Holi-Daze

Holi-Daze

Super Grover Tops our Tree! Circa 2005Tomorrow, December 22nd, is this year’s Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. Normally the Winter Solstice is on December 21st, but since it is based on the Earth’s position from the sun, it varies in time, and sometimes date, from year to year. I have no plans for the Solistice, per se. I’ll work, then go home and hang out with the husband. A low-key day, about what I can handle right now.

To the left is our first Christmas Tree. It’s from 2005 – our first year living in Maine together (I grew up in Maine, Edmund is from New Jersey). It is also our last Christmas tree. Why? I started going back to school in 2006 and–do I really need to explain? I suspect that next year we will see a resurgence of treeness. At least that’s my plan.

Otherwise, I am pretty much all set for my Christmas preparations. We’re going to go to my parent’s house for dinner, Edmund is cooking a ham, my Mom will make many desserts, my brother Bill will come down to Westbrook, Dot will be visiting from Hallowell, and it will be fine. Super-fine even.

I found out that my semester grades are both in, an A for my Memoir class and, as I discussed yesterday, a B+ for my Stats class. That’s all I needed to get my degree in Sociology with a Math Minor. My final GPA is 3.752, which makes me magna cum laude. It also makes me tickled pink!

The thing is, I’m still twitching. I have a bunch of projects on my plate, stuff I want to do, but I am forcing myself to wait until after Christmas to start working on them. I need the time off. (I don’t mean time off from work. That would be nice, but I blew it all this year. My last couple of vacation days were used to finish up my school work for this semester.) I need more veg time, and to have my non-work time be stress free. So I blog and play games with my husband and read and watch tv and videos. Pretty nice so far. I will not be going anywhere New Year’s weekend, Edmund is working, so it will be a great time for me to nest and get myself going again. I am not planning on going on any trips in January, instead I plan on getting my personal shit together, literally (cleaning my office) and figuratively (What’s next for Lanna?).

I will be away the first three weekends in February, it will be strange to be away and not feel guilty because I’m not doing my homework. Strange and fantastic. First I will be going to A Feast of Lights in Holyoke Mass, Edmund isn’t called to go, so I invited my pal Trish to come with me. If she can’t, I’ll advertise for a roomie. The next weekend I will be going to a workshop with Orion Foxwood. Love working with him. And lastly, over President’s Day weekend, Edmund and I will be going to Boskone, the NESFA’s Regional Science Fiction Convention, which is held in Boston and is one of our favorite annual events. We will be joined at Boskone by his parents, Chris and Henry, who drive up from Pennsylvania and put us to shame at the number of panels they attend and the circles they run around us.

After that, who knows?

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Are you dazed by the Holidays?

This Post is on Fire!

This Post is on Fire!

Stack of StatsI’m typing this on my Kindle Fire. The experience, so far, is super annoying. Sigh. However, it is good enough for me to consider leaving my huge laptop home when I travel anymore.

The picture to the left depicts the materials I used to finish my take-home Probability & Statistics final that I passed in a week ago. Although I didn’t get my test grade back yet, I did check for my final grade. And it was a B+! Very happy about that.

A quick post is all I can handle right now. Will need to come up with strategies for upcoming posting on the Fire. I couldn’t insert a picture, even if it was already added to the Media Library. Furthermore, I just gave up typing on the Fire – if you have over 50 words and make a mistake and then try to go back to fix it, it is almost impossible to insert the cursor where you want it (the text editing window for the body of the blog post does not allow for quick navigation.)

And, if you have more than 10 categories, forget scrolling down to select one for the post. [This will likely make sense only to those who use WordPress.]

All that said, I didn’t get the Kindle Fire because I wanted to do blog posts with it. I got it because I wanted its video and music and reading and web surfing capabilities. And its otherwise awesomeness. So, it will work in a pinch. Now I’m going to save this draft and open the post back up on the Fire and try publishing this baby. Cross your fingers for me!

Done

Done

Squiggy and Lenny are glad this school thing is overAs of this moment, I am done with everything. I’ve completed all the classwork I’ve needed to in order to earn my undergraduate degree. Did you hear me? I’ve now done everything I’ve needed to do to get my Sociology Bachelor’s with a Mathematics Minor.

And done feels good.

I’ll admit it, I cried for a bit. They were tears of relief, let me tell you. Working full-time and going to school part-time was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Hardest. Because I made many sacrifices I wouldn’t have had to make if I wasn’t going to school. And that is how I learned I could not do it all, somethings had to go. Which is okay. It was totally worth it.

And now I never have to take another college class again. Ever. I am not saying I won’t take another college class, but I don’t have to take any. I did think that maybe I’d get a graduate degree, or even a doctorate. And, the way I’m feeling now, that would be a no. I am crispy. Done.

What is on my plate? What’s next? Well, for the next few weeks I’m going to try to take it easy, enjoy a break. I have lots of projects ready for me to begin, but there will be plenty of time to do them in January and February. I’ll just keep blogging, hang out with the husband, pet the kitties, and start working on life after college.

Probability

Probability

Stats Final Detritus It’s stats weekend. I am currently working on my Stats final. And in spite of how I am feeling right this second, the probability I will survive this weekend is fairly high.

But. I am sick. Sick. Not terrible sick. Like I’m ambulatory and everything, but it is the kind of sickness that makes me inclined to want to stick close to the house. Or a bathroom, at the least. I’ll spare you the details, except to say I’ve temporarily adopted the BRAT diet. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

So tonight I am kinda working on my test. Kinda. And thinking that maybe I’ll need to visit the bathroom again soon (sorry, I said I was done talking about it, but apparently I lied. Whoops.) Also scheming for tomorrow. I planned on going to Panera, like I normally would. But in order to do so I might need to take drastic measures–

Look, I started talking about (poop) things I said I wasn’t going to talk about, and that’s not too sporting is it?

So. Stats final. Poop. Got nothing to top that, I tell ya.

Friday Fun

Friday Fun

A Dominion GamePreparing for my Stats final by playing Dominion with my husband, reading romance novels, and planning world domination.

How do you prepare for tests?

Tomorrow at five p.m. my professor will Release The Kracken! post the final exam on USM’s BlackBoard system. And I will download it. And I will spend the following 48 hours gnashing my teeth and scribbling numbers and symbols onto white paper and screaming and getting snacks and not watching television and trying to find music to listen to that will help me study and lying in a stupor and hugging a squirming cat and listlessly checking my Facebook feed and hyperventilating and scribbling some more numbers and symbols on white paper and erasing things and — well, you get the picture.

And by five p.m. on Monday I will be done with this whole mess, barring any annoying red-tape thingys I didn’t catch in time, and will have satisfied the requirements for my Math Minor and my undergraduate degree. After six long years I will be done. Still doesn’t seem real yet.

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How do you deal with transitions? Also – know anything about Stats? I might need a life-line. Or something.

Maine Girl

Maine Girl

Maine Girl - Memoir Class Portfolio DoneCheck it. Here is the Final Portfolio I handed in for my Memoir class. Original name, huh? I know, I know, most of the other women in the class could’ve used the same title. But you know, when it gets to be close to the time you need to leave for class, and all you need is the title, you invariably use the first one that comes to mind. I wrote memoir, it was mostly about me and living in Maine, hence Maine Girl.

After class a few classmates and I went to the Great Lost Bear. My especially lame blag post about that is here. I used my cell phone to post it, but I was having so much fun laughing and joking with my classmates, I forgot I was going to do a post, and ended up publishing it at the last minute. All 1.25 sentences of it. So my continuous blog/blag posting is maintained, yay.

I needed to drive home, so I ordered a 5 ounce Guinness. About half-way through that, I ordered another 5 ounce Guinness. So partay. It’s all good, because we laughed and talked for two hours. I’ll miss seeing these guys every week.

Maybe I’ll see some of them online. I am connected with a couple of my classmates on Facebook, and I gave everyone my card – so the ball is in their court. One thing that is great about things nowadays is that it is more likely that we can keep a thread of connection through these social networks. As long as we all keep a modicum of activity on our accounts.

And here it is. I am very close to being totally done. Only one more hurdle to jump before I attain my degree – my Probability and Statistics Final. This final will be a take home. It will be released online at 5 p.m. on Saturday night, and I will have until 5 p.m. Monday night to complete it. I can email my results or drive it onto campus. Two days is plenty of time, right? Keep this in mind: I worked for four days on my second exam, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and I still wasn’t able to answer all the questions. My grade this test was an 85. This was with an extra 5 points (for a scale). That means I got an 80 on a test that I worked on for four days. The final exam is worth 35 percent of my final grade, and could make or break me.

Well, that’s not exactly true. Right now, based on my past performance, as long as I hand in my test, I am assured I will pass this class with at least a D. If I get a 50 on my final, I’ll get a C, if I get over 65, I’ll at least get a B. In order to get an A, however, as my work stands right now, I’d need to get at least a 93 on my Stats final – a long shot, at best. This is because I did not hand in one of my homework assignments on time. That said, I snuck a copy of said homework into the homework pile on Monday. I am crossing my fingers that he’ll give me credit for it. I figured it was worth a shot, anyway.

So I may not get an A in my Stats class, but I am likely to get a B and am pretty sure to pass. So go me! And this is the crazy kind of stuff I obsess about. Which is pretty funny when you consider that the first time I went to college, I left with a 1.37 GPA – [2.0 is a C average, for those not in the know.] Just think of my poor husband and coworkers who all have to listen to me while I obsess.

I wish I had something more clever to say. But I don’t. I guess we can save clever for AFTER my final.

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Do you know anything about Statistics or Probability? Moment Generating Functions? The Big F and the little f? If yes, can I use you as my lifeline?

Great ideas and OMG I have to do HOMEWORK!

Great ideas and OMG I have to do HOMEWORK!

Had a great idea on the way home from work today. A non-fiction book topic that kind of slapped me up by the head and said “Hey, you should write about me, duh.” And I was like, duh, I should. So I came home from work, opened up my trusty Pac-Man Moleskine, and started sketching out the book. I have chapters, and subtitles, it’s fleshing out pretty well.

But.

Today is Tuesday, December 6th. Tomorrow is Wednesday, December 7th – which also corresponds with my last Memoir writing class. And while writing down ideas for my new book is awesome it is not the same as polishing the rest of my stories, catching up on my other writings and creating a portfolio. That’s right, as the headline says, I’ve got to do homework!. ARgh!

Almost there.

Overwhelmed with what I want to do, which may or may not be equal to what I need to do. I need to write, that’s for sure, and I am not finding inspiration on the Facebooks or the Twitter. Well, that’s not exactly true. I have plenty of inspiration, but not targeted toward Memoir writing. Instead Twitter and Facebook are inspiring me to watch fun videos, comment on current events, make stupid jokes, and cry at Tim Minchin songs. Stuff I can do again next week, after my Stats final (don’t even get me started on that!)

So. I am going to post this bloggy thing and chill out for awhile. Until my dear husband, Edmund, brings me the delicious dinner he’s cooking (if the smells from the kitchen are any indication of deliciousness;). And then I will write.

The End is Near

The End is Near

Me on the Official Graduation Day, May 2011The End is Near. School, I mean. Have you been reading this blog?! I talk about just about every day. Anyway. The end is near. In a week and a day, on Monday, December 12th, I will complete my Probability and Statistics final (in what could be the very last test I ever take) and thus fulfill my requirements for the Math Minor and finally earn my undergraduate degree.

And I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed and I wonder if I will be able to get everything done in time and I am pretty sure I can swing and A in my Memoir class, but not absolutely sure, and I know that an A in my Stats class is a longshot but as long as I pass the class I’ll be okay and maybe I’ll get a B in Stats, that would be nice, and I don’t know how to do my Stats homework and I can’t seem to concentrate on anything and I want to sleep sleep sleep and I can’t I keep distracting myself with books and games and I am not sure how I am going to make it — or to put it more succinctly: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I am so lucky. One benefit to being a working-full-time and going-to-school-part-time student is that there is no uncertainty when I finish my degree. I already have my job. [The fact that me going back to school was instrumental in my securing my job is helpful for me to remember that yes, the stress was worth it.] Furthermore I like (love) my job and feel that my prospects within the company are good and can only get better.

So why am I feeling this tension? I feel that there will be this big change in my life and I don’t know what it will be. I’ll still be living in Westbrook with Edmund and working in Kennebunk and I’ll still be driving the same car and I’ll still have two awesome cat creatures. I’ll just have more time. I’ll be free.

I’ve been holding back. I haven’t performed/acted in public since 2005, except for reading my poetry a few times [I took an improv class a couple of years ago, but other than that, nothing.] I used to be a lot more social. I liked to hang out. For a time, in the 1990s I went out every single night of the week. But with school and such I found many times I’d beg off. I’d even tell Edmund to go out without me – no reason why he shouldn’t enjoy himself.

Okay. I know what it is. When I decided to go back to school, I had a goal in mind. I knew I wanted to be a speaker – but I had no subject matter, no content. I didn’t know how to do research. So went back to school, studied Sociology and Mathematics, and got the skills I needed. And now I need to put my proverbial money where my mouth is – I’ve been percolating, and now I need to start making it happen. I still don’t know what IT is, but I’ve got a better idea of how to find out. I have a lot of crazy ideas, and now it’s time to implement them.

I’ve already started working on my crazy ideas. I’m resurrecting my balloon twisting business, I’m blogging every day (right here on my blag!), I’m starting an online magazine, and will start working with more podcasting (on The Lex and Lanna Show and at The BureauOfAwesome with Edmund), and I have Vlogging plans too. I will measure my success with one metric: does it amuse me? If it amuses me in any way, it is a success.

So here I go. In a week, I’ll be jumping off the precipice. But staying in the same place. I plan on enjoying the ride. How about you?

Second-to-last Stats Saturday

Second-to-last Stats Saturday

“What are you doing today, Lanna?”, you ask. Why yes, it’s another STATS Saturday! The second-to-last one in my undergraduate career. Soon there will be no more Stats Saturdays, but at this point, this thought does not make me sad. Instead I am terrified and excited that soon this will be all over and I can be a normal person again! Whatever that is.

“But Lanna,” you might say, “you are not now nor have you ever been a normal person.” And I will say SHUT UP YOU with your infernal asking me how I am doing and calling me not a normal person. I have had enough! Enough I say!

And then I will get a case of the vapors.

And then you would accuse me of reading too many romance novels when I should be doing something else, whether it be homework or sleeping, and I would have to concur that you are right. But I wouldn’t, because I am an ornery vile creature who cannot admit her own wrong doing. We would break up.

And then you’d say something funny or sweet and I would be charmed into forgiving you and your teremity. And you would forgive me my faults because you just can’t stay mad at me.

And then you ask me how I’m doing. And it all starts over again. In an endless cycle of ridiculousness.

So Close – The life of a Non-Traditionally Aged Student

So Close – The life of a Non-Traditionally Aged Student

My Brain Hurts

As of today, I will have exactly two weeks left in school. At the end of the two weeks, on December 12th, I will have my Statistics Final and that will complete my undergraduate career. I’m 43 years old and I’ve been going to school part time and working full time since 2006. I can’t freaking wait.

This semester has been good and bad. I was able to get classes that met starting at 7:00 pm, which is good for work because I didn’t need to leave early or come in late, like I’ve had to in previous semesters. The workload at the beginning of the semester was very good, but I am definitely feeling the pinch here at the end of the semester, in no small part because of the 17-page take-home stats test I need to hand in tonight. Ugh.

I do homework every weekend, mostly on Sundays. Some Saturdays I spend doing something fun, or lazy, while feeling guilty for not doing homework. I have a tension all the time, as I write this even. I cannot wait for that to be over. Frankly, just having to work my full time job will feel like a vacation. I know, that’s how I’ve felt every Holiday season and summer I didn’t take classes. I don’t even know how someone with kids and a full time job does the school thing.

Having a supportive partner has been crucial for my success. I am so lucky I have a husband who will do the laundry or make me dinner or even grab me a beverage – and often he is the one asking ME if I need anything. When I write reports, Edmund is always my first reader. He has great comments and criticism, and I don’t want to admit it, but he is often right. [Don’t tell him I said that.]

What I look forward to is the following:

  • Guilt-free Weekends
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Going up north on a whim
  • Organizing my office (weird, but I am looking forward to it)
  • Blogging and Vlogging with abandon
  • Catching up on my novel reading, Stephen King books especially
  • And reading. Did I mention reading? Something that wasn’t a 300-page treatise on poverty or inequality
  • World domination plans coming to fruition (well, of course!)

That said, like I mentioned earlier, if you have plans to go back to school to get your undergrad degree, I totally recommend it. Part of my angst and frustration now is because I am only taking classes to fulfill my Math Minor – otherwise I would’ve gotten my sheepskin last June. [I only had one class to go, and I figured that I would regret it years later if I didn’t go ahead and finish the minor.] And the Senioritis – I have a huge case of it.

What did I learn in college? I learned about Sociology and Mathematics, I learned how to do research, both qualitative and quantitative, and I also learned how to better express what I think. What will be my next task? My next challenge? I’ll be living in the moment, baby. Living in the moment. And saying smart stuff. With my brain.

Stats Sunday – like Stats Saturday but with more panic

Stats Sunday – like Stats Saturday but with more panic

Have eraser, will erase

Yesterday I bought myself this eraser. Now when I erase my mistakes, the lead on my mechanical pencil will not automatically advance. It’s the little things.

More stats today. Panic is setting in, if only because I am on question 3 and page 4, and there are a total of 9 questions and 17 pages. Go me! So I’m going to eat my spinach and bacon soufflé and buckle down. Geometric probability distributions FTW!

Stats Saturday

Stats Saturday

Stats Saturday

Hey look, it’s a lame post of me telling you I’m doing homework today. But that’s not really true, what I am doing is a take-home test for my Statistics class. {This post, however, is still lame}

Regarding my Stats test, I just finished the first of the 17 pages. It took me 2 pages of work to do that. I’d show you, but I can’t since it is a test and there is a chance (albeit slim) one of my classmates is reading my blog. And that would be cheating. And whatnot.

So I am camped at the Westbrook Panera where there are tasty treats to help me throughout my stats testing ordeal. This afternoon I will take a break to do Laundry (oh joy!) and I can only hope my brother has come through with his promise to come back down to the WB this weekend so I have an excuse to go to the movies.

Of course, I will probably be posting on the Twitter and the Facebook. Because all work and no play makes Lanna something something.

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How are you spending your weekend?

Saturday is for Stats And Trish!

What I should be doing:

1. My brain just exploded. 2. Shoulda paid attention in Stats class.
Stats Homework

What I’m thinking about:

Me and Trish at Port City Musix
Hanging with Trish

Tonight Trish will be here, we will hang out and it will be fine. Superfine, even.

Tomorrow, Trish, me and a few other women will be meeting on Peaks Island to talk about TheMainetrix.com, a community of feisty and feminist Maine Women. We are just starting out, and will be discussing what we want to do and what our direction will be.

My goal in starting TheMainetrix is to create a Maine-based and supportive place to talk about issues that are important to me and to women, and to have that place be an online community. I want it to be diverse and most of all, I want it to be fun. I want it to be organic and grow from the group interaction, so tomorrow is an important first step, as it will hallmark the beginning of the collaborative process.

Now Back to Stats.

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What do you think? 

Back to School

As I’ve alluded to before, I’ve been back in school since 2006. I’d wanted to go back to college for many years, and I finally figured out how I could swing it. I was fortunate enough to be working at the University of Southern Maine at the time, and was able to take two classes a semester for free.

Student debt aside, I am so glad I did it. Going back to school was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, a long-term challenge, it meant I needed to delay gratification until I finished. But it has been one of the best things I’ve done too. If I didn’t have support from my family and most of all from Edmund, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. And, at age 40-something, 25 years after I graduated from high school, I will have my Bachelor’s degree. Finally.

I chose a Sociology Major and a Mathematics Minor, and apropos to that, going back to school allowed me to secure my current job, as a programmer/analyst in a market research firm. Furthermore, going back to school has given me better skills and confidence in my ability to support myself whatever may happen.

I am a strong believer that life happens the way it’s supposed to, I might go mad otherwise, but I can’t help but wonder if I would’ve had an easier time of it if I was able to finish college the first time around. My husband would disagree, he thinks that 18 is too young for someone to go to college. I think it’s somewhere in the middle: 18 is too young for some and just right for others. [And there are real logistical/financial aid-ish reasons to attend college at 18, some colleges only admit and/or give assistance to traditionally-aged students, but that’s beside my point.]

If you are older than the average student and have a strong desire to go back to school for whatever reason, I totally recommend it.