Sunday, May 27, 2012

photo by lousyfocus

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Written 4 hours ago

Today Ally graduated from Preschool!  She had a great year.  She is going to miss all her friends, and her teachers.  A couple of her friends from preschool will be at her Kindergarten next year. 
Even though Ally LOVED school, she is very excited for our upcoming summer.  She and Max are going to take swim lessons together.  Ally and another one of her friends are going to Dance Camp together, and, of course, we are headed back to Story Land!!!  That leaves us with 2 weeks over the whole summer with no plans....yet!  
Health Wise Ally is doing well.  She has lots of energy, she gives lots of hugs and kisses, and is even a bit naughty once in a while!  She is having a really hard time putting weight on.  We have decreased the pooping issue, and she has increased her food intake; but the scale still reads about 28 pounds.  This is frustrating for us (and for Ally, as we are constantly making her eat). 
I think I said it last time...but it feels like we have been running a marathon for the past 4 years, and finally having a break is great.  It makes everything a little easier.  I can't wait for 4 years of cancer treatment to feel like it was so long ago that I can't remember how absolutely draining it was.  Ahhhhh....moving forward.
In a couple of weeks Ally will have her first dance recital.  She is very excited and nervous!  I am only allowed to take pictures during dress rehearsal, so I will make sure to post those.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Angie's Iris

Long ago, my second hospice patient, and beloved friend was moving.  Leaving her garden behind was breaking her heart, and she begged me to take, at least, her Iris.  At the time, I had no place for them, and wasn't anxious to do so.  She begged, bullied, and wept.  I took them, and found a place.  In retaliation for my reluctance, they put forth great blades of green and refused to bloom.  For ten years, they stubbornly refused.  Two years ago on a river bank renovation, Elmer's great caterpillar flattened and scraped away much of that garden.  I thought it was a dead loss, and wept myself.  In repentance, Elmer delivered an end-loader of composted cow manure.  I used it to reconstruct the garden.  Was amazed by fall to discover that some of the day lilies, and most of Angie's iris had survived.  Last year, again, the great green blades.

So imagine my surprise when I glanced over last night and found them *in bud*!  And this morning, the first in bloom!  Memories of one tough little lady, and an iris that shares that central core: surviving, and blooming when least expected.  Angie lived for three years as a hospice patient.  By every medical indication, she shouldn't even have made it as far as hospice.  Never underestimate the will of living things to survive and even thrive.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sunday, 6 May 2012

We have had a fun few weeks.
During April Vacation we made a trip to the Boston Aquarium.  When asked what her favorite part was, Ally replied, "Showing Daddy everything."  (This was Daddy's first time ever to the Boston Aquarium.)
Later in the week we met up with Auntie Stacy and Auntie Kelly in Portland, and visited the children's museum there.  We spent the night at Old Orchard Beach (the new picture was taken was cold on the beach!).  The following morning we headed to the Dover Children's Museum and for mini golf.  It was a great mini-vacation.
This past weekend we visited Vermont for Daddy to compete in the Tough Mudder (google's a 10 mile obstacle course up and down Mount Snow with obstacles such as jumping into a dumpster of ice water, running through hanging wires that are charged with electricity, and crawling through tunnels full of mud that are underground and grow increasingly more narrow....good times!).  Daddy and his friends who completed this crazy event had a great time!  Ally and I hung back at the hotel, as the crowd of 20,000 people would have been a bit much for her to handle.
This Thursday we are headed to the Make-A-Wish breakfast...always a worthy cause for any money that might be burning a hole in your pocket!
Ally has just a few weeks of school left, and I only have 6 weeks left...we are both very excited for summer.

That's all for now...hopefully the weather stays nice and I can upload some pictures of Ally outside.

Life feels really good right's been a long journey, it's nice to take a break...

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Edumacation. . . .

Shirlee, long and checkered educational career, lol! University of Utah, 1959 - 1962.  Moved to Maryland, worked a year, got married, University of Maryland, full time 63/64, undergrad; babies, 64 and 66; 68/70 also full time undergrad; BA, 1970.  University of Maryland 71 -- part time grad school; 72/73 full time, MA 73.  English w/ creative writing specialty (MD didn't offer a MFA 'cause they said no one could get a job with that degree, but they allowed the writers to take half of their classes in writing, and offer either a book of poetry or a novel as a Master's Thesis).  I did a novel, though as I was paying my typist 75 cents a page, 270 pages, I saw I should have gone for poetry at 40 pages or so, lol! Heck, I likely could have typed the poetry myself -- no MLA guidelines for poetry: the poet gets to decide, grin.

You'll note that's six full time years as an undergrad: I graduated with 180 "semester" hours.  Two causes -- transferring from a quarter system to a semester system.  I lost a lot of hours in the translation: if you had five quarter hours, the translation equaled 3.3 semester hours, and they accepted the hours, but tossed the extra third.  If you had 3 quarter hours, that equaled 2 semester hours, but was an hour short, so they made you re-take the class at three S hours to make up the missing hour.  Ditto for 2 Q hours (=1.33 S hours). Utah had  five hour classes and threes and twos. (Health 101 at Utah was a two hour class; at Maryland, also a two hour -- Q-hours > S-hours = 1.33.  Took the whole class over for the 2.3 hour. . . .)  Maryland virtually only three hour classes.  That coupled with Utah was rarely forward looking, and offered a multitude of course to fill each broad area: at Utah, I took anthropology to fill the psych/sosh requirement -- Maryland credited the hours, but *required* ONLY psych 101 and sosh 101. . . . etc. At Utah, I'd taken Genetics, Maryland *required* Biology 101 from everyone.  I took it. If I'd *entered* as a Freshman, I could have tested out of the BR (basic requirements), but as a transfer student, you couldn't transfer in into Honors.  Utah accepted a lot of high school classes -- American History/World History not for hours, but as filling those slots and let you take more advanced classes to fill the Field requirements.  Maryland didn't.

The other difference between the schools which struck me as exceeding odd was: at Utah, it was clear that the faculty was there FOR the students; at Maryland, the reverse was true -- the students were there FOR the faculty (to provide jobs).  Two examples: at Utah, often the head of the department would teach the freshman classes (my physics class, and Philosophy 101 were both taught by the department heads); at Maryland, *nevah*.  At Utah's registration, the advisors from each department would be given a classroom at the Union building: getting advised at Utah meant you never had to leave the building, and registration was in the ballroom.  At Maryland, advisors stayed in their own offices, and the students ran all over campus getting classes okayed.  I could register at Utah in a couple of hours.  Maryland often took two or three full days to do the same.

It struck me as full strange even then that the conservative state had the amazingly liberal university  and it was famously excellent and forward looking -- had degrees in fields where they were the ONLY one in the country that offered that degree.  Dance comes to mind -- other schools offered it as a specialty in PE, lol!  Their theatre department was stunning!  Maryland, the librul state offered a football U. . . . with very anal retentive requirements. . .

So why did I transfer at all, lol!?  At three years in at Utah, I had an equal numbers of hours in Philosophy, Theatre and English. I knew I could graduate in a year by concentrating on one of those fields.  But I loved them each, and couldn't make up ma mind, lol!  Had a best friend whose father had moved the family to MD so he could work for JFK's new HEW Department.  She'd dropped out of college and was working.  I had this wild hair that if I worked for a year, I could save enough for my senior year, AND decide which major I wanted to be, lol!  Mryna and Alec (the guy she was seeing) introduced me to the father of my future children the third week I was there, and Utah ended up not being an option.  I ended up majoring in English. You'll note that NONE of my potential majors were in fields with any kind of clear career path. . . .