Musings on a Tough Semester

I’m tired. This has been a really long and humbling semester. It has been a very long time since I’ve had to struggle through learning something. The last time I took a math or science class it was 1988 and my sophomore year in high school. I’m an insane perfectionist and I often choose to not tackle anything I don’t think I can excel at or intimidates me.

When I first started at MK it was intimidating to be the only one who wasn’t college educated and I was asking for and actually doing a job I wasn’t trained for, but as time went on I got good at my job and gained confidence. So it’s been at least 12 or 13 years since I’ve had to jump in with both feet and either sink or swim and I was a lot younger back then. I’d forgotten how intimidating and humbling it is to not know how to do something or to not just be intrinsically good at something.

I’ve felt small and stupid and less than since this semester began. The professor hasn’t exactly been prompt in grading our work so Id not’ have any of my grades for the second section labs nor do I have the grades for the labs I’ve turned in for this section so there’s a great deal of uncertainty, which if you know anything about me you know totally unhinges me. The perfectionist in me wants and needs an A, the realist in me knows that I need a C so I’ll be able to transfer the credits to a four-year college, the hopeful part of my soul hopes for a B but there are are 60 lab points and 50 assignment points sitting out there unassigned and ungraded. 110 points are the difference between passing easily and failing miserably.

I’ll take the last test and last quiz tomorrow and that’s another 125 points out there.

I’m really at my stress limit. I can’t wait for this class to be over.

Writing 101: Forgiveness in 100 Words

I am participating in Writing 101 on

“You and me, we’re okay, you’re forgiven,” read the note scribbled into the sand. Scribbled safely away from the tide, the note lingered there for days. Each evening I saw her come and light the candles around it. Each night I watched her sit there sobbing; until regret, time, tide, and the salty sea air extinguished each candle. And then one day the tide came in higher than normal and washed the note away, she didn’t come that night nor did she any evening after that. I never saw the lonely woman again. I hoped she too had been forgiven.

Writing 101: 3 Songs, Lots of Emotions

I am participating in Writing 101 on

This started out as the reply to exercise three, which was supposed to be about three of my favorite songs. The exercise directed to just empty my head and write about the emotions connected to these songs. I was sort of stumped because at the time I couldn’t think of three favorite songs. I have so many and I love music so much I wasn’t sure I could pick three. And so I started with “Name” by Goo Goo Dolls and wrote about how the words of this mournful tune whispered in my ear while listening to my headphones on a SEPTA bus on my way to work. The words seeped in to my soul and have remained there. I thought perhaps I would stick with just writing about this one song and call it a day. Because really it just resonates with me to this day. It still makes me cry every time I hear it.

I still had time on the clock and I searched my heart and mind and then it happened, “Galileo” by Indigo Girls popped in to my mind. And I remembered it was the lyrics to this song I posted the day after finding out that the possibility existed that after the first round of 32 radiation treatments there was still cancer there. (FYI: Blessedly, a follow up MRI in October confirmed all the cancer was in fact gone.) Here is where all the emotions connected to that song and that moment came rushing to the top. And it was here where I walked away from this exercise. I thought to myself, how did I get through the day and the days and weeks that followed? How did I wake up every morning and live my life? How did I make it to October?

I was suddenly anxious and upset and I just shut down. I’m not sure the person I am today could be the person I was four years ago. I went back and reread a few of the blog entries that followed and I can’t imagine how I was that strong and resilient. Truth be told, I haven’t read back on many of the 365 Days of Carol Anne posts, but I do believe they are my best writing ever. I freely, openly, and fearlessly wrote my truth on a daily basis for an entire year: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the even uglier. It’s been almost four years since that day, but in that instant, while working on this exercise, I was transported back to that August morning in the neurosurgeon’s examining room, and all the fear and sorrow and loss that I felt came rushing back at me like a tsunami and ran me over like a steamroller.

I know this was supposed to be about our three favorite songs and the emotions connected to them but this writing exercise, which is now two days late, became so much more and took on a life of its own so it took me a few days to actually work through the emotions and put pen to paper and commit this to the web.

Oh, and for the record and to actually complete the exercise, I’ll add “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison as the third favorite song. I heard it during a lovely scene in the movie “Immediate Family” and fell instantly in love with this beautiful song.

Writing 101: Where Would I Go?

"Sunset in Cape May"

Sunset at Sunset Beach

I am participating in Writing 101 on

If I could zoom through time and space at the speed of light I would go to the ocean: my ocean, Sunset Beach, Cape May, New Jersey. I will always go to the ocean. It’s where I am most whole and most at peace. Standing on Sunset Beach at Cape May Point at the end of the world before Mother Ocean fills me with the belief that I am part of the infinite universe. It is here, at the end of the land, wrapped in Mother Ocean’s comforting embrace where I believe most deeply in God’s grace and glory.

Here at the southernmost point in New Jersey you can watch the sun set below the horizon without an obstruction. The sun dips below the horizon as day fades into night. The quiet and stillness of the moment when the dark overtakes the light and blue hour begins is awe-inspiring. It could very well be my imagination but at that moment when the darkness settles over the island the world stops spinning and a hush and stillness blankets the land. All is right with the world for a few fleeting quiet moments.

Writing 101: 20 Minutes to Write and Unlock My Mind

I’m participating in Writing 101 on

Twenty minutes to sit here, write, and unlock my mind. I really hope I get to see this Writing 101 exercise through. I signed up for this exercise and Blogging 101 back in September and my father fell seriously ill and my grandmother-in-law passed away in the same 7 days. September turned in to this surreal nightmare of a month, the likes of which I would not wish on anyone.

In addition to missing out on this exercise I missed out on Photography Week on Creative live and a free portrait photography shoot I had planned in the park to practice my portrait photography skills. I really hope it’s a quiet and peaceful spring and I can complete this exercise, finish this semester’s Earth Science class with a good grade, and the weather finally warms up so I can get back out birding and walking and visiting the ocean.

Yesterday I was reading spring and summer bucket lists. (Can we come up with a better name for this? Please and thank you.) Of course I have original ideas for my own list, but I saw two on other people’s lists that I think I will add to my own; blowing bubbles and flying a kite. I’ve never flown a kite so this now ranks high atop my spring/summer to do list.

A few things I’d like to do before spring gets too warm and too buggy are to get back to Jake’s Landing to do more birding and to get back to Cumberland County to go to Heislerville to find Turkey Point and Matt’s Landing. I’d also like to finally make it to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge in Philly before it gets too buggy around here. (I don’t do bugs.)

I really hope to make it down to Cape May before the spring migration season is over. It was such a brutally cold February and March and it’s turning out to be a rainy April. I’m really sick of being cold, wet, or stuck inside. I can’t wait to take more walks at Palmyra Nature Cove, and Red Bank Battlefield, and out at Riverwinds. I want to go back to Morris Arboretum to see the cherry blossoms when they finally bloom later this month.

Spring has been a long time coming this year and it seems like it’s been light years since last September when I first missed this exercise. Bright sunshine and flowing words and creativity would be a nice respite from the cold, dark months that have sapped my creativity.

5 Things

1. Do public figures not understand everything they say and do is recorded/analyzed?
2. Bill O’Reilly, how you feeling about CBS releasing the video that proves you were lying?
3. Keith Olbermann, do you not learn from your mistakes? Think it’s time for your to retire from public life and take a vow of silence and swear off Twitter.
4. The Secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department lies about being in the special forces and he still has a job?
5. See #1.

Dear God, what the hell kind of society are we living in?

Dear God, what the hell kind of society are we living in? There was breaking news, a burning tanker truck in Pennsauken, which sent me to turn Channel 6 on to see if they were broadcasting and I happened upon The View. They were talking about boxer Floyd Mayweather’s history of domestic violence and how they (Whoopi and Rosie Perez were the two I heard talking about this) are okay with him because he “served his time” and “did what he was supposed to.”

I don’t follow boxing and I had no idea of this scumbag’s history of domestic violence. So I had to Google him, I just read this Dead Spin story about him and I’m appalled by the lack of any real punishment this monster has received. And my God, the women on The View are fine with this. I don’t watch The View but aren’t these women supposed to be a bastion of feminism and girl power?

The man is a professional boxer and the most jail time this man’s seen is 90 days for beating a woman. He punched her repeatedly in the back of the head.

Dear Reese Witherspoon, et. al, stop complaining about being asked about your dresses and address the danger of being a woman in this society. I stand absolutely astonished that a monster such as this one walks among society and is hailed a hero and a celebrity and that people like Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie Perez are fine with him continuing to be a celebrity boxer. I’m astonished and appalled. I’m actually brokenhearted to know that my life and the lives of all women are apparently less valuable than boxing’s golden boy and those making money off of him. Unreal. I’m sick.

Write a Letter to Anyone About Anything

"Write a Letter"

I challenge you to write a letter, a letter to anyone about anything. Letter writing is at an all time low and we are leaving nothing behind for historians to document our time on earth. You don’t have to come back here and tell me you wrote a letter, but I’ll be tickled pink if you do.

I’d challenge you to write a letter a week or a letter a month, but I’d settle for one letter in response to this challenge. And besides who doesn’t love receiving something in the mail other than bills or junk mail?

So you lovers out there get out your pens and write a love letter to your lover and you parents sit down and write your kids a letter. Tell them you love them, tell them the stories of the people who loved them before they existed, the people from who they came and the family stories passed down from generation to generation. Or write your best friend a letter. Tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you or reminisce about the good old days. It really doesn’t matter to whom you write, just sit down, put pen to paper, and send the gift of your words, and your thoughts, and your stamp to someone.

CY365: Day 34

"Cupcake Kitty"

Day 34 — Off Prompt

Going off prompt today because it’s rare to get a good shot of (grumpy) Cupcake Kitty and even more rare to get her looking sort of goofy at that. Her one eye is a little off focus, I was playing with focus points and forgot to switch back to center before taking this photo.