Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A week from tomorrow I will have finished my last final for the semester. I will then have 63 hours ...which has me as a college Junior. When I started in August of 2008 I really had no idea if I could do this or not. I just knew I had to try.

I'm having odd feelings of "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel" and "oh my how far to go!"

But, in 5 semesters I should have my Bachelor's Degree. (probably a BS, but could be a BA, not sure at this point) Still have masters and Ph.D after that, but ...when I started I had a mere 23 hours and even getting to 60 hours seemed so far away ... I'm getting there ...slowly but surely!

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19 .. then and now

15 years ago I was taking my children to a homeschool event. My sister in law called me as I was putting my sons shoes on and said a bomb had gone off in the federal building. I thanked her for letting me know. That time in our country's history pipe bombs seemed to happen as often as they didn't. True terrorism wasn't even on our radar. Not here in the US. US property outside of the Continental US ...yes, but not the US proper.

At the picnic, my young son, not even 4 yet, started to get ansy. He was tired and in need of a nap but the picnic wasn't over for about 4 more hours. I left my oldest with a friend and ran home to put my son to bed. (hubby was home) I waited till I knew he'd fallen asleep, because hubby was taking a nap, too.

I turned on the TV and saw that all hell had broken loose in OKC. It was not a pipe bomb. I was stunned. I gathered myself and ran back to the picnic. No longer in the mood for fun, I told my friends of the true devastation of the bomb and went home. I spent the next 3 days glued to the TV.

I had this uneasy feeling that someone I knew was in the bombing. I kept telling my husband I wondered where everyone from Proclamation was. (I'd been in singing ministry called Proclamation. We'd scattered all over the country when it was over).
It was an odd thought. I had no reason to think I might know someone, but it was nagging at me. It turned out to be nagging at several from our group.

The friday after the bombing, (was a wednesday morning) CBS released the first 6 names of the victims who had been identified. As I started to climb over the toddler gate between living room and kitchen I heard the name

I sprawled out across the kitchen floor and became somewhat hysterical. My husband could not get what happened out of me and called my mom. Mom finally got the words "Trudy Rigney died"

When I finally settled down, I looked up the one person I knew was still in town and told her what I'd heard. She did some quick research to verify and we started to call the members of Proclamation as we talked to one person who knew where someone else was ...calling information, calling colleges for alumni information ...we contacted many of our group. I heard over and over again "I had the uneasy feeling that we'd lost someone from Proclamation in that blast."

It has been 15 years since McVeigh took Trudy's life. Her son thrived. Became baptized and married (and if I remember right, became a father).

Trudy will never be forgotten by me. She was a tremendous young woman who had the kind of compassion that everyone needs to experience. She will always keep a place in my heart and I will miss her terribly.

Tonight I'm being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. They will be paying tribute to Trudy ...a former president ..not only for PTK, but at the college and campus I'm on. It's fitting.

I feel a bit closer to her being able to share this with her. I wish she was here to see me inducted, but I know that she knows and is proud. Not as proud of me as I was of her ...that'd be impossible.

Trudy, you're always in my heart. I miss you, I always will.

Friday, April 16, 2010

No, Really, I asked you to take care of it for the fun of it...

Well, intermediate algebra was an 8 week class, so I finished that a few weeks ago.
I did not take the final, because I knew that even if I could get a C in the class (very doubtful) I had in no way shape or form learned enough to move on to College algebra. Me, in an 8 week class wasn't the smartest move I ever made. However, I did get a good introduction to the material, and know what I need to know to retake it. So maybe it was better to be tortured for 8 weeks instead of 16 weeks.

The final is school wide and done on a computerized program. The program costs $84. I chose to not use the program that I'd spent $84 on, and save it for my retake. It made no sense to use the $84 for a final for a class I needed to retake. (There was also my instructors determination to give me the grade my work effort gave, which would have been an A, but without passing the final with at least 50% the most he could give was a C. So he planned on giving me a C. I kept telling him that to do that would mean financial aid would not allow me to retake the class.) My instructor either would not, or could not see my delimma. I get that he was trying to be nice, and helpful, but he was really complicating things.

About 10 days ago, I recieved notice from the school. I was being billed for $700 and until they got the $700 they were blocking my records. This meant I could nto register for next year and I could not get my transcripts to complete my application to NSU. I had no idea why they were billing me for $700. Since I'd gotten full financial aid, there was nothing that hadn't been covered.

I go in and find out that the algebra instructor had put my status in as a WNA ...Withrawl Never Attended. This meant Financial Aide wanted their $700 back for the class I never took that they paid for. Only, I DID take it. I emailed the instructor and he waited till today to get back to me.
His reasoning is that a withdrawl is better on the transcript than an F ... yeah, if you're not on financial aide probation for having dropped too many classes in your
20's and if you drop a single class you will loose all financial aide until the year 2099 (yes, that's what they've told me). An F on a 'developmental class' or zero level class has no bearing on grades. None. An A on a developmental class also has no bearing on grades. They are zero credit classes and while they appear on transcripts, they do not in anyway shape or form effect the GPA. An F shows that I took the class. I DID attend the class, I just didn't PASS the class.

So, he emails me back and says that it's April 16, and do I really still need him to change this. Um, I sent you an email YESTERDAY asking for you to please address this. Nothing has happened int he last 24 hours to change that.

Anyway ... hopefully that will be taken care of soon so I can get into the good intermediate algebra class before it fills. If I wind up with a cruddy instructor because of this, I'm going to be less than pleased!

This semester I took an Online Adult Psych class. A women's Studies class and a child psych class and the 8 week algebra class. Today, I sent in my final essay for Adult Psych. This leaves me with just 6 hours a week. Women's studies and Child Psych. Which is nice because both have me with quite the work load.
Although, Tuesday I will turn in one essay and give a presentation and then only 2 tests and a major paper left.

Last semester I was in class 18 hours a week (for 13 hours credit) and this semester I'm in all of 6. Odd.

I do not like going just on Tuesdays and thursdays. I've learned I prefer the rhythm of the M-F.

For almost 3 weeks now I have been dealing with a severe headache. I'm getting tired of it ... my patience for my health issues are wearing thin. I guess somehow I thought if I went back to school, that would be the cure for what ails me. Not sure how I came to that conclusion.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The year Tuesday, 2010

Tuesday is a day I'm not ever wanting to repeat.

I was sitting in my Women's Studies class, watching a very funny routine by Whoopi Goldberg about how women and their communication (about womanly things) had changed over the last 50 years. Teresa and I were laughing, sometimes so hard it was hard to breathe.
Suddenly, a classmate sitting in front of us turned her phone to me and showed me a text. Wilma Mankiller had past away.
I learned that her influence on me was greater than I'd thought and that my tear ducts not only still function but they can function in front of people. (I don't cry often, and rarely ever let anyone see me cry) I left the room to compose myself and came back feeling stunned and somewhat alone. My role model had just died.
There are supposed to be some existing pictures of me with her. I'm hoping the person who told me will follow through and send them to me. (I met her a handful of times)

I left class and went onto child psych. Somewhat subdued, along with my classmates that take both classes. We'd just paid tribute to her a month ago (today).

In Child Psych, the professor dropped a bomb on us. Extensive plagerizing. While I didn't plagerize, (as a writer, that would never happen! I've been plagerized and I know how it feels!) her definition of plagerism had me conscerned. I had a quote in my paper that was in quotation marks because it was a commonly used phrase ... however, not being a 20 year old, I should have given credit to one of them. Most people over 40 are well aware that Hillary Clinton first said "It takes a Village." I'm well over 40 so I have no excuse.

Long story short, after a sleepless night, a conversation with instructor and she did not consider what I did plagerizing. I was safe. Next time she said, use 'x' instead of "X" for catch phrases or at the very least put "(from unknown origin)".

Left school to go to my sons IEP. Anyone following this blog will know how difficult those meetings have always been for my family. (IEP is the annual meeting between families of children with special needs and the teachers and administrators responsible for giving him special ed services.)

For years, I've struggled with Benjamin's special education services. Whle this school district is significantly better than the previous, it is still falling far short of what is needed. (one teacher flat out said he would not make accomodations for him, and then gave him a hard time in class for not passing. Going so far as to one day saying "we have only one F on the test and we all know who that is." (um what happened to not discussing special ed students with others not a part of his team?) And no, as far as I know there were no consequences for this mans statements.

They've never given him appropriate services and I've tried to walk the tightrope between doing what is necessary to get my son the most I can without causing them to hate me. (so they did not take it out on my son.) When the doctors told us that he should be in special education classes, he was not quite 3 years old. We took him in for the evaulation and they said "no, he's just fine" and sent us out the door. He wasn't three yet, so we let it go. The next summer, we did the same. They again said "nope." Docs said "yes!" and we took them, successfully, to due process. Again,t he next year they did the same and back to due process we went. The next year, they did the same and this time we went to arbitration. Abitrator told us all that he was to be enrolled into Head Starts Accomodated Services at school expense.
The next year ... OASIS in the dangerous desert that is Public Schools Special Education Services and he was accepted to the highly successful The Little Light House.
The Little Light House is a non profit, special education, Christian school that is no cost whatsoever to the parents. At this school he recieved his OT,PT and speech therapy. So not only was this a break from the public school battle, but for a year, we had to take him to school. Not to school AND PT AND OT AND Speech. Support for the parents, education for the children, services for the children lead to a very safe place. Unfortunately, they only take birth to age 6 and he was 5, would be 6 during the school year. He'd only be elligible for 1 year.

That was ok, because I thought he'd be accepted for Special Education services the following year. (TLLH has such a reputation, schools RARELY go against the programs recommendations. However, the district we were in, made the exception on a regular basis) TLLH could have been his kindergarten and we couple place him into first grade or we could use it as pre k and place him in K. We didn't trust our district to provide appropriate services (any wonder why?) and chose kindergarten to give him the best chance possible. I often wonder if the battle would have been less if we'd place him in first grade.

Long story short, we didnt' get an IEP until 2nd grade. Even then, the placement was wrong and not enough or appropriate services. They were only doing it because I'd gotten fed up and called a congressman who ordered the special ed services to be audited. We have been fighting, to a lesser degree ever since. They've always tried to prove to me why he was just fine (he's delightful was their best excuse. Um, so you're going to remove every delightful child from special education? This is SpEd not education for the emotionally disturbed!
They have made me point out all his deficits, while they tell me what a terrific child I have. It always frustrated me and caused great pain to be put in the position of being the one to tell them what is wrong with my child. NO mother should have to be the one pointing out their childs faults to the school!
So, Tuesday, they tell me what's wrong, and what's right and place him with appropriate services. I learned something ... being told your childs faults really isn't easier than being the one to tell them. (I still firmly believe no mother should be placed in that position)
Benjamin however, took it great. Listened, took notes and plans on using what he learned to help him improve.

I get home and I'm sitting on the computer, reading blogs and the doorbell rings. It is the police wanting to know if my sons best friend is here. He was. His sister had called the police to do a wellness check. Clinton, who has a hard time with the police because he watched them TWICE take his father away, was less than thrilled. He also didn't feel that telling his sister "I'm tired of all this mess" was worthy of a suicide prevention call.

All of that took place between 12 noon and 5:30 pm.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Thank you

20.5 years ago, my life changed. In one fell swoop I became a mom and a chronically ill patient in the same day. It took 2.5 years to get the diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis.
My neurologist suggested I contact the MG Foundation for support. I did and then a year or two later was asked to join the board. I did. I particpated in fund raisers, support groups and other aspects.
I served for 3 years on the board.

During one of those years we had a fundraiser ..a fashion show and the guest speaker was a dynamic woman who, herself, had Myasthenia Gravis.

I sat in awe of her. I was still incredibly ill and had as many days as not that I was either unable to get up, or needed assistance in getting dressed. I could not drive. (Vision and what is hardest for people to understand, my leg was not strong enough to get the gas pedal enough pressure to go beyond 25 mph.)

She had MG, she was not in remission, she *had* been as sick as I was and yet, here she was speaking to the people supporting the MG foundation, patients, family, friends and media ... a chronically ill person and the first female chief of the cherokee nation.

Wilma Mankiller.

She spoke that day with confidence that while MG is difficult, it is not impossible to live with. It is something that is better now than it was in the 60's (and even better now 15 or so years later) and that she had hope for the future in MG care. She spoke of her role as Chief and what it meant to be a woman doing that job ..and a woman with health issues doing that job.

It all felt so undoable to me. I couldn't imagine ever feeling better. But I was determined to live the best life I could with what I had.

As the years went by, and the medications started to work, I began to understand her drive, her abilities and her passion for life.

My admiration of her grew and grew.

In the meantime, Wilma revitalized the Cherokee nation. Initiating projects like literacy and historical preservations. She was an outspoken (in a good way) advocate for women every where of every race, belief system and socioeconomic status.

This semester I picked a coarse in women's studies. For International Women's Day we did an awareness campaign. Our class had display tables of important women in the history of women's rights. I chose Wilma Mankiller for our group.

A week before the Awareness day, it was announced that Wilma had pancratic cancer. A direct result of the medications she has taken for Myasthenia Gravis (same drugs she needed to take after a kidney transplant, kidney disease being one of the many health issues she fought).

Today, sitting in class, watching a video a classmate turned her cell phone to me. Wilma Mankiller had passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 64.

Wilma, may you rest in peace and thank you for the influence in my life and the role model that you were to me. It is not a small thing that because of you, I knew I could do more despite MG.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter 2010 Easter 1974


I was looking for a craft I could get into and do succesfully. I turned to beading. I have absolutely fallen in love with it!!