a windchill of -2 but inside my house its 70 degrees. It's almost tropical.Makes you want to sip one of those fruity drinks with the little umbrellas...


Peace out everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spring Semester

What it is, yo? 


Today was the third day of the Spring Semester. When I pulled into the parking lot at 12 pm it was full of cars and as I walked down the halls I saw a lot of students walking to and from class and hanging out in the lounges. When I walked into the Academic Support Center I was pleasantly surprised to find we were almost full. One of the English classes was using the lab to complete some assignments that required a computer. For the last few semesters we've had a lot of English and Math classes coming in to use the Academic Support Center. A lot of our classes are now using on-line resources and programs to reinforce what the students are learning in the classroom. Our instructors are also utilizing BlackBoard, our on-line learning software, in their classes as well. Even some of our face-to-face classes are now putting discussion boards, tests, quizzes, and other electronic items on-line for students to access and complete as part of their daily assignments. It gives the students a chance to learn our on-line systems and develop the necessary computer skills to succeed not only in college, but the workplace as well. 


Student traffic was steady throughout the day in the Academic Support center but died down around 3 pm. That gave me a chance to refill the printers, replace a printer cartridge, help a student reset a password, and go on a hunt for some cleaning wipes for someone in another department. Yeah, that's what I do in my "downtime" at work for the most part. After all, we can't stay on Facebook all day long now can we?


I decided to drop the class I was registered for this semester. I really couldn't afford to take the class since I pay for tuition and textbooks out of my own pocket right now. I already have one degree in Office Administration and decided to complete a degree in Computer Information Systems. It was going well until I hit the programming classes. It wasn't that I found them hard or that I couldn't do it. I just didn't want to do it. If I didn't want to do the assignments in class, then it was very clear that I wouldn't enjoy it as a career either. In fact, I became burnt out rather quickly. I took a break from taking classes and tried to figure out what to do. It was about that time that our Criminal Justice program started to take off and earned accreditation and I decided to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Youth Services. But, because of the classes I had taken in between graduating with the degree in Office Administration and starting the Criminal Justice degree, my financial aid had run out. That's why I've been paying for classes for the last few years. So, I only take one or two classes a semester and it comes out of my pocket. It's taking forever to complete my degree this way, but I'm determined to finish. But, I just found out from a friend who is also in the same degree program that they have changed the requirements and eliminated the concentrations so I'm not even sure what classes I need and how this effects my chosen degree. I've tried contacting my Academic Advisor, but so far she hasn't gotten back with me. Hopefully by the time the Fall semester rolls around again I'll have enough cash flow to start classes again and I'll actually know what I am supposed to take! It's good to have goals, right?


Well, I guess I've rambled on long enough. (I know you're probably thanking whatever deity you believe in right now that this blog is coming to an end...)


Until next time...


Peace out!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Invitation

Inspirational and motivational words have an awe inspiring power for me. I often run across inspirational poems or quotes that brighten my day or cause me to think more deeply about my life and the environment that surrounds me. It often prompts me to take a deeper look at how I interact with the world and how it interacts with me. This morning I'd like to share an inspirational poem with you that has caused me to do just that. So, I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I have and that it holds a special meaning for you as well. Now, I'm going to shut up and post the poem (yes, I know that's what you were thinking after reading line two of this paragraph).

The Invitation
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”


It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.


It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.



by Oriah Mountain Dreamer 
Copyright © 1999 by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Welcome

So, I have decided to start this blog. We'll see how often I actually post in it though. I've started blogs and forgotten about them only to discover them accidentally months later. Hopefully I'll actually keep up with this one though. Although I'm not entirely sure who the hell is going to read it anyway... Oh well. Here's my blog. For better or worse.

Peace out people.