Cozumel México: A Day of Pee and Currents and Wreck Dives (Thursday Dives)

Toward the end of the week it was just easier to tell them to be at the dock by 8:30, which meant that they’d be there by 7:45. I guess that just means that we were out early to get back early. On Thursday we made 2 morning dives and an afternoon dive. But this… this was a “fun” day of dives…. Let me explain……

Deb and I showed up in similar colors and I happened to be in her favorite color so that meant, Picture time!

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Graduation parties are what Saturday’s are made for!

It is that time of year when graduations are going on. I actually had a bunch of friends who were graduating high school this year, one being SW.  Yesterday I attended her graduation party. When I got there I jumped in and helped Deb start with some of the preparation while SW and her mom Michelle worked on decorations. Then once all the inside prep was caught up, I went outside to check out what was going on. They were working on heating up the pool, building a bonfire, and decorating the pool area.

I just sat down and was talking to Karen when Karen said, oh no, there go the balloons. I guess all the balloons escaped. Woops!

There was food galore! Ham and Cheese sliders, BBQ Pork rib sliders, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Chips and guac, a fruit bowl, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, and more desserts than you could shake a stick at. I must say, I sampled quite a bit of it…. and it was good. Hey, if there’s one thing I can say, we know how to cook :). Welcome to the Midwest!

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Once a Gorilla

As they say, Once a Gorilla, Always a Gorilla.

I hate to say it but I’ve taken more pride in being a gorilla these last couple of semesters than I did when I first started out on this journey. Sad, now it’s over. There were a few things I wanted to do that I didn’t, such as attending a football game (while a student). But I guess we all have regrets now and then.

I would say my biggest regret right now, not being more excited on Graduation day. Why you ask? Well I was waiting on results for comps and I was afraid that I didn’t pass which meant I didn’t technically graduate. I felt like a fraud and a phony. I also wondered in the back of my head if because I felt that way and was afraid I’d regret the feelings, if I wouldn’t actually pass comps. I did on both accounts… I also think I owe my family an apology because while they were extremely excited… my guilt took over and I kept saying, “I’m not real sure I graduated…”

That morning we got to the school early. I wanted to take a photo shoot, kind of like “senior” photos. It didn’t turn out exactly like I would have liked. Oh well… I still got some good photos. I wasn’t taking them, hubby was and I couldn’t convey what I wanted. Sad how sometimes you see it in your head but can’t get it in words.

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G is for Graduation or N is for Nostalgia

Is it sad I’ve been trying to write this post for over a week and can’t seem to find the right words. My first attempt was May 5. My last day of classes. My second attempt was May 6 followed by May 7. I sat in an airport on May 9 and attempted again, but realized all the pictures I wanted were on my computer at home and I was headed for Cozumel for a week. Now I’m home and attempting this again, but I’m still not sure the words will come.

May 5, 2016 was my last day of classes. My last day of working on my Masters in English degree. That still gives me goosebumps. I walked into Grubbs 303 for the last time.

When I walked into the classroom for my last final I realized this is the classroom I sat in for my first class while chasing this degree. I was so nervous that first class. I sat in the second row, last seat and just tried to blend in. I knew no one would know me and I was scared. That first class took place at 1pm, British Literature I. It was a class to pick up since my Bachelor’s degree didn’t require it. Our first book we read was Beowulf. Our first quiz I failed. I was devastated. I worked my butt off and never failed another quiz in that class. I guess that’s just what I needed.

That first semester I took 2 other classes. One was HEL (History of the English Language) and the other was a Writing about Literature class. Whew, that writing about literature class was rough. I had a professor, Dr. Meats, and boy did I spend a lot of time in his office rewriting papers. My first paper I got a D. Over half the class got a D or an F on the first paper so at least I was in good company. That first paper was a New critical Analysis of a poem called To His Coy Mistress. I have to admit, I don’t really remember what a New Critical Analysis is anymore and I really don’t remember that poem, but there was a lot of sexual innuendo’s in the poem. I re-wrote that paper into a B and I said, Thank you, I’ll take it.

I wrote my last paper in that class as a Marxist review of Battle Royal. It was about boxing. I wrote it to an 88% on my first try. Why? Well because I found my thesis statement elsewhere (and credited it, btw). Dr. Meats said my paper was an A paper but I got a B because my thesis was borrowed. Hey, it said exactly what I wanted to say! I couldn’t have said it any better myself if I would have tried.

And HEL. I mainly only remember the professor. He was known to offend people with his twisted sense of humor. Not me, but some people.

Three years of classes. Three years of experience. Lots and Lots of changes. I might have cried when I realized my last two semesters I had a 4.0 semester. I’ve never had a 4.0 semester in my life until Grad School. I got really close in high school and graduated high school with a cumulative GPA of a 3.85, which sadly only got me to 38th in my class. Top 20%. I graduated with 214 people in high school…..

But in Grad school… a major challenge of my academic career I achieved not 1 but 2 4.0 semesters. I even learned how to write 20 page papers. That’s beyond believable. Crazy in fact. I wrote 3 of those. One was on editing a manual, one was on The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope (1714), and the third was on SCUBA diving.

If you’ve followed any time at all though, you’ll know I failed general comps, twice. I failed part of my specialty comps, once. It hasn’t all be rainbows and butterflies. I retook my specialty comps immediately and passed 3/0. I was ecstatic, but it didn’t stop there. You get three chances to pass and then you’re dropped from the program. No pressure or anything.

May 7th was graduation. May 6th I went and took my general comps retake… So technically I went into graduation with no clue where my fate stood. In fact, I went on vacation to Mexico not knowing. And we were supposed to have cell reception in Mexico. My phone never got it. Hubby’s did so he stalked my school email account. Wednesday of our trip (or was it Thursday, heck it could have been Friday… my days all kind of ran together and I never knew what day it was) I got notification that I PASSED!

I thought hubby was going to stomp a hole in the floor of the boat as we were headed back to shore. Everyone on the boat (there were 10 of us that went) started congratulating me and I’m pretty sure we had to pick my jaw up off the bottom of the ocean floor. I cried. I didn’t know what to do. They joked and said I was in shock and I said, I think I need a drink. In fact, I said I needed 4. I didn’t drink 4 but 4 was the number I said I needed.

And then truth be told, I came home wondering if I would find out it was all a joke. An evil joke. Nope, I got my official letter in the mail stating I passed while I was on vacation.

So all this to say…. Grad school is over. I’m done at Grubbs Hall and the Library where I basically lived as a home away from home for the last three years.

I remember starting out on this, graduation seemed so far off but hubby and I looked at each other and said, holy crap that went by fast.

And that was all she wrote!

Results

I feel the crunch of the end of school coming. Not just the end of the semester, but the end of school. If all goes well I should graduate May 7th. That’s the thing though… right now I feel like a retard. Literature isn’t my strong suit. It never has been. I only grew fond of reading once I was out of school and had nothing better to do with my time. And then it was typically best seller type stuff. One of my professors said you read crap if you read best seller stuff. He says there is a lot better stuff out there in the form of writers like Faulkner and guys from the beat generation. By the way, the Beat generation was Modernism and about that time came the Harlem Renaissance.

But if you ask my professors, apparently I don’t know anything. In my Memoir class we learned that we put ourselves out there with our stories. And… Now I’m going to put my big girl panties on and put myself out there…

So last semester when I took comps but didn’t pass, the professor sent on the comments from the graders. It’s a pass/fail system. Here were the comments.

British Core Exam
Reader 1:
  • Passage 1 (Macbeth): Fail. A good understanding of the passage, but the writer doesn’t match the passage up to a clear theme in Macbeth. And the writer says Macbeth wants to be King of Denmark instead of King of Scotland.
  • Passage 2 (Fielding): Pass. Language a little awkward, but makes a good argument.
  • Essay (Wuthering Heights): Fail. Doesn’t define the term “gothic” well, and most of the characteristics the writer described (like a required death) aren’t necessarily part of a gothic genre.

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Tuesday Brain Splat

My brain is all over the place. One such place… relief. At least last night’s comps is over and it’ll be a week before I hear results on either set, so that means a week of freedom, right? Please tell me I’m right. The stress the last few weeks kind of got to me. Ugh! I was talking to one of the professors last Thursday and said that grad school is more stressful than any job I’ve had and I’ve had some stressful jobs. She laughed and said, yeah, in grad school, you have a deadline and have to work on something until it is finished, where as long as your job is one of those you can walk away from at the end of the day, you’re done until the next work day.

I think grad school is taking a toll on me… I look old. That’s my opinion, but whatever…. Oh and gray hairs… they’re multiplying, I swear. Seriously? I’m only 32 (I think…. don’t ask me my age, ask me my birthday, I’m better at that number). And a tan, I’d like a tan… although I don’t want wrinkly skin, I have enough of that… so there is that…. anyway like I said, my brain is all over the place right now.

Today I feel like it is Thursday (don’t ask why, I don’t know) and yesterday I swore it was Tuesday (that’s because I sat at the school all day on a Monday which isn’t typical). So let’s see if I can impart some wisdom on you today… Here we go… if you have something that is bolded, italicized, or underlined and it is followed by punctuation, that punctuation carries the same bold, italics or underline. Although underlining words is a thing of the typewriter age when people couldn’t bold or italicize words for whatever the word is I’m looking for…. um…. emphasis I guess might be it.

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Today

I woke up this morning tired, stiff, and dreading the morning. Why? Maybe because it is Monday, or maybe because I’m just not a morning person, or maybe, just maybe it was because I have to take my second set of Comps tonight. This is Set 2 attempt 1. And then D) it could be all of the above.

This is the specialty set. It focuses on Professional and Technical Writing, which is actually what I’m getting my degree in. I’ve been studying all weekend. I’m not sure who’s brilliant idea it was to put this test right around Easter. Okay okay, so truth of the matter is that’s just how it fell. Fall, it is the last Thursday/Monday of October and Spring it is the Thursday/Monday after Spring Break. It just so happened Easter was early this year and it fell the week after spring break. I’m still going with that wasn’t brilliant planning.

Is it odd to admit that I’m not nearly as stressed about this set of comps as I am/was about the other set? When it comes down to English, my weakness is literature. It always has been and I’m not sure why. I like to read, although some of those authors are dark… I’m talking DARK! I’m not really crazy about that I guess. Life is too depressing, give me something upbeat. ha!

When I got home Thursday night after taking the other set, I was a mess. I’m not sure how it went as they said it’d be about a week for results, but I was a mess. I’m still not sure I passed because I didn’t completely get finished. I left the graders a note that I wasn’t finished and wanted to address this this and this…. we’ll see what happens I guess….

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Poetry might be the death of me…..

My Memoir Writing class is causing me to have to think about the past and causing me to write new ways. Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog (me) new tricks… but… I’m having to learn.

Recently I’ve been having to write poetry. I don’t care for poetry. I really don’t like looking for hidden meanings. I’d rather something be spelled out for me because I may take it one way while you take it a different way and it was intended to be a completely different way.

So this week I was challenged to write one of my essays into a free verse poem. I took that as a challenge and made a 7 page Memoir essay into a Haiku. If you don’t know what a Haiku is, it’s a Japanese poem form that has 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

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FFA and National FFA Week

Welcome to FFA Week. Did you know it was FFA week? What is National FFA Week? It is a week for FFA, Alumni, and Sponsors to be agvocates for this great organization and Agriculture as a whole.

Now I grew up on a farm and I have always had a fondness for agriculture, but I have learned there are people out there who think their food comes from the store. Well, yes, but where does the store get it?

Words that scare people are GMO, Farm, Factory Farm, Blood & Guts, Antibiotics, etc. There is nothing scary about those words, especially if you educate yourself to the best of your ability. That’s not reading just one side, no, read both sides. You may not agree with what the other side says, but that is how you educate yourself.

I joined FFA as a Freshman in high school (the earliest you could join when I was in school). When I did my student teaching I learned that some programs have 7th and 8th graders taking classes in agriculture to expose them, our school didn’t offer that.

But through the FFA I was able to travel both Domestically and Internationally. In fact I got my Bachelors degree in Agriculture Education. Which here’s a fun fact, George Straight graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a degree in Agriculture Education. Hey King George, you’re awesome in more ways than one!

Anyway I got in to showing sheep as an FFA’er. I showed sheep all over the state of Missouri and took it on to the American Royal. I also traveled to Washington D.C., St. Louis, MO, all over the state of South Dakota, and Costa Rica to pursue agriculture (and that’s just to name a few). Yes, Agriculture is that awesome.

In the FFA I learned how to public speak (I am a very shy/outgoing person), judge animals, trapse through muck with the best of them :), achieve awards, and much more. I learned how to be a team player, how to give more than I receive but receive all in the same. How to make friendships with people you didn’t know and much more. I can’t say enough good things about FFA. And now, some pictures.

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