Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obituaries as a Hobby?

Do you read the obituaries?

I find this to be a fascinating pastime. 

I have never read the obituaries other than if someone I knew passed away and I was looking for the wake/funeral information.

My mom, however, reads them in Wednesday’s and Sunday’s Chicago Tribune every week.

This is not something that she has just started to do as she’s reached the AARP age bracket.  She has always done this.

I asked her why, because to me it is quite morbid.  She says she is looking for people she might know.  Sometimes someone passes and their family wouldn’t know or think to contact her. 

Well, that is still very morbid, but okay.  I guess that makes sense.

What is weird is that she doesn’t just skim for names she recognizes, she reads those for people she doesn’t know.

She frequently points out names of people, the length of the entry, what their life was like, how many grandchildren they left behind, etc.

The other day she pointed out two small children that died.  One a 3 year old and the other an 8 year old.  She read the entire entry and was teary eyed.  Well, yes, this is very sad and I am sorry for their families.  I am not trying to be insensitive to them.  I just find it an odd pastime.

Especially for someone who has very little time to herself.  Though, maybe that helps her relax or stay focused on what she does every day caring for my uncle. 

Do you or anyone you know read the obituaries regularly?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Half Way Through

I am starting week 4 of my Paralegal classes. 

I am more than half way through this term.  It is a lot more work than I anticipated, but it is teaching me a lot of what I will need to know. 

The one class is teaching me about research.  While I am seasoned in research of a normal variety (that is all I did my last year while getting my BA), legal research is different. 
Not only do I have to learn the lingo, I have to learn the hierarchy of authority and what resources provide that authority, how to find it and how to read the findings.

I have a 10 page paper I have to write due week 6 and I have not begun.  I do not leave things to the end when it comes to school, but each week we learn another piece to the research, so I can’t really get started.  I am going to be a lunatic that final week.

The other class is jurisprudence and we are learning the various areas of law.  For the 10 page paper due week 6 in this class, we have to pick a specialty.  This is hard because I have a lot of areas of interest.  For the sake of the class, I will just pick one and go with that.  I am not stuck to that specialty after the class is over, so I will just pick one that I can work with easily in writing.

I think for the classes that begin in April, I will just take one class.  Taking two has been overwhelming.  I have been hurrying from one class’s assignment to the next and as soon as that is done, it is time for the next week. 

Thankfully, though, they have been informative and the instructor is experienced and very easy to work with.  He is accommodating and quick to respond to any questions.  Such a relief after the computer lab nightmare.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

It’s Fat Tuesday! 

If you participate, it is your last chance to indulge before lent begins.

Traditionally a religious observance, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, has become synonymous with excess.  Carnival is prominent in many cities worldwide, but in the United States, New Orleans is it. 

If you ever wondered why everything Mardi Gras related is purple, gold and green, it is because those are the colors of Mardi Gras.  There are several Mardi Gras parade krewes, but the krewe Rex selected the colors in 1872 and gave them their meaning in 1892.  

Purple represents justice, Gold represents power and Green represents faith.  

Having French origins, it makes sense that New Orleans would be the host to Mardi Gras.  If you ever get down there, be sure to stop by Mardi Gras World and check out the floats and costumes on hand.

New Orleans is my favorite city; I have been there many times.  Every year around this time, she calls to me.  I can smell, taste and feel the city around me, though I am all the way in chilly Chicago.

It is not the alcohol and freedom from inhibitions that draws me, though it does not hurt.  It is the architecture, the art, the food (who could resist the food?), the music, the people.

It has been over 2 years since my last visit and I do miss you, Vieux Carré!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Women Empowered

This season on The Biggest Loser, I am moved by the kindness and sense of community among all of the contestants.

Last season, I was disgusted with the way some of the contestants behaved and this season is like a breath of fresh air.

There are always some contestants that I feel connected too or cheer on a bit more than others.

It is usually someone in whom I see a strength or a great pain they need to overcome.

It is usually a woman that learns her own beauty and power.

This season, there are several that are standing out to me.

Tara (a 23-year old former model), of the green team, has been a powerful contestant from day 1.  She does not give up.  She fights for every pound every moment of the show.  She is definitely an empowered woman.  Her drive is inspiring.

This week they had a challenge, which was to climb a tall hill to retrieve a key that would unlock the door to the gym.  Only 2 teams (4 contestants) would find the key that unlocked the door giving only those 4 contestants access to the gym the entire week. 

There were dozens of keys and they had to keep going up and down the hill until the 2 keys were found.  It was blazing hot out and they kept running up and down.  Tara was up and down that hill more than most other contestants.  She was throwing up from the physical toll on her body, but she kept going.  That is determination.

I was thinking, wow she is a machine.

A few scenes later, Tara showed us a more vulnerable side.  It was good to see that everyone, including someone as strong as Tara, could experience a moment of weakness.  It is okay to be scared.

Another contestant that stands out is Mandi, mother of 2 boys, from the yellow team.  This is a woman that came to the show with little self-esteem and had no idea of her own self-worth.  She is a competitor, though.  Give her a challenge and she will fight till the very end.  She does not give up.  She shows her weaknesses to the world, but when it comes down to it, she is just as determined as Tara.

The third person that stands out to me is Kristin, from the purple team.  She is currently the heaviest woman in the house.  Last week, after working her butt off, she gained 2 pounds.  She was devastated.  This week, she lost 12 pounds putting her under 300 lbs for the first time in 8 years.  She is trying to lose weight to have a baby. 

What I love about Kristin is her attitude.  She never complains.  She just does whatever her trainer tells her to do.  A woman of her size would normally be hindered by the weight and unable to complete some of the tasks let alone be a competitor.  She always does well and makes it look easy.  In the challenges amongst the contestants, she fights hard to win.  She has come in second a few times beating out the men, even winning a tough challenge last week through sheer determination.

I love seeing this kind of strength in women.  The kind of strength that proves you can do anything you set your mind to.  The kind of strength that tells the world you are someone to be reckoned with.  The kind of strength that says you can overcome any obstacle.

I’d love to see these three in the finals.  I’ll be rooting for you, ladies.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What A Fatty!

We have all seen this photo, correct?

photo credit: Chris Gordon, WireImage

The photo that set the world on fire, right?

The image shows Jessica Simpson with a few extra pounds from when we last saw her. 
The media has blown this story out of proportion.  She gained a few pounds.  So what?
I will disclose right now that I do not like Jessica Simpson.  I find her more irritating than I can even tell you.

Regardless of personal feelings toward her, I found this story to be offensive and a sad example of the pressure women are under to be perfect.

If a woman is not a size 0, she is fat.  I must be obese because I am a size 10 at 5’10.  Holy crap, send me to The Biggest Loser right now!

I don’t see a fat woman in this photo.  I see a woman who is healthy.  She is not a stick figure, she has curves. 

When are we going to stop beating each other up?  When are we going to say “that is enough?”

Until women stop buying the tabloids that vilify women for being womanly, our children are going to be the ones to suffer.  Little girls and young women see these stories and grow up thinking they have to be skinny or, worse yet, perfect to be accepted.

As a former anorexic, it pains me to see stories like this.  In the recent past, it was Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tyra Banks who were under fire for not being stick figures.

We can’t win.  If we are skinny and small chested with no butt, we are teased for looking like a boy.  If we are curvy and womanly, we are told we are fat.

NEWSFLASH!  There is no such thing as perfection.  It is a mind game and a sick form of torture.

Let it go.  As long as you are healthy, embrace your body. 

Where the media should have targeted Jessica Simpson in this photo is her wardrobe.

What IS that?  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

When You Have A Dream, You Take Risks

I have refrained from commenting on this topic until now, but after watching NBC’s Ann Curry’s interview, I had to say something.

By now, you have, no doubt, heard the story of Nadya Suleman, Octomom, as she has been dubbed.  The mother of newborn octuplets and 6 older children. 

I have no problem with women who choose to be single mothers.  I have no problem with women who choose to have several children, although I would prefer they adopt children who need a home, but that is their choice.  I have no problem with women who seek infertility treatment.  I have no problem with women whose IVF results in multiples.

Combine all of those things, being a single mom, having several children by choice through IVF and being unemployed all the while is where I think everyone is having a problem with this.

During her interview, she said she went on disability for a back issue and had been living off that while having 6 children in 5 years intentionally via costly IVF.

First of all, how can you have children and receive disability for a back injury?  I know a lot of women who have severe strain on their backs during pregnancy.  I’m thinking that would nullify your disability checks.  (Not to mention the back strain that must come from multiples.)

Next issue I have is she says she is responsible.  Ann Curry flat out asked her how she could think she is responsible.  Her answer was that she is responsible because she is there for her children.

Love is not enough, honey.  When you are single and unemployed with no source of income and you intentionally and continuously bring children into the world, you are not being responsible.  No matter how you cut it, that is not being responsible.

She said she always dreamed of a big family, all she wanted was to have children.

I can understand that.  I’ve always wanted children too.  Honestly, if I could find a man that would allow me to stay home and be a full-time mommy, that would be the life I would choose.  I have not found the man for me and am still single.  I am also unemployed.

However, logic tells me that as a single and unemployed woman, having children would be very irresponsible.  I have no means of supporting them.
I also live with my parents, as Nadya Suleman does.  Rather, she did.  It appears mom and dad ran for the hills when they found out there would be 14 children under the age of 8 in their home. 

I could just imagine my parents’ response if I came home one day and said, “hey guys, I know I have been living with you for a while and have been struggling to find a job, but I figured out what I want to do with my life. I want to be a mother.  I am going to go have IVF and have as many babies as I can have, but I am going to live with you all the while and no, I don’t know how I will provide for them financially, but it’s just a risk I have to take for my dream.”

Do you have any idea how fast and frequently they would bitch-slap me until I came to my senses?

Nadya Suleman, the Octomom (makes me envision her dressed in a leotard emblazoned with a big O on the front wearing a cape posing with her hands on her hips), stated she is going to finish her Masters in Psychology in a year and a half, and THEN she will be able to provide for her family.

A)  HOW does she think she is going to have TIME to finish her Masters with 14 kids, 8 as newborns?  All you mom’s out there, tell me, how will she manage this while caring for her 14 kids?
C)  WHAT does she plan on using to support them in the meantime?  A year and a half is a long time when it comes to diapers, formula, food, clothes, shelter, doctor bills, etc.

She said she is planning on moving to a bigger home.  She has set up a website for donations.  She says she has never been on welfare, though she has lived on disability and food stamps.  She claims she was not hoping for the financial assistance of shows like Jon & Kate Plus 8 or the Duggers.

I find it all very hard to believe.

I think she is not mentally stable.  She is obviously not financially stable.

She ALREADY HAD 6 beautiful kids.  One with Autism, one with ADHD and one with a learning disability.  With that information and her financial situation, she thought it was responsible and not at all selfish to have 6 more embryos implanted.

I must be an irrational lunatic because this sounds very much like the actions of an irresponsible, selfish person.

God help these children.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What a Clutz!

Yesterday was one of those days where I should have just sat perfectly still all day.

As soon as I rolled over to wake up, I was greeted with a throbbing headache.  I couldn’t shake it either.

I would normally coddle myself when I get a headache like that because I get migraines and when I get a little headache, it often builds into a migraine.

However, I had a lot to do.  I had to watch one of my classes online and finish the homework, which wasn’t due until today, but I wanted to be done with it yesterday.  I hate cutting things too close.

I also, wanted to get started on the week 2 work, so I printed out the materials for both paralegal classes and watched half of the online class for week 2 for the first course.

Around 4, I was emptying the dishwasher and decided to make coffee.  Decaf.  I can’t drink caffeine after 3 or it keeps me up.  Another change in my makeup the older I get.  When I was in my teens and 20’s, it didn’t matter how much caffeine I had.

We keep the coffee scoop in the coffee.  I was shaking the container trying to get to the handle of the scoop when I lost my grip and coffee grounds spilled all over the stove. 

After that mess was cleaned up, I finished unloading the dishwasher and kept dropping things.

I am amazed I didn’t slice a finger off making dinner. 

After dinner, I was loading the dishwasher, and again, was dropping everything.

This happens to me a couple of times a month.  I should pay attention to whether it coincides with my headaches or not.

Despite my clumsiness, I got a lot done.

I am hoping I have more time for homework this week so I can do it in a more relaxed state.  This last week was crazy.

I had to watch the videos and do the homework for both paralegal classes, go to the computer lab (which I posted about the other day), print the invitations for Grandma’s 90th birthday party, gather and type up the addresses for the 43 invitations we are mailing, print the labels, stuff the envelopes, last Saturday was my nephew’s birthday party….  It was a long and crazy busy week.

This week, the only things on my list other than school are cleaning, grocery shopping and celebrating my mom and step-dad’s 19th wedding anniversary.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I've Had It!

So, I went to the computer lab again yesterday.  I had emailed the “instructor” last week about the computer classes, the people at the lab who had no idea what class I was talking about, the loud and rude “tutor” and the fact that nothing is clear as to what I am supposed to “turn in” for grading.

I got a response telling me what assignments to do. 

I had also asked if the classes could be done at home if I bought the books, but I didn’t get a response about that.

I decided to give the class one more shot at trying to figure out what they wanted me to do.

I got a ride, because my car is still dead and no one has any idea what is wrong with it, and sat there for about 20 – 30 minutes before I gave up.

I found the first assignment and started at it immediately.  I figured since I know the basics, I could breeze through the first bunch of assignments.

I opened the file it said to open.  The first part was to save it as a different name they provided.  After that, I should do various things. 

The problem, which is the problem I encountered last time with several files in the “practice” part when I still didn’t know what was to be turned in, is that the files are all marked as “read only” and cannot be saved as anything.

I tried different files and saving them as something in different ways, but the same message appeared.

I have used excel for years and have saved many a file as something else.  I know how to do this basic function.  But if a file is marked as read only by the administrator, there is nothing I can do to complete the assignment.

I fired off an email to the instructor and am waiting to hear back on what to do to drop these classes.  I have wasted 2 solid weeks and I am not wasting any more of my time on this crap.  They clearly have no interest in ensuring their students succeed when they can’t be bothered to prepare files properly or have staff that knows about this program.

It’s ridiculous.

Fortunately, the paralegal classes are going much better.  The instructor knows what he is doing and communicates with me regularly and quickly.  I turned in my first assignment and got feedback within a half hour.  He said I did a great job and provided the links for the next class.  I still have to finish the work for the second course, but it’s not due until Thursday, so I’m good.  So far, it is pretty straightforward, just time consuming. 

At least that’s something.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

When Ties That Bind Are Broken

Do you have anyone that makes you uncomfortable around them?  Someone to whom you have no idea what to say?

I do: my father and my step-mother.

I haven’t made it a secret, but I also do not know if I’ve ever said on this blog that I do not have much of a relationship with my father. 

My parents divorced when I was 4.  He was a presence in my life, but not actively.  I saw him on the appointed weekends when I was young.  Usually we would just go to his apartment and watch movies, go to the pool or he’d have friends over.  If we saw him during the week, it was if he was in the area and we’d go to dinner.

During the summer, for a few years, we went on road trips.  I hated it.

My father was never one to be verbal.  He’s ex-marine and a retired cop.  That should be enough of an explanation about his communication abilities. 

He has a crazy, quirky and dark sense of humor.  I get that from him.  He is also a good writer and can communicate exceptionally well in writing, I also get that from him, though he doesn’t communicate in writing often.  He is quiet in person, except for making jokes, making fun of people and being outright silly.  He was never afraid to make an ass of himself to get a laugh.

I never knew what to say to him, just like he never knew what to say to me.  I take that back.  I knew what to say to him until I was about 12.  Prior to that, I just said whatever without thought.  I learned with time that certain things I said brought remarks and reactions that hurt me deeply, so after a while, I just learned to be silent in general.  Perhaps he had the same experience and that is why he is quiet so often.
I chose not to see him when I was about 15.  I had had enough.  The very fragile thread of a relationship we had was snipped by me.  He thinks that my feelings and choices are my mother’s doing.  That she spoke so poorly of him, I formed my opinion around that.

Completely untrue.  In fact, the opposite is true.  My mom never said a bad word about him, though she really had every right to.  My mother scolded me for talking badly about him until she realized it was no use.  His behavior caused me to form such opinions.  Though he thinks me incapable of forming my own opinions, I am perfectly capable and have always had a mind of my own.

After that thread was snipped, I did not communicate with him really until I graduated High School. 

Prior to this, my dad had married my step-mother.  They married the same year my mom and step-dad married, but she was relatively new to us at the time of their marriage.  He had been through a large segment of the female population over the age of 21 in the Chicagoland area (during and after his marriage to my mother), so I had expected other women to be my step-mother and there were some I would have welcomed.  This one was a surprise.

I didn’t know my step-mother well, but when I had the opportunity to know her at 19, she showed me her true colors.  I will not get into that story now, maybe another day, but the setting is picturesque Ireland in March with 2 challenging characters (ie my dad and step-mother), my sister and I.

I have more of a relationship with him at this time, but it exists mainly through email with the exception of my nephew’s birthday in February and my niece’s birthday in May.  We only really talk about television shows.  Beyond that, there is nothing to say.

I put him out of my mind the rest of the year.  Even more than him, I forget about her. 

My dad was at my nephew’s party today.  I think we said about two sentences to each other.  I don’t know what to say to him.  I can see the discomfort in him too.  My step-mother came later (they do everything separately which, I think, is why they are still married).  I was polite and all, but again, after a few sentences, I have no idea what to talk to her about. 

There was a time that I was angry with them both for separate reasons.  I’m not angry, I learned a long time ago that holding onto anger doesn’t do anything but hurt me.  I admit I am not good at forgiveness and even worse at forgetting.  While the anger is not there, the pain and sadness is.  The damage done by my father is irreversible at this point and I don’t know how to forgive him for that.  I try to think that he did the best he could at that time, but it’s hard to forgive. 

My step-mother, on the other hand, is just irritating and phony.  She acts nice, but she rubs everyone the wrong way. 

The reasons for the discomfort and for not knowing what to say to them is different.

For him, it’s because he has hurt me in more ways than anyone could ever understand.  It’s hard to face someone that has caused so much pain.  In a lot of ways, when I am around him, I feel like that little girl that never could get her daddy’s approval.  The little girl that learned to build walls and put on a front of strength, attitude and act as if she is made of bullet-proof glass.  (It is very difficult for me to allow myself to be vulnerable, which is part of why I like blogging with a bit of anonymity.)

For her, it’s a touch of the kind of nervousness one feels around a psycho during a full moon.  Afraid to say or do the wrong thing because they might snap and break your neck.  Another is sheer indifference. 

For both, one reason is expectation.  For decades I have talked about how little use I have for either of them, how I have no desire to have any relationship with them.  I’ve talked a good game, mostly what I felt at the time.  If I do speak to them, I get comments from family like, “do you have a fever?” 

It makes these things very uncomfortable.

It also makes me sad, but no one would know.  I have an excellent poker face.

I Must Be Getting Old

I am getting old.

I’m turning into my mother!

I remember when I was in High School, even college, and my mom would ask about music I was listening too.  She had no idea about what music was hot at that time.

I have turned into her.  I am pretty clueless.

I have no idea who a large portion of the people at the Grammy’s are.  None. 

Today, I was watching Ellen.  I saw from the Info button who was on.  One guest was Lady Antebellum.

Never heard of her, I thought.  I assumed it was a female rapper.  Sounded like the name of a female rapper to me.

Now, if I sat and thought about it for more than 30 seconds, I probably could have deduced that it was country music.  The word antebellum is in the name after all, but I doubt I would have figured out it was a group.

I do know who some of the “new” artists are, but my tastes have changed.  I know people like Adele, Duffy, Katy Perry and the like are.  If it’s any harder, louder or bizarre, I am clueless.  I even know a bit of the country music people even though the only country music I own is the Dixie Chicks and Big & Rich.  I know who Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are…but some of the other ones are a mystery. 

Is it me, or are the names getting weirder too?

There was a time when I knew the name of every song by every artist, whether it was the genre of music I liked. 

Oh well.  I should have known the day would come.  I am old.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Homework Assignent

I started my Paralegal courses today. 

The first is a research class.  I had to watch an online video of a class.  The usual intro stuff.

My first assignment is two-fold.

I have to contact several local law libraries and find out if they have 10 law books that I will need for research purposes for the final project. 

I then have to go to one library, scope it out, get a map and all so I know where various necessities are located and use a law dictionary to get definitions of several words.

My only problem is that all the law libraries are downtown and without a car, it will be a challenge to get there.

I’ll figure it out.

Tomorrow I am going to try the computer classes at the lab one more time before I decide if I am dropping them.

I also have to start the second paralegal class in the next few days.

I admit, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all I have to do in the next week.  My nephew’s birthday party is Saturday, so the entire day is shot as far as getting any schoolwork done.

I also have to print and mail all the invitations for my grandma’s party.

Not enough time in the day!  

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

I remember when my nephew was born.

My mom and I met my sister and brother-in-law at the hospital in the middle of the night to get my niece.  She was 2 ¾ and very confused about having been woken up, put in the car and then taken out and put in Grandma’s car without mommy and daddy.  

I sat in the back with her to comfort her because she was crying very tired tears.

The next morning we found out my nephew had arrived.  She was very excited to meet her little brother, the baby she had been talking to in mommy’s tummy for so long.

When she met him, it was the sweetest thing.  She was very much in love with that tiny baby.

However, he wasn’t all that tiny.  He was 10 lbs at birth.  He looked like a little old man.  His nickname became “Buddy” very early on, just like my niece became my “Peanut.”

My nephew was a good baby, just like my niece was.  Neither of them cried much.  He only cried when he was hungry.  When he was hungry, he wanted to be fed immediately. 

He is still a big eater.  It is amusing to see how much he eats, especially compared to his sister.

It’s hard to believe he is 4 years old today.   

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Frustrated With School

I went to the computer lab today to start my Microsoft Office Specialist Certificate classes.

I hadn’t gone yet because my car is dead.  I was going to go for the first time last Monday, but that’s when the car died and I was waiting for it to be fixed because it seemed like it would be fixed rather quickly.  As you know, that hasn’t happened.

I got a ride and went to the room listed on my registration.  I signed in and told them what classes I was there for because when I registered, it said they would provide me with the materials.

They had no idea what I was trying to tell them.  I said I was there for the MOS Certificate classes for Excel and PowerPoint.  The dimwit behind the counter tried to give me info for the Microsoft Office class.  I said Excel and PowerPoint for the MOS Certificate, they are independent study classes.

They didn’t get it.  It took two people to figure it out.  They gave me a workbook and I went to a computer.  I clicked on the Independent Study window and looked over the info.  There is no information telling me exactly what I am supposed to do.  I know I am to read the book and practice the things it tells me to, but it tells me to do certain things to established documents, save as, print preview and print. 

I know how to do all of that, so I am not sure if I am doing this just for practice or if I am supposed to turn it in.  If I am just doing it to practice, I don’t need to print, that’s wasteful and I already know how to do that.  There are things I am supposed to email to the instructor, but it isn’t clear what those things are.

When I registered, I was told there would be an instructor nearby if I needed help.  There isn’t.  There is a very LOUD, unpleasant “tutor” who also doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about.  Several people asked him for help and not only did he shout so that everyone in the lab was disrupted, he didn’t answer their questions and was condescending. 

After almost 2 hours, I left.  I felt like I just wasted all that time because I was reading and trying to figure out what I am actually supposed to be doing. 

I called for someone to pick me up and while I waited, I walked over to the building and room listed next to my Paralegal courses.

Those classes start Thursday and I hadn’t heard anything about what to do or where to go to start the classes.  They are online, but I don’t know what website or whatnot. 

Since the MOS classes hadn’t given me any information, I thought I’d go ask about these before they start.

I told them why I was there and they gave me an email address for the instructor, they couldn’t tell me anything else.  I took that and decided to email that person when I got home to ask about it.  When I signed into my email, the instructor listed on my registration had emailed me indicating what to do and where to do it.  Thank God someone is on top of things.  However, the name of the instructor is different than the one they gave me at the office today, which tells me they know even less than they suggested. 

Does anyone at this school have any idea what they are talking about?

I am going to contact one of the instructors (which is funny since none of them actually instruct) for the MOS classes and ask if I buy the book if I can do the stuff at home.  Seriously, if I have to teach myself everything with no help from a live person, I’d rather do it at home in my pajamas and without the disruption of the tutor.  If not, I am going to see about dropping these classes and taking them online at another school.  The school I got my BA from offers these classes online, but they don’t start until March, which is why I opted for the classes I’m enrolled in, hoping to get a head start.

This really shouldn’t be so complicated.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Party Planning

It has been an entire week without my car. 

We replaced the battery, but that didn’t fix it.  We are waiting for the mechanic we know to get a chance to look at it.  I have no idea when I will get it back. 

It is very difficult to be without a car, especially for someone who has always had one.  I don’t like relying on someone else.  Not much I can do about it though.

In the meantime, we have finally made progress on my grandma’s party.

I think I have mentioned before that we are throwing Grandma a 90th birthday party.  We aren’t telling her about it until a week before because she would obsess and work herself into a state of nausea.

We set the date over the weekend at a restaurant nearby.  I designed the invitations and am just working on the font to perfect it.  We got the cardstock on which to print them.  My sister will probably make photo collages like she did for my mom’s party, but I am working on some other photo projects. 

I am going to do two photo projects.  I am searching the house for this big Rubbermaid box of photos that belong to my grandma.  I found the box 10 years ago when I made her a photo gift for her 80th, but it has been moved since and I don’t know where it is now.  I’m going to put the photos in an album for her and the guests to look at.

I also have searched online for some photos of the ballrooms she used to go dance at every weekend when she was a girl, the streetcars she took (yes, Chicago had streetcars once) and some other fun photos of Chicago in her heyday.  I’m going to print them, probably frame them and scatter them around the room.

In addition to those projects, I am also putting together a timeline.  US and Chicago history from 1919 to now.  It’s one thing to say she is 90 and realize how old she is, but entirely different to look at what has occurred in her lifetime.  It’s amazing how much has changed.  I might put some of that up as I get it done so you can see too.  

My mom asked my sister to put together some music too.  Music from the 30’s and 40’s, mostly Jazz.  It should be fun, I love that music.

Right now, the main focus is getting the invitations out.  I am including a map and some nearby hotels for people coming from out of town, so I have to finish that up, then print them and the labels so we can send them out in the next week. 

It’s getting hard to not say anything to her, but I am excited and can’t wait to see who shows for this.  The guest list is about 100 people, but the room only holds 80, so let’s hope not everyone comes! 

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