Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lessons in Nature

So yesterday I was getting out of the car and I saw a huge green bug fly up onto the outside wall of the house. I assumed it was a grasshopper and went over to investigate because it was not flying or jumping away. Lo and behold, it was not a grasshopper, it was a praying mantis. I got the girls outside and we had a mini lesson in nature. I was probably about 8 or 9 years old the last time I saw a praying mantis. I wasn't able to get the camera. Yes I'm mad about that.

Today we went to the apple orchard on a field trip. They have a bee hive there and the children were looking at it (They have one of those plexiglass hives that come into the building so you can see the bees in the hive). There were tons of bees everywhere when we went to pick apples. Come to find out the queen at the resident hive had decided that her colony had grown too big. When this happens she designates one of the larva to be a queen. She picks drones and workers to go with the new queen. They swarm until they are able to build a new hive. The orchard worker who gave us the tour told us this golden nugget of information and showed us the end result. Here's a picture. I was less than 15 feet away from this. I would have loved to have gotten closer but bees scare me. The dark brown spot on the ground is the swarm of bees.

Monday, September 17, 2007

First Graded Assignments

Woo Hoo! My grades for my first two writing assignments were the maximum amount of points available! A+! Go me! Yippee! Can you hear me jumping up and down? I guess I will add that I got an A on my first two quizzes in Biology! Yeah!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Algebra Fun?

Yes, you read it right. Algebra and fun in the same sentence. I'm actually enjoying the Intermediate Algebra class that I feared the most. I haven't taken an algebra class in 21 years yet I'm doing pretty good. I did brush up a little on my own over the summer and that helped quite a bit, so much that I passed the placement test to get into the second level class rather than starting all over in the beginning, non-credit course. Regardless of how long it's been though, I think I'm doing pretty good.

I love all my classes. I think that this thirst for knowledge has gone on unattended for way too long. Going back to school is just what I needed in my life.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Went to an AA Meeting

I'm taking the required Health class in my first semester back to college. My assignment this week in that class was to go to an open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting as an observer and write about my observations and thoughts on the meeting and it's structure. I really didn't want to do it. I was going to try to get out of the assignment because I was so uncomfortable about it. As uncomfortable as I was, I'm really glad I went. It was an enlightening experience. I thought it was worth posting so here is the paper I wrote:

I have never been in a room with so many desperate people. There were people desperate to stay sober because they have just begun their path to sobriety. There were people who were desperate to keep the life that they are living because AA meetings have shown them that life is worth living and they are just starting to feel that they are worthy of that new life. There were also people that have been sober for a very long time (25 years) and still attending meetings. They seemed desperate to lead others to this life that they say is so much more today than it was yesterday.

There were people young and old, male and female and black and white in the room. They were students, business people, retired people and blue collar workers with one thing in common -- addiction to a substance. Most were alcoholics, some were addicts and some even introduced themselves as an alcoholic and an addict.

I was welcomed as an observer. They did ask me to introduce myself as an observer in case anyone had issue with a nonalcoholic being in the meeting. I was also asked to read a card which had the tradition stating anonymity on it. I did promise the group that I would abide by that when writing this paper. The “Serenity Prayer” was prayed. The 12 steps were read. The 12 traditions were read. There was a reading from “the Big Book” as they called it. It was a hardcover book that said Alcoholics Anonymous on it. Each meeting has a “topic” and then the floor is opened for everyone to speak. Each person who speaks starts by saying “My name is -------- and I’m an alcoholic. Everyone else then says “Hi ---------.” I heard stories that were heart wrenching. They were stories of drinking themselves into comas, the pain that they put family members through, the pain that they caused themselves, everything that was lost due to drinking and the long lasting effects, physical and emotional, of the disease on their lives. At the end of the meeting everyone stands in a circle and holds hands to say the Lord’s Prayer.

Everyone leaves with hope and renewed faith that they can get through the next 24 hours without taking a drink or doing their drug of choice. They know and understand that everyone in that room faces the same demons that they do every single day. I heard several people say “I come here and know that I’m not alone.” One person said, “I’m 21 yrs old. I have a rap sheet 4 pages long. When I come here, I can leave that at the door because I’m just like everyone else when I come into this room.”

Alcoholics Anonymous is a non-judgmental program for an alcoholic. It’s not a healing drug or a bandage to cover the pain. It is a program to get to the root of the problem. It helps people recognize who they are and what they have done and how to overcome that. At the beginning of the meeting the leader asks, “Is there anyone coming back today?” I did not understand this question until some one explained it to me at the end of the meeting. It is asking “Did anyone go out drinking last night and come back to the meeting today?” If anyone raises their hand they stick to steps 1 - 3 for that meeting. Why? Because bringing that person back is worth it. They are worth it.

I asked the woman who had told me she just received her 2 year chip if she could have done it with out the AA program. She said not a chance. She tried. It did not work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Historical Quote -- Civil War

"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers. In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I am readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials - after the fact."

- Robert E. Lee, 1863

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

College is Fun

I'm really having a good time in all my classes. I was scared at first. I really didn't know what to expect. I had way too much fun in college the first time around 15 years ago. I had so much fun that I didn't do so well. College is fun now for all the right reasons. I enjoy the discussion. I love learning.

It's amazing how much college has changed over the last 15 years. Wow, I can't believe it's been quite that long, but it has. My laptop and I are one. I'm taking 4 classes on campus and 3 online. It's kind of crazy.

I got a 100% and a 90% on two Biology quizzes so far. I'm excited about that. My first intermediate algebra class went well. It's been over twenty years since I've sat in an algebra class so I was frightened to say the least. I did brush up this summer. I think I've prepared myself well. I start my English 102 course in the middle of October as well as my American History class. The others are required PE and Health courses. I will have all general education requirements done except for one. I will take that class next semester and then I can really concentrate on all my science and math courses.

I meet a lot of young kids in my classes who just aren't taking their education seriously. I see myself (15 years ago) in them. I just want to shake them and scream at them. They have no idea what they are doing to themselves. I didn't. At least now I have the opportunity to fix it!

Wordless Wednesday 20

September 11, 2001

It was a day that changed my life. We all know what the events were that happened that day. It changed my life forever in many ways. I wish it would have never happened but I am thankful for the positive changes and sad about the negative changes.

I was in a hotel in Kingston, NY (less than 90 minutes away). I was stunned as I watched it happen on TV. We were looking for an apartment because my husband was being transferred. A couple of hours later someone was showing us an apartment as people were walking and running around. They were all talking about going and getting their children out of school and how we were under attack. The pandemonium was scary to say the least.

Things in my life that are changed:

I am a Conservative Republican now rather than a wishy washy Liberal.

I am afraid to fly.

I do profile when I see Muslims, especially since the results to that poll that came out which said that 25% of Muslim males believe that suicide bombing is okay in some instances. What?!!!!

I do think that a terrorist attack on American soil will happen in my lifetime (again). I never thought it was possible before and I'm surprised it hasn't happened again already.

I care about politics and who is elected in office. I can't say that I did before 9/11.

I like Dennis Miller now.

I can't stand most celebrities now. They make me ill with their treasonous remarks and actions.

I don't take things for granted as much as I did before. I am thankful for every day that I have with my family.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Home School Daze!

So yes, we are back in the rhythm of school again. Monica is doing well in all subjects. The decision to homeschool has proven to be the best decision I think we have ever made concerning Monica. She is excelling so much. She works so far above the level that public school had her that it's a crime. Not only for her but for all students that excel in school.

What a shame that this country's educational system has dumbed everything down in the name of "political correctness" and "discrimination" against children who are special ed. I'M SORRY. I do not agree with integrated classrooms. The day that integrated classrooms happened is the day that teachers could no longer do their job. It's the day that my child started getting a "mediocre at best" education. It's the day that discrimination against MY CHILD began.

What a shame that this is what it has come to in our country. No Child Left Behind is not what it sounds like. It should be called, No Learning Disabled Child Left Behind -- All Those Who Excel, Get Out If You Want A Good Education.