My first thought when I decided to write a Thanksgiving blog was, “How convenient that this year Thanksgiving is on a Thursday so I can write about it in my Wednesday blog.” Only to realize five seconds later that it is on a Thursday every year, and my posts rarely correspond with a reality other than my own, and so this whole theme thing was quickly becoming a wash.
Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine, mostly because it’s centered around food. It’s nice, too, because the older I get the more I realize how thankful I am. It’s easy to pick out the things I’ve always been thankful for: Family, Friends, Food and Dogs. And beer. And shelter. Since this year has been a pretty tumultuous one for me, I’d like to get a little more specific.
The year started out with my boss firing me after trying to give her a months notice that I’d be leaving, so I spent the first month of the year with no income. I’m thankful for my parents being my safety net in that scenario, and also very thankful that they sent me to Mexico while I waited to start my new job.
Then my best friend, Hannah, moved to Los Angeles and I’m thankful that we’re still as close as ever, even though we’re a million* miles away from each other. I’m also thankful that she works her butt off to make the city of Los Angeles a more just place for every person living there. In fact, I’m thankful to all my friends for being the most admirable people I know.
In May I moved extremely close to a grocery store, which allows me to be the super weird girl who wants to make everything from scratch. But, then some days is tired and eats mac and cheese from the hot bar. I’m thankful for that hot bar.
I’m thankful for my classmates and teachers at DePaul who remind me everyday to never stop learning, and that life is so much better that way. I’m also thankful to my brain for not giving up on me after all I’ve done to it.
The boys I nanny turn one today, and I’m thankful that I get to be with them five days a week. They make life so much less serious, and remind me how un-serious my own is.
And, well, I’m of course thankful to you my readers (aka my mom and close friends) for supporting me on my sarcastic journey through life.
Last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for my dog, Belle, who forces me to wake up early and take a walk outside dressed like a crazy person. It reminds me to be who I am, and to just love life like she does. It also reminds me how much I fucking hate mornings.
*actual distance may be less than a million miles, but it sure does feel that way.
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My first quarter of school is coming to an end, and it has me, more than anything, wondering where the friggin time goes. I also reflected on the cool stuff I learned about children and how nerdy I’ve become. I spent the rest of my reflecting thinking about my dog.
I got to really reflect on things I’ve learned, as in my entire educational career, two weeks ago when I took the Basic Skills Test, or as it’s named now, Test of Academic Proficiency. Both of these names make you feel like a smarty pants leading up to the test date and then like a total dumbass as you walk away from the test all, “What the fuck was that.”
At least that was my experience, minus the feeling like a smarty pants leading up to the test. I took the practice tests over and over, without a calculator cause you’re not allowed to use them. I will say, the practice did prepare me well for the test, at least the part where I walk away thinking, “What the fuck was that.”
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this torture device, the TAP test is required for all people who want to be a teacher some day. I’m sure it’s also open to those who want to have a good cry.
When I met with my adviser the summer before starting school, she told me that it was absolutely imperative that I take my TAP test the first quarter I’m in school. So, being the nerd that I now am, I signed up to take the test during my first quarter. Half way through said quarter however, I was told how bad of an idea it was to take the TAP while I was in school because studying for it was essentially a class in itself.
Oh cool, wanna maybe tell me that before I spend $125 next time?
You may have guessed by now that I did not pass this god forsaken test. The whole “no calculators allowed” on the math portion really got me good, and it turns out that I suck at grammar as well. Or whatever “language arts” means. BUT! I did pass the reading comprehension part. I am in grad school after all, so thank goodness that skill is still up there.
Guess what some more facts were that they forgot to tell me when I registered for the TAP?
1) Even though the test is taken in sections, so that if you fail one section you don’t have to retake the entire test, you still have to pay the full amount as if you were taking the entire test.
2) The ACT can be substituted for the TAP and the ACT lets you use calculators.
ACT, I’m comin’ for ya.
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Belle graduated from her obedience class on Saturday, here’s a picture so we can all bask in her cuteness:
I am happy about her graduation for two reasons:
1) She can now show off the super cool things she’s learned
2) I will not be in a Petsmart every Saturday.
This second fact is going to have the biggest effect on my life overall, meaning it may cause me to actually have money in my wallet.
You see, for the last six weeks Belle and I have been going into Petsmart so she can take her class. After class, I could certainly walk out the door and just go home. Every so often she’ll need food, so I’d walk to the aisle and buy that. Another day she needed more plastic poop bags, so had to walk through the store and grab those. Then there are those days when she doesn’t need anything, but as I’ve been known to do, I stretched the definition of “need” and buy her a toy or rawhide for doing a good job in class. I even did this after the class where she took a shit in the middle of the room.
Our living room has become the land of destroyed dog toys.
Petsmart is not completely to blame for my lack of control, of course. Two weeks ago before we went to Michigan for the weekend I decided Belle and Nikki, Benny Jays dog who I was watching, needed some treats for the trip so I walked to a local pet store. Along with treats, I was on the hunt for a longer leash for Belle so she could do some quality roaming. However, I went without Belle and didn’t bring her leash for reference so I was left to guesstimate whether or not a leash was longer than the one she already owned. I picked one with a pretty pattern, and it turned out to not be much longer than the one I had at home, but I still kept it and it is now dubbed the “vacation leash”.
Every dog owner has one of these, right?
The final item I picked up on this little trip was a toy, because the 100 we had at home wouldn’t be able to make the trip with us. This beautiful toy was designed to squeak in such a way that would be loud and wonderful to dogs and quiet and even more wonderful to humans. I didn’t know how they did it, and I didn’t even care.
It was the first win/win situation I’d ever encountered.
Belle loved this toy deeply and then, within the week, ripped it to shreds.
Like mother like daughter.
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Though I may not become the megastar that Kanye West is, we have one thing in common: being terrible at registration.
As I’ve expressed, my re-entering into the school scene has proved to be a rough transition, and my recent attempts to register for next quarters classes have proved no less rough.
My classmates and I decided to have a mutual freak out a few weeks ago when we found out we’d have to start doing field experience next quarter which would mean working in a preschool, without pay, for 75 hours over the course of 10 weeks. Though this wouldn’t take up all my time, on top of two other classes it’s certainly going to cut into the hours I can work and get paid for it.
I have a dog daughter to support!
Then I check the “academic plan” one of the program directors gave me before I started school, and it does not say I have to take this internship until NEXT Winter, so I’m all like uh huh ok I can procrastinate that. A day or so later I have a call with another program director so I can go over this plan to not take this class until next year and she’s all, “aw yeah good idea, you’re the coolest.” So last Friday I register for the two classes and am feeling good, an hour or so later I get an email from the program about suggested courses, but I basically ignore it because I have talked to more than enough people about what classes to take and my brain is about to explode.
I go into class Monday, the same class we all had our freak out in, and sit down. I’m pretty much brain dead because I was in Michigan this weekend and then had to return on Sunday and write a five page research paper. Unfortunately my “don’t talk to me” vibe isn’t working properly and someone comes up to me and asks if I registered for classes.
“Did you read the email we got Friday?”
“No, I ignored it cause I’d already talked to her.”
“She says we have to do the internship.”
“God damnit shit fuck crap mother of hatred.”
I then go to my email and actually read what it says, and I indeed do have to do this gosh damn internship next quarter. I have to wonder if it’s me or the program that’s more confused about what classes I need to take. I want to respond to it something very snarky but I resist and instead fall back into my terrible mood coma and survive class.
During class break I attempt to register for the internship on my phone, which is of course only setting my bad mood into overdrive because the website is made to be used on a computer.
“WELL I DON’T HAVE MY COMPUTER, WEBSITE!”
I then slam my phone down and solidify myself as the obnoxious angry girl who sits in the back of class with her carthartt beanie still on.
I am not sorry.
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I bet you’re all sick of hearing about my obstacles of becoming a functioning graduate school. Unfortunately, if this is the case, you’re going to have to find something else to do with this Wednesday afternoon cause it’s hard out here for a pimp (26 year old white girl).
That being said, you’re already reading so why stop now? Misery loves company.
My first paper of graduate school is due today and while writing it last night, procrastinators unite, I realized just how hard it is for me to put a real sentence together. Sure, I write for this blog every Wednesday and occasionally there are full sentences, but the divide between snarky blog posts and graduate school papers that have to be written with your entire brain on and put into APA format, is quite large.
Step number one was wrapping my head around APA format for citing the paper, which I can say with 50% certainty I did not do correctly. Step two was not considering the creation of a title page a victory and worthy of an hour long break. Step three was stopping binge eating gummy beards. Step four was writing at least one sentence that made sense.
This paper was a shorter “reflection” paper which meant I got to add some thoughts of my own, which we all know I love to do. This meant I was almost able to convince myself I’d be able to write it today at work, but thankfully a little bit of me is an adult and vetoed that idea.
I decided that I was going to use the “word vomit, then edit” writing technique. I happened to leave out the self-edit part of this process and pretty much just word vomited onto three pages, and then a reference page, and sent it to Anika at about 12:30 last night.
I am waiting for her to look at it and send me a response with something along the lines of, “Did you have a stroke while writing this?”
Luckily, this lovely little paper has gotten my brain all nice and warmed up for the research paper I am going to be writing this weekend while out of town.
Rather than sacrifice my social life, I’ve decided to attempt to both have friends and be a good student. So far, this has meant drinking wine on Friday nights and getting up at 7am on Saturdays to do work before dog obedience class, and more often than not falling asleep sitting up while trying to do work on a couch at work as the boys sleep.
I may be going about grad school the wrong way..
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My first official mental breakdown of grad school has happened. And it happened in front of my entire class.
On Monday we presented our “Community Organization Profiles” that we’d worked on with our partners, and were now letting our class know all about the services, etc.. the organization we profiled had to offer the early childcare community. My partner and I had thoroughly researched and visited the facility, so we were both well versed in everything there was to know about early childcare at Erie House.
The presentation was going to be a breeze, right?
Since our class is three hours long, we always break in the middle. My partner and I decided to present right after the break. Unfortunately for me, the entire class break was spent talking about how next quarter we were going to have to do a 75 hour internship, on top of our two classes, and I got all “excuuuuuse me?” cause it pretty much sounded impossible to accomplish while having a full time job. And I can’t stop working because I have a (dog) daughter to support! Not to mention rent, groceries, and alcohol to pay for.
This all reminds me I need to email my professor and beg for their mercy in allowing me to figure out some way to do all of those requirements while also not becoming homeless.
So the conversation about the next hellish quarter ends, after our teacher reassures us that, yeah, it’s gonna be hell, and now it’s my groups turn to present.
Oh, ok, great. If I wasn’t nervous about the presentation before I now am nervous about my ability to survive graduate school.
The presentation starts out fine, my partner introduces the organization and talks about the logistics of their mission, etc.. Then it’s my turn to talk about class size, facilities, the community, etc.. Unfortunately one of the things I talk about is the education requirements of the teachers at the center, some of which do not require a teaching certificate. In my traditional way of handling panic, I begin babbling sarcastic crazy jokes, such as:
“Hey, for this class you don’t need a degree so if you’re dropping out like I am you can still do that!”
“There’s plenty of job opportunities for people who can’t finish grad school, lol lol lol”
And on and on.
Thankfully people were laughing, at me, not with me, but regardless they were laughing. My teacher at one point felt the need to reassure the class that I was totally kidding. Which I may not have been.
I still haven’t had time to figure out just how stressed out I am about the whole thing because I have a midterm tonight and I am FREAKING OUT.
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You know how people tell you that you won’t know what it’s like to have a baby until you have one of your own? Well, that same sentiment is true for dog parenthood as well.
I’ve grown up with dogs in my parents house, and have dog sat in my adult life, so I was all “I’ve totally got this.” Turns out when the little creature is yours, the anxiety flies through the roof.
“Am I feeding her the right food?”
“Does my house smell like dog?”
“Where is she!?”
Two weeks or so after we got her I took her the dog beach, which she loved. However, the next day she was itching like crazy and just generally acting like a maniac and it turns out she’d contracted a pretty severe bug bite and the vet had to shave part of her back and she was on medication for the next two weeks. Said medicine also had the effect of making her have to pee at pretty much all times, so it was a fun recovery period for everyone in the house.
Begin stage one of “you’re the worst dog mom ever” mindset.
A week or so after the medication stopped, she was still peeing everywhere like a maniac so I tried restricting her water. Which only led to her drinking out of my water glass whenever I wasn’t looking.
This Saturday I took her to her obedience class where she promptly peed and pooped in front of the entire class.
Stage two of “you’re the worst dog mom ever” is now initiated.
Her public shaming led me to believe that either she gave zero fucks or something was wrong, so I took her to the vet.
Turns out she has a UTI!
Third stage of dog mom guilt is in full effect.
The vet wanted to make sure it was just a UTI so she took her in back and extracted some urine, which sounds like the most disgusting process ever. Before our visit, I had attempted to catch my own urine sample to bring in by quickly shoving a small tupperware container under her crotch when she peed and managed to collect about a teaspoons worth.
Neighborhood cuties, come and get me!
The vet decided to double check the urine and had it sent out to a lab, which lead to my getting a call yesterday morning as I’m trying to feed not only the baby I nanny for but also myself, and the vet lets me know that she has “crystals in her urine”. This could mean potentially needing to change her entire diet, depending on how she reacts to the medicine.
If you’re keeping track, she’s spent more time on medicine than not while under my care.
The cycle of dog mom guilt is now complete and I am living in complete stress mode.
Also, how the fuck am I going to parent a real human child.
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