End of term crunch time

Birthday cake

Birthday cake (Photo credit: 3liz4)

It’s been a busy week here at Team Joe HQ, and there’s no sign of it slowing down in the next few weeks. Yes, it’s crunch time and I’m just trying to survive these last few weeks as the Spring semester comes to its end. Alleluia and amen!

This past Tuesday I attended my last Geology class of the term. The next class time has been set aside to allow for any make up tests that need to be taken, as well as to give some of us to retake a test we may have done poorly on. I aced mine so I’m good. I just have to return the following week for my final exam.

I celebrated my birthday on Wednesday and I celebrated in style, by attending class until almost nine that night. Nothing says birthday party like sitting in a class room with a bunch of young twenty-somethings. At least I sat with an amusing young woman. And the instructor’s fair to look at. I only wish I could understand what she’s saying, but I guess that’s my fault. I should learn to listen.

Thursday, I had a project due for psychology. I knew about it all semester so naturally I waited until the night before to start it. Five pages later, nearing four in the morning, I completed my project and submitted it via a drop box on the class’s webpage. I ended up not going to class since I was dead to the world until ten.

Going forward, I still have to finalize my portfolio of four essays for my Creative Writing – Nonfiction class. The portfolio is due at the end of the term. I have a few assignments yet to do for my grammar and I have to study for all my finals, but it’s almost over. And I’m glad. I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall, academically speaking. I’m exhausted.

I’m not complaining. I’m happy that I’m finishing my degree, I just forgot the amount of energy it requires to go to class and do homework. It’s not easy, but most things of worth demand sacrifices and this one is well worth the effort.

If I have time, I plan to post my monthly book review that I’m starting. My plan is to write one book review, usually a self-published author, as the first post of the month. So May’s review should be up on May 1st.

Now I think I’m going to soak in the tub for a bit. I stocked about 6 pallets of paint, with some assistance, in two hours and my body is protesting. The great part of this job is that it is a bit mind-numbing, no thinking required. The bad, my body aches, but I’m not planning on making a career of it. This is only something to do until the end of school, which if all goes according to plan, will be the first week of July, and I’ll graduate in August, nineteen years after I started.

But at least I will have come back and completed my studies. I only hope that it will be worth it.

In the home stretch

sonoma coffee cafe

sonoma coffee cafe (Photo credit: justonlysteve)

I never got around to writing yesterday. Shame on me. To be honest, the next few weeks are going to be a bit hectic for me, so finding a free moment to share my wackiness may prove difficult. I many miss a few posts here and there.

I’m in the last weeks of the semester. I have two weeks of class and then finals the week after, and then I’ll be done. After that I’ll have three weeks off before the start of the summer, then I’ll really be done

At the same time, It looks as if my new temporary job is starting to finally give me some hours Not enough for me to afford anything, but enough for me to feel the pinch of time. So yeah, I’m probably going to feel exhausted as I lose all time to myself these next few weeks.

It’s only a short-term sacrifice. I have to keep reminding myself that this is short-term. It’s a little more than two months until I’ll be done. I can do this.In the mean time I’m still rewriting my novel, and it’s a significant rewrite with some major changes, project is due Thursday, and I have a portfolio to put together for my Creative Nonfiction.

What has me really worried is that I need to line up a permanent job. The job I have is not where I want to be. To be honest, it’s a bit of a regression for me, a step back into a career path that’s ill-suited for me, and frankly pays like crap. I know money isn’t everything but to deny its importance is stupid. Let me illustrate this concept in a manner I think will understand. I have bills to pay. I need a car. I want to have my own place again to do what I want. And I wouldn’t mind being able to afford to go out now and again.

So although my present state is short-term, I really need to focus on the long-term as well. If I don’t, I may be stuck here and likely will fall into my depression all over again. I really don’t want to start on that course again, especially now that I’m feeling a little better.

Piece of the wrong puzzle

Puzzled

puzzle perspective

puzzle perspective (Photo credit: jugbo)

It’s hard to describe what my life is at the moment. It’s a jumble, a fragmented picture that I’m trying to piece together without a clear understanding of what the picture is supposed to be. Do you understand how frustrating it is?

Where does this piece go?

Here?

No.

Screw it. I’ll set it over here for the moment and deal with it later.

Playing the “What If” Game

I’m finishing up the last of my college. I have spoken about his often, probably because this is something I have wanted for a long time. I’ve often wondered where I would be today had I done the intelligent thing and finished over a decade ago. If I hadn’t stopped in 1999, presumably I could have graduated by 2000. Would my life have been better? Worse?

What if? I know you’ve played that game before. What if I had gone out with this person instead? What if I had taken that job? What if..?  What if…?  What if…?

The problem with this is that it presumes that we have the ability to know what would have happened. In hindsight everything seems so painfully obvious, but the problem is that what we know is a result of our experience. Had we gone and taken that other path, that what if, we very well could be asking what if we had done the very thing you currently wish you could have avoided.

You only ask because maybe things would have been better the other way.

In flight

But what I’ve discovered is that I’m a man still in flight, fleeing a past that has probably been long forgotten by the other party. Is this normal? When something traumatic happens, is it only a trauma to one and not the other? Could something that is holding me back be a non-issue for the other?

I realized that I’m still running away from the ghosts of my past yesterday afternoon. I had to go to the bank inside a Walmart to take care of an outstanding issue that I should have dealt with ages ago. Took fifteen minutes and I was done. Typical.

Anyway I left the bank and I wandered around the store and I felt apprehension. Why? Because that’s where the forsaken she-devil works. I’ve avoided the department that she works in ever since we broke up. Forget the obvious that she works at a store 400 miles away, but I really have no idea if she still works there, at the store, in that department, or even in the company. I could easily find out, but why do that to myself?

So why avoid it? I’ve conditioned myself to avoid it. Being in the area brings back memories which makes me sad, fills me with pain and anger, and all I want to do is to escape. I leave. I feel better. I think that may constitute negative reinforcement.

I haven’t dealt with the underlying problem. I ran away from it, from her. At the time the pain was all-consuming, it encompassed my entire being. Those close to me are probably better able to describe how I was than I am. I shut down. I didn’t function really for a long time. I lost my job because of it and look at me now.

So walked in, half-expecting to see her, knowing that I was being an idiot. I walked around, trying to break the synaptic connections that make me associate that department to the girl who hurt me. She hurt me, and she works there so being there brings back the pain.

Walk around.

Look at bbq things.

She’s not here.

Cool patio set

I wish I could see her.

What would I say?

Nothing. I’d run away.

I’ll have to go back more often to free myself of that particular association. It’s silly, but is it really? I’ve decided that it isn’t. I’m entitled to my feelings and I’m entitled to dealing with them in my own time. Emotions are too complex to figure out.

Some of you might be judging me, you may say I’m weak, that I fell apart. What can I say to that? Fuck you. That’s what. You don’t know me. You don’t know the experiences that I’m gone through. What would it take for you to fall apart? You’re not as strong as you suppose. We all have a breaking point, and the trigger may be something you’d never see coming.

So what now?

I live my life, that’s what. I walked around and window shopped for a while, but I didn’t buy anything. I left and drove to the Barnes and Noble to escape into fantasy. I walked in, after being gone since 2000, I’m immediately flooded with memories from an even more distant past. A less painful past.

I walked around, glimpsing at the thousands of stories there were to be discovered. It was nice to be surrounded by books. The feel, the smell, the connection you get by the tactile immediacy of holding a book. It’s wonderful and joyous and marvelous and…

Oh shit.

Do I really expect to join all of these books, vying for shelf space, hoping to attract a readership? Am I good enough? Do I have a story to tell? Would anyone be willing to spend their time and money to read what I have to say?

Don’t know.

So I walked around, forgetting myself and my troubles, leaving my doubts and fears behind, and I shopped for a story, somebody else’s story. There are so many books to choose from, so what do I get? I looked for a book, and it took me several minutes to remember the name, but who was the author? Crap. Oh there it is, magically appearing before me on a display. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This was a NaNoWriMo novel she wrote and got published. I had to get it.

I walked around some more, searching but not finding, wondering if it did so poorly that B&N decided to discreetly banish it from the store. An employee asked me what I wanted. “The Casual Vacancy,” I replied sheepishly. Why sheepishly? It’s my money, and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since I knew J K Rowling was going to publish a non-Harry Potter book. Screw reviews I’ve seen. I wanted it.

Books in hand, and almost $60 poorer, I left the bookstore, knowing that there were better things on which to spend the money, but nothing that would give me more pleasure. I got into my car, went to Kohl’s and bought me a shirt. Happy, I got into my car, went through the drive through of a McDonald’s, and headed home.

So? What the hell is the point?

That’s the puzzle, isn’t it? You live, you have an epiphany, and life goes on. Here soon I’ll have my degree in hand, and I’ll find a job and then what? Hopefully I’ll find someone to blur the edges of my bad memories and who will dull the hurt that I guess I’ll still have. I know I still harbor resentment. Will that ever go away?

Who knows, but I have two books to read, and a few stories percolating in my head. I have a quiz on Monday, an exam on Tuesday, and an essay to read on Wednesday. And you know, I should probably start working on my mental health project that’s due on the 25th.

Life goes on and you deal with things as they come. I’m slowly dealing with her, but you know what, she’s not as big a piece of my life and I once thought. And you know what? That puzzle piece I couldn’t figure out where it went? It doesn’t even belong to my picture and I can chuck it into the trash can.

And just like that, maybe I’ll be able to throw her away, just as she did me. She doesn’t belong in my picture so why keep her on the table, and life moves on.

Close and getting closer

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I met with my adviser today on campus to get situated for the summer term. Took less than five minutes to get in and out of her office. I’ve been greenlit for the summer and all that I lack is to register for Summer I term to take the four hours I lack to be done with school.

What made it all the more real was the packet she had ready for me. A Graduation Application which I need to fill out and turn in to the Dean’s office by July 1st so that I can graduate this August. Nineteen years after I graduated high school I will finally graduate college. What next? I don’t know, not yet at least. I’ll need to redo my resume, and maybe enlist the help of others to make an outstanding resume complete with my soon to be earned degree.

 

 

Monday Morning Miscellany

2013-Participant-Lantern-Circle-BadgeOh what a glorious Monday morning! It’s April Fools Day and I have no pranks to pull. Wish I did, but I don’t. Just as well. I have plenty to do without having to come up with a prank, and with my luck, having to clean up my mess after I end up pissing everyone off.

I started my new job on Friday. It was just orientation, which took forever. I now have to wait until this coming Friday before I go back in. It’s almost not worth it. I think I may actually lose money on gas to and fro. I hope it will pick up after this week, but I guess we’ll find out. Regardless, it’s only a temporary situation while I finish the last of my college.

Speaking of, I’m down to last few weeks of the semester. I think I have maybe five weeks of class. After than, if everything goes well, I will lack four hours to earn my degree. Now I’m wishing I would have tried to cram them into this semester, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself.

I have one essay due this week, another exam in Geology, and I have a paper to write from Psychology. I really need to buckle down and get to it. You know, I think I may have a quiz today. I need to hurry up and study for that.

Also today is the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo. If you are a writer, or want to be, and want a little extra push to get you through, sign up today! NaNoWriMo has a 50k word challenge during November, where you write a 50k word novel in thirty days. For Camp NaNoWriMo, you set your own writing goal. 1k, 5k, 100k? It’s up to you, but the biggest hurdle is going for it. You can’t finish if you don’t start!

pearl

Pretty Pearl waiting to help take care of your pets (photo Amy Ebert)

I started another blog yesterday. No, it’s not for me, but I’m doing it for my friend’s pet-sitting business, AB Petcare. Please check it out and follow her on her blog, and also on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’m trying to get everything linked up so that she has a unified social media presence. I’m still working out the kinks, but hopefully within then next couple of weeks we’ll have her set up on a regular posting schedule.

If you live around the Greenville, Texas area, and need to board your pet, check her out. She has also started doing dog rescues, and is currently working with a few people. She needs donations to help her out. As soon as I figure out how to link up her PayPal account, we will be all set!