Category Archives: Creative Writing

Very Important Post

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I’m writing this on Wednesday, hoping it will post by Friday morning. I use Dreamhost for my blog and email, and I’ve never had a problem with them until now. I lost access to my email on Monday, and it’s been a very trying week. I thought I’d finished “defining myself” (Part I and Part II), but now I’m narrowing my focus. I’m a writer. There are many other aspects to my life and my personality, but I am a writer. Not a blogger, not a salesperson, no longer a nurse. I am a writer. First novel coming out before the end of the year. Follow me on social media and you won’t miss a thing.

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My eldest son called me the other day (cue Hallelujah chorus). It was the first time we’d heard from him since sometime in early May. No, he didn’t call on Father’s Day. Seeing Michael that sad was incredibly painful. I was so very, very close to sending an email asking what we’d done to offend, anger, or insult our son just twenty-four hours beforehand! It’s just one more example of how waiting on God’s timing is always better. I talked his ear off, quizzed him about everything except what toilet paper he was using, then passed him off to Michael. After a few minutes I let John know his brother was on the phone, and he sped downstairs to the studio to wait his turn. Then Aaron set us all up with an app called GroupMe, where we can share the everyday nonsense that really keeps people in touch! And it’s been wonderful!

— 3 —

john ksparks
John had his Senior pictures taken this week. We had a mini-session with a fantastic photographer in La Grange, which was perfect. John hates to have his picture taken nearly as much as I do, so he was much more relaxed with a thirty-minute maximum! Then he had his picture taken at school for the yearbook. All senior girls in drapes, all senior boys in tuxes. I just made the appointment, since I certainly couldn’t complain about his picture. Mine got me a threat from the assistant principal to “make my Senior year very difficult.” I suspect his year was more difficult than mine since I had a great time and I made sure he had to hide 600 pennies on his person during graduation. And I’m not sorry. Misuse of power is always bad, but exponentially bad if the victim is a teen girl. The fact that I just took it as a challenge proves Mr. Akers didn’t know me as well as he thought he did.

— 4 —

Thursday John and I will tour the campus at the University of Louisville. It’s just a casual group thing. We’ll see dorm rooms, classrooms, the student center, etc. No meetings with the marching band director or with instructors in Computer Science or Asian Studies, no “come to Jesus” with the financial aid people or the Speed School admissions people. Of course it will be raining cats and dogs. But I consider that a good sign, since when Aaron fell in love with Morehead it was during the storm of the decade and we couldn’t even make it home without stopping to wait out the storm.

— 5 —

Remember the cute birdcage I bought when my local Hancock’s Fabrics went out of business? Well, now my Muse and the Wine Fairy are roomies, with shell beds, flower pillows, and leaf coverlets. They both seem very happy, BTW, so if you have writer’s block maybe it’s time to bribe your muse!
fairy habitat

— 6 —

Normally it’s Winter that is toughest for me to get through. This summer has been pretty awful, though. The barometric pressure is bouncing around like the ball in a Disney Sing-a-Long, and it’s cause for celebration when I have feeling in all four extremities. I’m taking a cane and extra meds for the UofL trip.

— 7 —

I’m spending an hour a day (four 15-minute chunks of time) searching for scholarships for John. It takes a few clicks to weed out the ones for which you already are enrolled in college, have not survived a car crash that was fatal to someone, or have not read a particular little-known book. But “every little bit helps” as a young relative once wrote me in a thank-you note after receiving $50 (no gifts given since then, clearly) so I’m bombarding him with scholarships he needs to apply for. If I’d had the internet when I’d been a high school senior I’d have gotten a full ride to an Ivy League school!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Mickey Mouse Classes

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That’s what they called them when I was in college: Mickey Mouse classes.  You may have heard them referred to as bunny classes, or maybe just easy-As. I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but the program was re-vamped between my Sophomore and Junior years. If you’ve ever been midway through a course of study when it gets redesigned you understand that this translates to all students as, “You are SO screwed!” This was the first thing that came to mind when I read the “college” prompt for Mama Kat’s Witers’ Workshop.

So, as a girl with a four-year scholarship and summers that had to be filled with full-time work to pay for things like shampoo and toilet paper throughout the year I carried 18-21 credit hours a semester during my Junior and Senior year. As a Nursing major my Tuesdays and Thursdays were taken. I had clinicals from seven to three. Then I’d usually speed over to the UK med center, where I was a tech in the CCU. I’d work 4-12 there, and then get up in time to be ready for 8a.m. classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Somehow our clinical hours, which were spent actually doing things to real patients, didn’t count as much as class time. So 16 hours of clinical time would translate into maybe four hours of credit.

So my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were booked solid. And I had to choose my classes carefully to make sure they fulfilled the new requirements.  That’s when I discarded any hopes I had of getting a well-rounded education (Creative Writing, Art History, Anthropology, more Psych than just Intro to. . .) and started asking around for classes that either 1) I didn’t have to actually attend, 2) did not require a book, or 3) didn’t have tests. I found enough that I was actually able to get about four hours sleep a night and could afford to have two packets of saltine crackers for lunch every day (ten cents, 4 crackers total).  There were lots of people getting by on less sleep and no crackers.

A Brontosaurus was our shuttlebus when I enrolled at UK, so I suspect these classes no longer exist, or exist under a different name. From recent reports about the University of North Carolina you just have to look hard enough. I bet I could get my Master’s in something from UNC without ever leaving my little Kentucky home!

Anyway, this was the list back then:

Pharmacy 222: This was held in the largest classroom on campus, and there were still people sitting in the aisles. The Pharmacy professors took turns teaching it just for fun. It actually was very educational, no matter what your major. One day he compared aspirin, acetomenaphine (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil).  Aspirin won’t bring down a fever. Tylenol won’t help with swelling/inflammation. We covered Spanish Fly (which just makes your genitals itch), and one of the questions on the final was, “What number is stamped on a qualude?” For those not familiar with the song Superfreak by Rick James. . . it’s 714. It was easy to tell when each person got to that question, because they’d bob their head or hum 🙂 Another favorite of mine was Medical Terminology from Greek and Latin. Sounds hard, right? Not so much. Super-cheap book that the professor had used for years. Class was him telling us which words would be on the test. We just highlighted them. After high school Latin I could have aced it in my sleep. The professor was retirement-age, and every day he showed up with his fly unzipped and a dirty shoestring tied around his neck like a bolo tie. His first announcement to the class was that he didn’t think student athletes should have to go to class, so if there were any student athletes present they just needed to come on up and give him their name and they’d get an A without ever showing up again. The line was long.

I took Military History. I know nothing about history or geography or the military, but if I showed up and said, “Present!” and then showed up for the Pershing Rifle demo I got an A. It worked for me. Greek and Roman Mythology was awesome. I’d had an awesome Latin teacher in high school, and I’d always found mythology fascinating. No book, I only showed up for tests, and I only got one question wrong the entire semester. And the professor (actually an administrator who gave tests in his office) gave me 1/2 credit for creativity 🙂 There was a class called Marriage, Family and Sexuality that didn’t require a book, and that one was great. The only awkward moment was when we were grading our tests ourselves and there was some question about the size of a penis. Another girl and I both raised our hands at the same time to ask why our answer was wrong. He laughed, then flushed beet-red under our serious stares and said, “Um, the correct answer can be either B or C on that question.” Philosophy was much harder than I’d expected. And Astronomy was also a bust since it was only offered at 1 p.m.  The lights were out for 50 minutes, I’d just had lunch, and I was sleep-deprived.

What were your Mickey-Mouse classes? Do you remember them fondly, or just as a waste of your time? I’m especially interested if you went to EKU or UK – those are the only in-state schools that offer the Major and Minor my youngest wants!

Hot Topics on Facebook

It was a toss-up this week with the prompts at Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop. I could depress y`all with things that have scared me recently (sadly, my fears are ones that Stephen King just couldn’t handle), but instead I’m going to see whose buttons I can push. I really don’t post a lot on Facebook these days. Election years exhaust me emotionally. At least this year I won’t have to “hide” anyone for endorsing a candidate that I’m afraid will destroy our country. That’s pretty much been taken care of, and I can’t summon enough faith in ANY of the current candidates to get excited about them. If I’d have known pickin’s were gonna be this slim I’d have run myself. I could certainly use the money. A nice salary for the rest of my life for four years of service sounds lovely, doesn’t it? That’s what our men and women in the military should get, not the professional politicians whose sole contribution to our country in trading money for votes, and votes for money.  Perhaps I’ll run for public office soon, in preparation for the 2020 election. Unless Joanna Gaines runs, then I’ll back her. #LessKimKardashianMoreJoannaGaines
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Yes, my Facebook feed is very Nerium-heavy. I don’t mind a bit, and I share the posts when they are something I haven’t seen before. It’s nice to be nearing fifty and no longer have crow’s feet or sun damage. It’s especially nice to have lost seventy pounds and have no loose skin and fewer stretch marks and dimples in the wrong places! Best of all is knowing I don’t have to worry about my husband’s memory loss, which was starting to scare me. Anti-aging for the skin and brain is a beautiful thing!
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There are also a lot of general inspirational messages I share. Spring is here, and I’ve been without my Happy Light for a week, but I haven’t packed it away. Saving it for a rainy day. Too many people suffer from depression and don’t get the help they need. Or refuse help. Or get to the point where they are beyond help and suicide seems like the only option. Reach out! Ask for help!
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You’ll see Jamberry posts on my page. Having bright, pretty nails has been a real boost to my self-confidence the past few months. No, I can’t afford a salon mani-pedi every two weeks. But can I afford $7.50 for a full mani/pedi that will last a month on my fingers and a month and a half on my toes while protecting my thin, easily-nibbled nails. Oh, yes!
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I did vent once on Facebook after someone I considered a friend lied about a conversation we’d had, causing someone I’d never expect if from to send me an accusatory FB message (really??), and end up being completely disrespectful when I insisted our conversation was not text-appropriate. I wanted to go back and delete it, especially after a couple of good friends asked what in the world had happened that caused me to do something as tacky as air my dirty laundry on FB. They didn’t phrase it that way, of course, but I knew it was wrong. I just, at that point, felt so stupid for allowing myself to be used by someone for years – God only knows what other stories she’d spread, I’m sure this wasn’t just the first, that I decided to leave it as a reminder to myself.
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I’ve also posted that I’m writing again. It’s a genre I’ve never written in before, but new ideas pull me out of bed and keep me at the computer until my back and neck force me to lie down again. My fingers can’t keep up with my brain on this one, which is a good problem to have!!

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