Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Classes for Spring!

My first week of classes has gone well so far. I have attended all of my classes but one, and that one is a one day a week class on Monday afternoons, and since Monday was MLK Jr Day, there were no classes. So far it looks like my classes are going to be interesting.... some more interesting than others. My Modern Sociological Theory is going to be a lot less interesting than any of my other ones, but hey, it is theory, and that can be rather boring. 

My Urban Politics class is going to be an absolute blast.... the teacher is awesome and was the first and only woman elected as mayor here in Colorado Springs, and she was mayor for I think two terms. She is a fascinating lady.... she only teaches the class once a year in the spring, so I got lucky cuz this class is going to be awesome. This year is an election year for the city with 6 city council seats open and a new format for the way a mayor now works, who is also up for election. I get to go to a city council meeting and a mayoral or city councilman candidate forum as part of the class.... this is going to be fun! The class will have some of the various candidates for the two races as guest speakers. And the good part? No textbook! 

My Race and Gender class is going to be interesting too.... the professor is a riot. She is looney in a good way and seems to be a lot of fun. And what is really cool is that for the final paper and presentation, groups get to analyze the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. How cool is that??? We get to pick our groups, and the professor will pick what sociological view and theory we will use. 

My Special Topics: The Sociology of Homelessness class promises to be interesting too. We can either do a 7-12 page research paper or do a community service project where we go out and work for at least 15 hours during the semester in some community outreach program that works directly with the homeless here in town and then write a 5-7 page paper on our experiences and what we learned. I am doing the community service project, and I think it is going to be very interesting. We will also have numerous guest speakers that promises to be interesting.

My Class, Stratification & Power class will be interesting too. We will talk about the various classes here in the U.S. and the thought is out there that we have a caste system very similar to India, but more flexible. Gives my brain food for thought. Most people consider themselves middle class, even if they are far above or below that income bracket and level of wealth. 

The only one I haven't attended yet, which is the Monday afternoon class, is my Intro to Social Psychology class. I have a friend that took it this past fall semester and she says it is s great class and that I will enjoy it. I am sure she is right, so it looks like this semester is going to be a good one, even if it does get intense as the semester moves forward.

Now on to other topics. The infection in my tooth and jaw is getting much better and the big lump of infection on my jaw is getting smaller and isn't as noticeable as it was. I was on two different antibiotics, amoxicillin and clindamycin. I finished the amoxicillin yesterday and another two days for the other one. Hopefully all the antibiotics will knock the infection out and convince it to leave me alone.

N, my 12 year old, made me grin like a loon last night and feel very loved. I know I am loved by my boys, but sometimes, the little gestures really bring it home for me. He was worried that I had not really gotten anything for Christmas, so last night when we were at the store, he used some of his Christmas money and bought me a stuffed Mickey Mouse that is holding a heart that says 'Hug'. He wanted me to have a present, so he, on his own accord, decided to get me one. Sometimes, I am just blown away by the love my kids have for me. I am so blessed to have such wonderful boys! 

Here is a picture of my Mickey Mouse

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life Keeps Moving Forward

Life just inexorably keeps moving forward, whether we want it to or not, and whether we are ready for it to or not. With that in mind, I look forward to mine moving on at the moment. Spring classes start on Tuesday morning, and I am looking forward to sitting in class and learning new stuff. I am taking 18 credits this spring, mainly Sociology classes. I am almost done with my Political Science minor... only need one more class for that, and I will be taking that this spring, then that is done and I can take more Women's Studies classes and more Sociology classes. My semester is going to be nuts.... 

My classes this semester are Urban Politics (Interesting) , Modern Sociological Theory (BORING), Intro to Social Psychology (Interesting), Special Topics in Sociology: Homelessness (Very Interesting), Class, Stratification & Power (Could be Boring or Interesting, don't know yet), and Gender & Race Theory (Don't know about this yet either). I hope the classes aren't too horrendous with papers galore that will kill me.... my fall semester had way too many papers to write, so I am hoping this one isn't too bad, but who am I kidding..... will probably have a million papers to write. *SIGH*

Other things that have been going on lately... I had to have a bad tooth pulled... one of my back left molars broke and got badly infected and spread to my jaw and under my chin. Pulling the tooth helped, but the infection is still there and the antibiotics I am taking are massive and seem to be helping since it is looking a little better. I also found out that I am now also allergic to Vicodin.... which is weird because I used to be able to take it. My poor jaw is still hurting a great deal and still badly swollen and disfigured. I hate being in pain and especially ugly... I am getting all sorts of looks and questions about what happened to my face.  

*BANGS HEAD ON DESK* Why did I think it was a good idea to have kids???? WHY?????
They turn into teenagers and do nothing but argue and fight with you...... GAW!!!!! *sigh* Oh that is right... I wasn't thinking when I 'got' them...... *smacks self in the forehead* 
K is giving me grief on I don't even know what anymore.... I get grief from him so often that I just kind of zone out at times because it is always something....and generally it is me.... even if I didn't do anything. *Sigh*

My shower is screwed up and does not get proper water temperatures or pressure.... the bathroom has gone thru 6 valve stems in just over a year. That is unbelievable... most valve stems last at least 20 years once installed. I have had 6 break or in general not work at all since we moved here..... so the maintenance guy is going to tear out my shower walls and replace some pipes and put in a new something or other that will have yet a different valve stem on it. Hopefully this will fix the water issues... but it is going to take all week to do it since there are other apartments that need work done.... soooooo, for the next week, my bathroom is going to be in a shambles, and we will be lucky if we get to take showers at all for the next day or so. The good news is that I was told about a different complex not far from here that is nicer than here and that is fairly affordable. I will try to look into it tomorrow.... here's praying that I can find a better place to live that is affordable for my meager joke of a budget. 

I hope everyone has a great week this week and that you smile and laugh at least a few times a day. I hope you are blessed with the happy, unexpected good stuff that makes your life worthwhile.

Now, on to the picture for the post..... tonight I feel like posting the precious. I hope it reminds you just how precious the gift of life is.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moe's New Shoes & World Domination

If I had known that my dog Moe was going to be such a wealth of blog material, I might have named this blog something a little different... maybe The Blog of Moe.... but that isn't what I named it. I will however continue to use Moe for fodder as long as he continues to be so darn funny. 

Moe's New Shoes

Moe is a puppy, and his little paws are very tender and sensitive to the extreme cold and snow that frequently happens in this area. With the storm we had over New Year's, Moe ended up with frozen paws that hurt him so badly that he just limped and whimpered when I had to take him out every so often. He would rotate thru his four paws because they all hurt from the extremely cold temperatures outside. Well, it isn't a good thing to have hurt paws and puppy messes on your kitchen floor thanks to the temperatures, so I decided that Moe needed little snow booties or shoes. Yes, you can get those here in Colorado and other states that have extreme winters. Even sled dogs in Alaska during the Iditarod use some type of major heavy duty shoes. So I had to buy Moe some, and oh my gosh, they are expensive! Anyhoo, I had to buy the basic little booties for Moe and they are so tiny! He is full grown and has little paws, so he ended up with XXS shoes. These shoes have a rubber hard plastic sole with little treadmarks for traction and they go up over his paws up to his first joint and close with a velcro strap that wraps around his leg right below the joint.

We went to a store called Wag N' Wash and obviously had Moe with us for trying shoes on him. OMG! Trying those shoes on was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time! We started with XS, and they ended up being too big and he was having a very hard time walking in the shoes while in the store. He sat there and let me put the shoes on him and he looks at me with that "WTF did I do to deserve this Mommy??" look in his eyes and then when he was walking, it was more of a hopping thing.... he didn't want to put his back paws on the floor, so he kept hopping from one back foot to the other and meanwhile his front paws are barely touching the ground and limping which just contributed to the hopping thing. He was shuffle-hopping around the store and the shoes kept slipping because they were too big, so I tried the XXS size, which did fit better, but poor Moe was still hopping and while he is doing this funny hop-limp-shuffle, he kept leaning his head down to his various paws trying to pull at the velcro to get them off.  The whole experience lasted about 15-20 minutes. Moe gradually got over the hopping walk and while still walking funny, began to walk a little more normally when he started playing with other dogs in the store.

I left the booties on Moe for the walk outside to the truck and the ride home. When I got poor Moe inside, he sprawled on the livingroom floor and tried to chew on the velcro and ribbed top. He just laid there on my lap with this pitiful look on his face and wouldn't do anything. I finally got him to walk around the livingroom in the shoes and he starts the whole hopping/chewing on velcro thing all over again. He was rotating thru all four paws again in trying to not put his feet down on the floor. He wouldn't even play with his brand new toys that he got that afternoon while wearing the shoes. 

I finally took pity on poor Moe and took the shoes off, and zoom! there he went! Moe was so excited about getting the shoes off that he took off and ran all over the livingroom making sure he still had all four feet. Once he ran for a minute or two, he laid down on the floor and licked all four of his paws while glaring at me. Even now, a day after the shoes, he still walks all funny/hoppy-like each time we put the shoes on him to go out. We are in the middle of another snowstorm, so the ground has been super cold, and poor Moe has been hopping outside with his new shoes. I tell y'all, I have not seen anything this funny in a while. Moe is such a funny puppy. 

World Domination

My oldest son, K, came into my bedroom yesterday evening and said he needed to learn how to do a coup d'etat. I looked up from my laptop and said "What did you just say K?" He looks at me with *that* look in his eyes that every single parent of teenagers interprets to mean "I am going to say something that is going to make fun of you and I have no problem laughing at you". Yes, fellow parents, you know exactly what look I mean. Yes, *that* look. K looks at me (with that look) again and once more says, "I need to learn how to do a coup d'etat" I looked fully at him and said, "But K, that is a military coup that is very bloody and violent that takes thousands of lives and replaces a legit government with a military government". This was particularly distressing to me on this day because I had just finished watching a depressing movie in class the other day about the Pinochet military coup of 1973 in Chile. K gives me *that* look a third time and says "I know that Mommy", so I asked him why he wanted to learn how to do a coup d'etat. He laughs and says because it is a chess move that involves the King and wiping out the majority of your opponents pieces. My jaw hit the floor and I just stared at him and finally got over my dumbfoundedness and just had to laugh. K, the stinker, really had me going there for a minute and he thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. He knows I am clueless about chess and took great delight in tormenting me with letting me think he had plans for world domination. Kids, ya gotta love them... otherwise we would kill them entirely too easily and often. 

And now something to warm up the cold and snowy night.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Not Much is Happening, Except Life.

Life has been busy this week... I started my Winter Break class on Tuesday and haven't had much time to do much of anything. My class is interesting... it promises to be an easy A for me, which is always a good thing since I will be busting my butt the entire spring semester with a full 18 credits. Well, actually it is 21 credits since the winter break class is considered part of the spring semester. I am cramming a 16 week course into 2 weeks of class every day, but the professor has abbreviated the class and it is an easy topic. Latin American Politics thru Film. 

Yeah, I know kind of a joke class, but it is rather interesting. There is a lot to it despite the easy aspect of it. We take a lot of notes on film and on various things on Latin America and then we watch a movie that relates to the lecture and nightly textbook reading. So far I have watched 4 movies - one each day in class. The first movie was really graphic and violent, Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, which was about the Aztec Nation and the beginning of the Conquest by the Conquistadors. This movie was very intense, very graphic and extremely violent. 

The second movie, while still intense wasn't nearly as graphic. It was a much younger Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons movie called The Mission. This one was about the argument between Spain and Portugal over a small area located where Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay come together at a spectacular set of waterfalls called Iguaza Falls. They play Jesuit priests that are trying to save a tribe from Portugal and the slave trading it engaged in by kidnapping and selling the indigenous people. As with all things related to the Conquest of Latin America, this did not end well for the Jesuits and natives.

The third movie was a depressing one called Missing that was about the coup in Chile by Pinochet in 1973. This movie is a true story about a young liberal reporter living in Chile at the time of the violent military coup who asks too many questions and then disappears after coup soldiers arrest him. The main point of the movie was that the American Embassy and Consulate did nothing to help find the missing young man and other missing American citizens. He was never found, and was rumored to be executed. And yet, the American officials did nothing about it, and was rumored to have assisted in making the coup take place.

Today's movie was about drugs, Mexico & the U.S. The movie was Traffic with Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas. It was a good movie with a very surprising twist to it.... CZJ ends up being married to a drug lord in CA that works with a big drug cartel in Mexico and takes over the business when her husband is arrested and put on trial. Her involvement really surprised me... CZJ even went so far as to order a hit on the main witness against her husband, and makes sure the witness dies.

So I get to watch a daily movie and read a short textbook and write what is essentially a modified book report every night on the daily movie and I get an A for the class. Each of the film scriptings, as the professor calls them, is worth 20 point and I, of course, end getting 19 points on all of them. *Shrugs* easy stuff. 

Now the professor... he is something else.... possibly close to 50, more likely in his late 40's, and about as loony as they come..... I am almost 100% positive that he is a medicinal marijuana user and possibly a drinker. He is absent-minded and often smells of marijuana. I have had him for 2 other political science classes, which is one of my minors, and he is very easy to confuse. I do believe he is rather sexist, but he manages to not be obvious about it in class. He is absent-minded and always says funny little things that don't always make sense unless you know what he is talking about.... comments about tv shows and movies that 90% of the young'uns in my class don't get, but me being the age that I am, totally get it and end up snickering in class, which of course the professor sees, so he knows I am not as young as the babies. Oh well....he grins at me when I snicker at his little jokes, so I guess I won't get into trouble.

So all in all, this week has been busy and I am enjoying going back to class for the moment.... except for the whole "wake up and be in class by 8 am" aspect of it. Really not a morning person at all. I have to set my alarm starting at 4:15, and it goes off every 15 minutes until 5:15, when I finally drag myself out of bed.... and it goes off til 5:45 just in case I still manage to sleep thru the numerous rooster crowings that I use as a my alarm on my cell phone. Yeah, rooster crowings.... the only thing obnoxious enough to drag me out of bed in the mornings. I really hate getting up before 1 pm.... anything earlier than 1 pm is uncivilized, in my humble opinion anyway.

I wish this was in my bed at night.... would be a great reason to sleep in, I think.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflecting on the Old, Hoping for the New

This post is serious and full of my religious beliefs and references to God. If this makes you uncomfortable, then please feel free to skip this and come back for another post. I do however hope you will read it anyway and maybe see things a little differently.

So an old year has left us and a new one has joined us. I think for this new year, I am going to try and change my attitude and outlook. 2010 was a really tough year for me. I really think God is trying to teach me something. I just wish I could figure out what it is that He wants me to learn. I know He wants me to learn patience, but that one is nothing new. 

2010 was full of hurt, heartbreak that I had for my children, unbelievable stresses, sickness and even emergency surgery for me. I hate dwelling on the negative, but it is so hard to not do that. I am generally an upbeat and positive person, but this year that has been really hard for me. And 2010 was better than 2009 and 2008. God has kept challenging me in so many ways that I just don't know what to do and how to handle it any more. On more than one occasion I was driven to my knees in frustration and tears with little respite. As soon as something started looking up in one place, somewhere else went out of balance and downhill.

So for 2011, I am going to try and see things from a different perspective. I am going to look at things as a learning and growing opportunity. I will ask myself "what does God want me to learn from this?". I will also ask the questions "What is today's purpose in my journey thru life? Is it an important purpose? Is it irrelevant? Is it simply joy or sadness? What is the reason and purpose God has placed this person in my path?" I am going to try and take things more in stride and not let them get to me as much as things have the past year. This will be very hard to do since I am a very reactive person. I have the unfortunate tendency to react before I think, and that gets me in a lot of trouble. I want to spend more time thinking "what does God want me to learn from this" instead of blowing up and losing what little hold on my temper that I have. 

This is going to be very hard for me, and I am sure I will have setbacks along the way. I know my limits, and I am hoping that I will be able to either stretch the limits or resolve things before reaching those limits. I know that I am going to struggle with this, and I guess I am just going to have to learn how to pray more than I already do. Making total mental adjustments like this is hard, but I really feel this is what I need to do for my own benefit as well as for the benefit of my sons. They deserve a mom who can look at things in a more positive manner so that they can learn how to see things in a more positive light themselves. I love my sons and really want them to have better opportunities for growth, and I feel this is one way to give them that. But first, they need to see me grow, and I need the growth for my own sanity, peace of mind, and maturity. 

I really hope I am able to do some growing this year. I hope I am able to grow for myself and and more in the way that God wants me to, whatever way that is. I hope and pray I am able to discover His purpose and meaning for each day. I think this will be an amazing yet challenging journey for me to undertake. The path looks mighty scary, but I think I will be ok.

I hope y'all are able to reach your own personal goals whatever they may be. I hope y'all enjoy every sunrise and sunset you are given. I hope that the really important dreams for the next year come true for y'all. I hope y'all know that you are very important and very loved by those that have been blessed with having y'all in their lives. I hope that y'all are blessed by those important people in your lives. And most of all, I hope you are able to smile every day despite whatever you face. I hope that someone's hug, touch of the hand, or smile will make all the difference you need in your life.

This song seems appropriate somehow for this post. I love Lady Antebellum, and this song just speaks volumes to me, as if God were smacking me upside the head to get my attention. I hope it says something to y'all as well.