Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The past week has gone by in a blur. I've been putting a lot into studying for this math placement test, so when I'm not working, I'm studying quadratic equations. Some day, the moment is going to arise when I'm actually going to need to know how to graph one, and I am going to kick that moment's ass. If my life were a movie, this would be the part with the montage - a montage of me studying, and then that one dolly shot where it goes around me, and 3D numbers and equations float in the air around my head while a really cool song plays.

For Wally Wednesday, enjoy this photo of Wally and the kids enjoying Charles' night away from home last week. Notice Wally is sleepy and relaxed while Kraut is alert and pointed at the hallway. I kept waiting for a clown with a knife to appear.

For a bonus picture, take a guess at what color my bank teller was the other day.

My last piece of interesting information is that my attempt to get Charles to switch from tightie-whiteys to boxer briefs failed. He tried them today and determined they lacked sufficient support. (As you might imagine, Charles does not read my blog).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Wally Wednesday! As many of you know, Wally recently had to have some minor surgery. We found a weird looking mole on his neck and his vet wanted to remove it to make sure there wasn't anything wrong with. To be honest, the thing that worried me the most was that they had to put Wally under general anesthesia and he's 9 years old. I was extremely happy when he woke up and I was able to go pick him up and bring him home. He was quite groggy for the rest of the day, and his little sister was worried about him. We had to wait nearly a week before we finally heard back from the biopsy they had done of the mole - it was benign! Yay! I was extremely concerned from having not one, but two friends with yellow labs the same age as Wally who died of cancer in the same year awhile ago. Thankfully, Wally is well and will be with us for a long time to come (knock wood). Here's a photo of him from almost two weeks ago after I brought him home from the vet after his surgery:

In another day or so, his wound should be completely healed and he'll be cleared for a much needed trip to the lake.

So, I'm returning to college after a nearly 20 year break to finish my Bachelor's Degree in English. It's a long story of how I came to have an Associate's Degree that somehow doesn't fill the math requirement in the state of Texas. Because of this, I need to take a placement exam, very similar to the SAT, so they can place me in the proper math class. My goal is to waste as little time and money as I can toward fulfilling my college math requirement. If I were to score low on the test, which is what would happen if I didn't study for it, I could end up being stuck in as many as three refresher math courses that wouldn't even count toward my degree before being let into a college level math class that will. That would take about a year and a half - a year and a half of my time and about $6k in wasted tuition. No thank you. This is why I've been studying math for the past weeks. I'm going through the study guide for the exam - the THEA (Texas Higher Education Assessment) - and am amazed both by what I've forgotten and what I've retained. I have numbers and equations floating around in my head, and I can't wait until the time comes when I think I can score high enough on the exam to take it. Just yesterday, I went completely through a chapter on graphing algebraic equations that would have taken maybe three weeks to go through in high school. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking of x and y axes. Not fun. My only hope is that math majors everywhere have to suffer equally through the writing and literature classes I can skate through.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I've been working out at a new gym here in Texas, and I have to say, I think people are way more modest here than they are in Southern California. I guess I shouldn't really be surprised. When I lived in L.A. and went to the gym, it was fairly common to see completely naked women happily walking through the gym, showing off their fake boobs that stuck straight out (even if they were leaning over). Having been an athlete most of my life, I'm fairly comfortable in a locker room, but even I found myself often thinking, " least put a towel around your waist." At the Spectrum Club in the Southbay, there's a big screen TV in the women's locker room, and I would often come in to find women, literally nude, sitting on the couch, eating a salad and watching Opera. My friend, Dani, told me she once saw a woman in the sink area, completely nude, with one foot up on the sink as she blew dry her pubic hair. "I'm never going into a gym again," Dani said.

Then I came to Texas. I don't even like my body, but I could care less about stripping out of sweaty gym shorts, wrapping myself in a towel, and heading off to the shower. I also don't feel the need to get dressed in the shower stall. I know a lot of women have body issues, and when I came to this gym, I liked it when I saw that they have closet cubbies where women can change in and out of their clothes if they're too modest to change in the open locker room. I don't need to use them, but I liked the idea that they were there for other women who wanted to. Since then, I've noticed - EVERYONE uses the closet cubbies. I have yet to see a single other person strip down in the open locker room. Honestly, I keep expecting an employee to walk in and say to me, in a low voice, "You know...we don't strip naked in our locker rooms, please use the cubby." I can see people complaining. "Um...someone is NAKED in the locker room!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm sure you've heard how much bigger insects are in the south. To be honest, I haven't really experienced it - I think that refers to the more humid parts. However, I have had a problem with some sort of bug since I've moved to Texas, although I have yet to figure out which bug it is. About every other week, I kid you not, I wake up with a huge bite IN MY ARMPIT. I know we don't have fleas - I'd have bites all over (I'm that sort of person) and Wally is highly allergic to them and he'd be itching like crazy. I know it's not mosquitoes - I only ever see them when we take the dogs to the lake and I haven't been there for over a week. Also, it always happens when I sleep. Huge freaking bites that are incredibly sore and hard. Gross! I know! And the lump of the bug bite will last for over a week. If I knew what to spray for, I'd be spraying the shit out of my house. Does anyone have any ideas or recommendations?

Since I have Season 2 of Californication in my Netflix queue and should be getting it in the next month or so, I decided to watch Season 1 via Netflix streaming so Charles could get caught up. We've also been slowly burning through all of the X-Files DVD's. We started with Season 1, and are nearly done with Season 2. I have to admit, those early X-Files episodes are pretty slow, and watching Californication back to back with them, it becomes very apparent how much David Duchovny has improved as an actor since the early 90s. Of course, Hank Moody is a much more interesting character than Fox Mulder. If you haven't had a chance to watch this half hour show from Showtime about an aging writer with writer's block and his sexual escapades, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

When I told people I was moving to Dallas, people familiar with the area warned me about the heat. I shrugged it off. I lived for 15 years in Los Angeles, most of that time in the Valley area where temperatures in the summer often breach 100 degrees. Still, I must admit, summer here sucks. It's been over 100 degrees pretty much every day for over a month, heat that has been promised to continue well into August. It's not just the heat,'s the humidity. While it's not nearly as humid as I've experienced elsewhere, such as New Orleans or even Hawaii, the humidity in cojunction with the relentless heat is nearly unbearable.

Charles and I took some time off and went to Portland, Oregon for the 4th of July weekend, where the weather, though warm, was a nice, cool 85 degrees. It was like heaven compared to the summer here in Dallas. We had a nice visit with a lot of my old friends, and Charles got to meet pretty much everyone in my very small family. We ran ragged every day going from place to place and person to person. We did manage to fit in a visit to the Saturday Market (one of my favorite places in Portland), a quick trip to the Portland Chinese Garden, and a day trip out to visit my dad and his wife outside of Oregon City.

On the 4th of July, my friend, Jason's band played a backyard party and some of my friends from high school were there. It was great to see everyone and the band, Rubella Graves, put on a great show. I've known Jason since I was 12, and I'm very proud of his current project. Rubella Graves is a 7-piece band full of banjos and mandolins, and they play what I would call Alternative Folk. Sometimes folky, sometimes country, sometimes rockabilly-Americana and generally irreverent, the band has produced a great CD and puts on an entertaining show. If you're interested, you can hear their music and buy their CD at CD

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Wally Wednesday everyone! Here he is, having fun at the lake yesterday afternoon!

I received a letter the other day welcoming me to the English department at University of Texas Arlington, so I e-mailed the department adviser. She said I could meet with her BEFORE taking the Texas assessment (THEA) exam. The THEA is basically the SAT all over again, which I have no choice but to study for and hope to place high enough to only take one math class. I had basically given up on returning to school because the thought of having to spend three months trying to study before starting school in the fall was a little overwhelming.

I spent at least an hour with my adviser, a very cool lady who moved to Dallas from NYC in the 70s and still asks herself why on a daily basis. The prognosis for finishing my degree isn't as bad as it seems. For starters, I can avoid some of the out of state tuition cost by going to a local community college for the next year until I've fulfilled my residency requirement and pick up some of the other lower divisional credits I still need to complete my degree. I then found out that the community college will waive the placement test with my Associate's Degree (the only thing it has EVER been useful for). I'll still have to take the THEA to go to UTA, but I won't be enrolled there until summer 2010, and will have the year to study. I'm hoping to get over to the Community College and complete my registration later today or tomorrow, depending on my schedule. Did I mention I am required to take a class on Texas politics and government to obtain my degree here?

On a side note, I downloaded BlogWriter for my iPhone yesterday to keep up on my blog reading. It sucks. I have yet to be able to read a blog. Is this working for anyone else?