venting! ~by my overdeveloped sense of justice

11 Feb

recently i’ve been trying to get my transcripts from my high school. now i graduated high school in a school district that was growing fast. when i graduated we had two high schools, each of which graduated about a thousand kids a year. yes, a thousand each. 1,000. now they have three large high schools, due to the fact that several large multi-national companies built in the area.

so, you’d think the transcript request process would be streamlined, right? wrong.

first, there is no indication on the website of either the high school i attended or the school district about how to go about requesting a transcript. i looked several times and couldn’t find it. finally we called a woman i used to babysit for who still (now?) works at one of the high schools. (i just remember her playing tennis and going on dates with her husband, i have no idea what her day job was when i was 16.) it took her a few weeks to find the answer. that’s an indication of poor information dissemination right there!

so i emailed the address she gave me. no answer. i called the phone number. no answer and no answering machine. (in this day and age!?) i emailed again. no answer. i faxed the phone number on the front page of the school district’s website with my info, the address of where i needed the transcripts sent, a copy of my id, and a letter explaining how i had run out of other options to contact them.

finally one of my email was returned. the woman had been out sick and i guess they don’t have a back up for these sorts of requests. i was babysitting a sick 18month old and couldn’t get to a computer to print out the form she sent to me — which she told me is not published on the web anywhere. so i told her i’d filled out what looked like an old form for another high school in the same district and faxed it to the number on the front page of the school district’s website, and she repeatedly told me she had absolutely no idea where i could have sent it. she couldn’t do anything until i told her where the fax was or filled out and faxed the new form. how would i know where that fax number went to? and i guess she couldn’t look it up, either. maybe they aren’t allowed internet access?

finally, i called mr. marsh to have him resend the fax to a new number she provided, hoping i’d covered all the bases and she wouldn’t make me fill out the new form, too. she sent me an email saying they got the fax from (mr. marsh’s store) they didn’t know where the fax had come from. the actual name of mr. marsh’s store was written in the email in parenthesis! well, that’s where it came from. and that she could send the transcript to one school but couldn’t send to the others until she had all the addresses, but all the addresses for all the schools were on the same page! if she had one she had them all. i was getting really frustrated at this point.

finally, she said the original fax was sent over to her by the communications department. things perked up at this point. i’m not sure if that’s because her manager saw the fax and the letter about how much trouble i was having, or if suddenly she decided i wasn’t lying about having sent the fax to begin with. whatever, i got my transcripts… or so i thought. that was the 31st.

on the 10th. i got a call from her when my ringer was off. i didn’t get the message until later when i wasn’t able to call back,and she didn’t say why she was calling. and then i got an email from her saying that she’d left me a voice mail and that i hadn’t called back by 3:30pm on feb 10th. she just wanted me to confirm that the universities had gotten my transcripts. well… i hadn’t heard that they didn’t, but now i was nervous. why wouldn’t they have gotten them? and why would she call me? i don’t work in those offices.

so i wrote back and told her i don’t live in her time zone so i’m not always able to call back on her schedule and reminded her that universities usually only call if they don’t get something and asked if there was a reason why they wouldn’t have.

she wrote back to me: “Good Morning [sparkle], since I don’t know where you are located or what state.”

that’s it. that’s the whole first sentence.

the second sentence said, “The reason is we were aware of a recent fire where some of our mail that was to go out was destroyed.”

so i asked when the fire was, “The fire happened on Monday night, Feb. 7th thru Tuesday, Feb. 8th.” wow! that’s a LONG fire!  she told me she sent them on the 31st and they didn’t have mail delivery for four days because of the ice. i still don’t know where the fire was. i looked in the local to them paper and didn’t see anything about a fire on that night in that town.

she also said this was a courtesy email and she did not call universities, because i’d told her i was not able to look up the numbers of the universities because i was (again) not at a computer and could she check with the universities based on when she sent them and when the fire was.

well. O.K.

so i asked her to send one of them again after getting home and looking up the numbers and calling the universities.

i understand she doesn’t like her job, and i understand she clearly has no respect for me, but she’s still a representative of the school district and she sends out the transcripts. you’d think she’d be sure to write coherently and in full sentences.

also, if i owned the office and a fire burned some of our outgoing mail, i’d tell everyone to send it all again just in case.


money stress

27 Jan

i looked at my budget today… or rather, i tried to make a budget by looking at the 12 month average amount i spent in several categories as reported by my bank.

i decided i’m cut off. i get $200 cash a month and that has to be all the food i buy out and all the “little things” i pick up (like the $10 worth of chain i just bought to finish up a skirt). i’m totally freaking out about this. no more going to the museum, no more buying post cards, no more art supplies… all my art from here on in will have to be done using what i already have. once i’m out, i’m out.

what are some good, very inexpensive meals that last a while? i’m an old hat with beans and rice, but what else can i make? mac and cheese. both dishes can have meat and/or veggies thrown in. but i also need things i can take to school that i don’t have to heat up. my night class is 3 hours straight and i’m always *starving* when i get out. is it expensive to make your own granola bars?

please pardon me as i panic.

oh, yeah, and my gist:

1. roxy’s shadow as she trots along in the early evening sun.

2. galahad all curled up in my lap.

3. tilly all curled up in my lap.

4. talking to hamster_grrl.

5. hot water bottle.

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Posted in stress


reminded by spam

25 Jan

i got an amazing bit of spam this morning. it was from some woman telling me how she read my profile and really wants to meet me so could i email her and she’ll send me a picture.

obviously completely untrue, but the great thing was the comment was on my GIST page, which i had forgotten i even had.

hoorah! it’s pretty much just what i needed right now. my winter has been a little rough what with my cat getting sick and feeling crushed by all these applications and exams and online classes that have to be finished ASAP or my life will be RUINED, RUINED i tell you!

instead of just trying to remember every few weeks that i should focus on the good things, i’ll try to remember to write them here, too. (see that, no real commitment.)


1. the cheese, mr. marsh’s cat. i was over last night reading textbooks while mr. marsh cleaned his desk. the cheese is pretty much afraid of everything, but he likes me. he curled up right next to me when i laid down on the bed.

2. galahad seems to be doing better. he’s pretty obviously an old cat now, but he does seem to be doing better than he was a couple weeks ago.

3. oatmeal with blackberries. apparently, adding blackberries to one’s oatmeal turns it red… and yummy!

4. sunshine. really it’s nice to feel not freezing when i’m outside.

5. clink! my friends’ little girl learned how to clink glasses at thanksgiving and now loves to clink her sippy cup if you have a glass, too. so. cute.

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Posted in gist, school


WAY behind: #reverb10: 11

27 Dec

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

11 things, eh? like 11 specific shirts i could get rid of. probably not.

as to how? mindfulness. that’s what it all seems to boil down to for me.

ok, 11 “things”. here goes:

1. debt — i don’t have much, outside of the house payment, so i could pay off my credit cards.

2. self pity — yeah, i’m still on that bandwagon occasionally.

3. extra shirts — i’m trying very hard to fit into my closet.

4. weird, recently discovered driver’s license issue — maybe this should have gone on top.

5. comcast.

6. dirty floors

7. messy house — this and 6 and 3 all go together, but i find it’s easier to think about if i break it up into bits.

8. crazy exam stress — i’m going to make a study schedule and stick to it.

9. procrastination about studying — very similar to 8, but i found i had a lot of trouble with this last semester.

10. >50% of my meals/snacks from processed foods — no dirt at my house + a black thumb means no garden, but i’d like to concentrate of buying and eating more fresh & locally grown foods. yes, i know there are such things as “container gardens” but *I* couldn’t manage one.

11. uhhhhh… maybe i’ll give up lists of things i need to give up. this is stressing me out!



#reverb10: 7 and 8

10 Dec

i’ve been stuck on day 7 for a while now. you may notice that today is actually the 10th. but i’m just not sure what to write about day 7’s word, so maybe i’ll write about how i’m just not sure.


i’ve been part of a couple-a-few communities in my life. in 7th grade i went to the american community school (ACS) in the UK. (the one in cobham, not the one in london, just in case you wondered.) i’ve live in a gated community. been part of churches and sanghas and intentional community. they’re all so very different and all so much the same, too. community wasn’t a big big deal to me growing up because i moved around and switched schools so much i never really spent much time in any one community.

california has been a new experience for me community-wise, and i feel like i’m still trying to figure it all out. i’m hoping next year i get really settled into a community that feels steady and sold. and maybe isn’t full of people who think just like me, but also isn’t full of people who think nothing like me. somewhere that has a feeling of “we’re all in this together”. so, yeah, i’m talking about nursing school again. i’m just going to end up where i end up. a number of schools are impacted so there seems to be a lot of chance that factors into where students are accepted. and i hope knowing that we’ve all worked really hard to get where we are, and that we all have a lot of work ahead of us, and that we’re all doing it for basically the same reasons, will give us a sense of community that will support us through the hard times and help turn them into good times.

beautifully different.

the prompt for this one says, in part, “Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.”

for me, the things that make me different also make me difficult. i know this is supposed to be a self-esteem building sort of prompt, but i don’t really think i’m there yet. not 100% anyhow. there are certainly people at school who really encourage and celebrate my logic and ability to recall facts. (one classmate of mine from bio last year bragged to our whole chem class that it’d gotten the highest grade on the most recent test.) and i know mr. marsh loves me for it — but i also know there are times that he gets frustrated and hurt by the way i express what i know (and think he should, too, because it’s *so* obvious). luckily for me, he tries and usually succeeds at not taking it personally.

and there are people who … well … let’s just say not everyone appreciates the way my mind works. i would really, actually like to be corrected with regard to some urban legend or misunderstanding of a concept. hey, did you know that the ability to roll your tongue or not is actually NOT genetic? and that there is NO reason to believe that jamie lee curtis has any sort of odd genetic sex thing going on? or that you don’t necessarily have a 50/50 chance of something just because there are only two outcomes?

i’m *learning* to try to keep my mouth shut when stuff like that comes up, but i suffer from that same incorrect assumption that so many others do. turns out not everyone feels the same way about being corrected as i do. (why not? why wouldn’t you want to know the more true answer? wouldn’t you want to know the more direct way? wha??? it flusters me to think about it.)

i also am trying to remember that when i ask questions to try to better understand something that i don’t understand, other people don’t always like that. especially if they don’t have an answer. questions like, “but then why is it ok for her to do that if it’s not ok for me to do that?” or “i don’t think i understand the point; can you tell me what the reason for xyz?” are never well received.  (BTW, what is the correct punctuation when you’re quoting a question in a declarative sentence? anyone? my english language usage book is downstairs and i’m too lazy to go find it.)

so, i’m still feeling a bit tender about my “beautiful differences”. i’ve been in the outgroup a LOT because of them. not always, to be sure, but often enough and recently enough that i’m not really ready to be a cheerleader for how different i am. i’d rather find a way to see how these same attributes make me “beautifully ordinary”.


#reverb10: 5 and 6

07 Dec

let go.

man, i let go of a lot this past year. or, at least, i tried to. i let go of being an IT geek. i let go of db development. i let go of thinking that no one here would want to date me. (see post below about moment.) i have been trying to let go of some lingering yuck from a few years back. i know, it sounds like if it is a couple years old it should be pretty easy to let go by now, but i’m pretty sure that particular yuck re-wired some of my brain. so, to sum up, this past year i worked hard on letting go of not being good enough.

not good enough to:

  • be paid enough to cover my bills
  • have a job i really really enjoy and am really really good at
  • have my opinion respected at work
  • ever get promoted
  • be respected by my date/friends
  • have my friends show up for me when i need support

now i’m not saying that every friend and every job made me feel this way, but those were the overarching themes in my life for a while there. i think for several years i got paid *less* for every job i took! now i don’t have a paying job, so i’m pretty sure i’ve hit the bottom of that trend.

i was starting over at every job i had and so always at the bottom of the totem pole. i never used the same system twice in 10 years worth of jobs in california!

so, i decided to drop all that trying so hard to please other people and started trying to find out what would please me. it sounds really harsh, but for a while i wanted my friends to prove to me that they were going to *at least* appreciate that i was going out of my way before i did any favours. no more buying $60 breakfasts for 4 without so much as a thanks. no more waiting four hours to give someone a ride — and then getting a snotty email about how i wasn’t nice enough and “the thing is it’s about love”.

now, if you don’t show up, i don’t show up. and it feels great. and people thank me for doing things, and they are (mostly) on time, and they tell me how they care about me.

and i’m working toward an RN, which will fulfill so many of my work related goals. i’ll be able to find a job, i’ll be paid well, i’ll have specialized knowledge that i’ll want to share with others. i’ll be helpy in a real way. (and no more 3am phone calls to change the name on an email address!)

so, to sum up, i let go of the meh-ness of my life.


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so, part of letting go of the “not good enough” rhetoric of the past has been making little crafty things. just last night and this morning i was working on a fairy tale related ATC (artist trading card). the fairy tale in question is ‘the rose tree’.

so first i embossed the musical notes, then i coloured them, and part of the background, with distress ink. then i printed the song really small, cut it out, coffee stained it, and glued the lines to the ATC. easy peasy, except that just a few months ago i would have been *way* too intimidated to even try it! go, me!


#reverb10 4: wonder

04 Dec

my whole year this year has  been an exercise in cultivating wonder. i’ve gotten more involved in the sciences and medicine. i’ve touched and explored my first cadaver, i’ve stained microbes and looked at them under the microscope, i’ve cut open a sheep’s heart, made oxygen, learned to identify a variety of tissues, and learn more every day about what an amazing piece of work the human body is (and by extension, non-human bodies, too). it’s odd to say it here, but doing my homework really does help me engender a sense of wonder. really really thinking about how all of these things came together down through the billions of years of evolution to make all the life we have on the planet now. and to think about all the scientific discoveries we’ve made just in the past hundred years — a friend of mine just had faulty heart valve replaced with a pig valve. amazing, really, when you think about it. what will his options be when that valve weakens and needs to be replaced? (pig valves usually only last a decade or so before needing to be replaced, but don’t run the same day to day risks as the blood thinners required for the mechanical valves.)

also, i made the decision near the beginning of the year that i was ready to take some risks in the realms of the heart (this required a different sort of opening than the one mentioned above). i met mr. marsh in april (see previous post). allowing myself to trust, taking the risks of showing who i really am (from the cranky to the sappy), giving him space to be who he is without taking it personally… all this has both helped and been helped by my sense of wonder in the world.

i like to look at art, as well. not only art i really like, but art that shows how much love and energy the artist put into it. over the summer, we found ourselves at an underground art film show/experience. there were strange films, being show in strange ways, and a maze of sheets in one corner with guys in strange costumes running projectors while other guys made experimental music on the other side of the sheet. we couldn’t find our way out and weren’t “allowed” to go out the way we came in. i can’t say either of us really enjoyed the art, but i did enjoy the experience of seeing what other people were passionate about. i love to see that in people; i find it helps me appreciate the art i do like even more. seeing the wonder expressed by those artists helps me notice my own experiences of wonder even when they’re small or in regard to something i’m not expecting that response to.

and what “wonder” entry could be written by a self respecting burner without mentioning burning man? it’s almost cliche to me at this point to mention it, but the reason things become cliche is because they’re true, right? it’s some of what i experienced at the film thing, but also sometimes it’s so simple it’s amazing. many nights, in the evening, just as the sun is setting, lots of people go out with lots of kites and hoist them up into the air. it’s just so easy and so basic and so childlike and so quiet and so … perfect. i love it.


#reverb10 3: moment

04 Dec

this was hard for me, so it’s late. a moment when i most felt alive? i’m not really sure. i took this year to turn a lot of things around in my life and get sorted on a new path that is much more interesting and rewarding for me.

but one moment that stands out vividly in my memory is actually so focused on just one little thing that i can’t remember smells or sounds or even *exactly* what i was looking at.

on tax day of 2010 (that’s april 15 just in case there are some non-americans reading) i went to a birthday celebration at a local bar. the bar is dark, and crowded, and loud and i only knew the birthday boy so i was enjoying myself but i wasn’t too involved in any of the conversations.

suddenly, there was a cute guy sitting with the group. curly hair, scarf, vest, nice tweedy jacket… we started talking and really really hit it off.

and this is the part i remember vividly:

at one point in the evening we were sitting side by side, but still in the group and talking to everyone and laughing with everyone. and i wanted to make sure he knew i was interested, that i wasn’t just talking to him cause he was the one who happened to be sitting next to me.

and i can’t quite remember what we were talking about, but it was loud and people were laughing. so i decided that i was going to find a reason to put my hand on his knee *and leave it there for a moment* (like a hussy, right hamster_grrl?).  so i psyched myself up for it. i remember being aware of where his leg was, but not looking at it, and waiting for the right moment when everyone laughed again and shifted around and touched each other as friends do when they laugh (they all knew each other; i was the one person from the office.) and soon enough, it happened again. and i have NO idea what was said, i just remember focusing so closely on my hand i felt like i might even sound like i was faking my laugh (so i stopped laughing). and i very purposely set my hand on his knee and did not take it away. and i remember the feel of his knee under my hand and the weight of my hand and the solidity of the feeling of it and i have no memory of where i was looking, all i know was it wasn’t at him or my hand.

*i was trying very hard to make it seem natural!*

lucky me, it worked! he bought me a drink, and offered me a ride home, and kissed me on the way to the car, and actually called the next day like he said he would, and set up a real date with a time and a place to meet and a plan for what we would do. and i just took him to my cousins’ house for thanksgiving, and witnessed him signing his book deal (his 2nd).

and i think he’s going to be around for a long time.



02 Dec

i just found out about this project by reverb10 where you post each day of december based on a prompt they choose.

i’m going to combine prompt 1 and 2 into today to catch up.

Dec 1 (belated): one word.

my word for 2010 would have to be “change”. i  have changed so much in my life this year. i went back to school. i met my obviously meant to be long term partner (we like to joke that even though we met 7.5 months ago, we’ve been married 8 years). i started pushing myself creatively. and i’m preparing to move, if need be, for school.

my word for 2011 will hopefully be … settle. i really like change and i’m don’t imagine i’ll ever really be without a good deal of it, but it would be nice for some certain things to be more on the certain side. where will we live? will we be we, for sure? how will we manage all the different needs of all the different cats? i want to feel like my life has a stronger base, or rather a wider base.

Dec 2: writing.

one thing i do each day that does not, in any way, contribute to my writing is dawdle, putz, zone out, etc. there are times when i mindless half hour in front of the TV is actually the fastest way to unwind, but i shouldn’t get lost on facebook and making my amazon wishlist and watching daytime medical interview shows. if i’m going to watch TV or movies or “waste time” i could make it something well written and somehow intellectually interesting. or i could spend some time zoning out while scanning figures from my textbooks to help me study. flip, scan, save… flip, scan, save… flip, scan, save — it doesn’t always take a lot of concentration.


Still there!

01 Dec

the other day i put out a letter to be sent. normally, our postal dude picks these up and takes them away — no problem.

but when i got home at 6pm that evening, my envelope was still sitting out where i’d tucked it. we don’t have an outgoing post spot, so this is just how people have been indicating items which need to be taken.

i thought maybe the post just didn’t come that day, but there was stuff in my postbox. so… maybe we got a new carrier, a sub? i felt bad cause it was something i’d said i’d dropped in the post that day… i didn’t want the postee to think i was lying about that.

so, i dropped her a note online about the mix up then carried it with me to a public post box on the way to classes the next day. now i’m not sure if i can trust my post will be picked up at home anymore! maybe i’ll test it out with a letter to someone who isn’t expecting one, so they won’t know if it’s “late”.

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