How can we categorize what we do not even know exists?!

I got through all of my exams this week successfully, with the exception of Sociology that is. Not to say that I was not successful, I just have not actually gotten through it yet. I am going to take it online Sunday. I have read all 5 chapters and plan to reread them tomorrow, I am not worried.

So, with regards to the grades, I was more successful in some instances than others. I missed two questions on my Economics quiz, not bad, but I was perturbed because one of the questions I got incorrect because I did not read through all the answers. It was one of those “all of the above” answers. Meh. My attention to detail is poor, this is a skill I am working on.

I landed a B on my Government exam (doing the Snoopy victory shake with my hands). It was difficult. Very thankful for the B, I would have been disappointed if I got anything lower.

Speaking of disappointment, my Astronomy exam grade was a huge one! I got a stinking C! I was so mad at myself. I studied my ass off first of all and I actually paid attention, understood, and enjoyed the topics in chapter one. It’s not like I was struggling with any of the concepts. A few of the issues I had were again with attention to small details, “all of the above” type stuff, but a few were marked wrong legitimately. So here is an example of one I got wrong.. It was a question referencing the relationship between the stars and the constellations, the answer was “all stars are in constellations”. I answered the question more in the idea that only stars that are visible from earth either by the naked eye or with aid from a telescope etc. I questioned the professor about this, not so much because I wanted anything reversed on my test but because I honestly don’t get it. How can you say that a star that we don’t even know exists is within one of constellations. I just feel like the universe is too big, it’s limitless, how can you that every star fits neatly in to a constellation? I don’t know. I get that I was wrong but the idea is just hard for me to wrap my brain around.

Anyway, that’s that. Todd was off today so we spent the majority of the day cleaning the house and preparing for company tomorrow. I am also having a Yard Sale tomorrow, just one more way to contribute to my college fund.. Sell all my stuff. I am selling my guitar, my old stereo system, the bike I had before I got my new one.. All kinds of stuff. It’s going to be a long day. I plan to sit on the front porch, have my coffee and read my sociology book again. I am hoping no one comes early, I’ve heard some people do that. I mean, it starts at 8, who even gets up earlier than 8 on a Saturday? I am sure I will have some kind of story to share after this experience.

One more thing, random and unrelated.. People get ridiculous with their venting on FB. Nobody cares! Get a blog so that way only people who actually do care are subjected to your pettiness. I would never subject anyone other than the few that read this to my personal silliness.

A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skillful Sailor

I found out two days ago I am not receiving any financial aid this semester. Of course this is disappointing news and it forces me to change some of my plans but it will be OK. My classes and books are already paid for so it’s just a matter of making enough money to cover the few bills I have. I am stressed but Todd keeps telling me we are OK and that nothing worth having comes easy. This is worth having. I knew there would be ups and downs, this is just one little storm I need to weather.

Aside from that bit of bad news things are wonderful. Yesterday was the Autumn equinox marking the first day of fall. 🙂 The weather has not changed much yet but the weather man keeps talking about cold fronts, I am sure one of them will bring a chill soon enough.

This past week I spent with my family. It was so fun. Dad and I played Scrabble and I won 300 to 243. Then Todd, Dad, and I played Scrabble and I won 240 to 217 and 177 respectively. Todd did stomp me in Up Words though. My Mom returns from Washington tomorrow, I’m excited to see her. Her birthday is just around the corner, I got her a hand painted casserole dish. This coming Saturday Todd and I are having friends over to grill and play games. My girlfriend was saying something about a game called Cards Against Humanity. I am excited to try it.

I spent most of the weekend studying. I have an Astronomy test tomorrow along with an Economics quiz. Wednesday I have a test in Sociology and Government.  I am ready for the Astronomy test and Econ quiz. I did flash cards all weekend.

I am really enjoying my classes. Astronomy in particular right now has my attention. My professor was explaining how vast the universe is last class and it was so overwhelming to me I felt like I was going to throw up. Apparently it showed because he asked me if I was OK. I told him just that, “This is so overwhelming I feel like I am going to throw up.” He laughed and said he wished all his students thought so. I left that class feeling more insignificant than I ever have in my life. Everything feels trivial and unimportant when you think about how small we are in comparison to the universe. There is so much other stuff out there and it’s so far away. Polaris, the North star, is 450 light years away which means that if Polaris died 200 years ago we wouldn’t know for another 250 years! We could be looking up into the sky at night at something that no longer exists! How does that not blow your mind?! And the fact that some people think that there is no other life in the entire universe.. Talk about egocentric. This class is changing the way I look at the world, at life really. I have never enjoyed science this much.


On the sleeve

I haven’t really felt like saying anything on here in the past week, clearly. I have run into a bit of a dilemma with keeping this account of my life and that is feeling the need to edit myself. It makes me feel uncomfortable like I am not being forthright and genuine. The entire purpose of this blog is to keep tabs on my daily life as a returning student. I have this grand idea of looking back at this one day and gaining some kind of insight about myself.. Maybe realizing how much I have grown in the three years it will take me to get my degree, or maybe this will serve as a reminder of how things were if I feel lost as everyone occasionally does.. I don’t know. Maybe a piece me fantasizes that one day my future daughter will read this and she will gain insight about who I was at this age and see me as a person and not just her mother.. I don’t know. I want to be honest about what is going on in my life and how things are as well as how I feel about them but because this particular journal (blog) is public I am realizing that somethings are maybe too personal to share. How do I handle that situation? Anyone who knows me well knows that once you know me well I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am a pretty open book and share just about everything. This is just how I am comfortable. I don’t expect this of everyone else it’s just how I am.

So it just feels false to me to say I am going to log my experiences during this period of my life and then not actually share all of those experiences.

……. 10 minutes later ……..

I don’t think I will have any interest in continuing this if I hold something back. I realize that I am making more of this than it is, I have a tendency to sometimes over think things.

So, a little over a week ago it was brought to my attention that someone I am close with was feeling overly anxious about something that to most people would not be something to worry about. At first it was not anything I was overly concerned about. I know this person well and they have always found ways to work through their anxieties in the past. It quickly became apparent this time was different though. The anxiety became extreme and irrational and for a moment somewhat debilitating for the person. I gave my support and counsel (when asked). Of course given my history of anxiety issues I silently worried for this person and for the people impacted but not to the point of tying myself into knots because I strongly believed (and still do) that the situation would work itself out.

Over a week later now I think the worst is over for the moment. There is a bit of impact to my personal life because of what is going on but nothing negative, just me offering to help out in a small way to see the situation through essentially.

Here is where my feelings are about this, because of my recent history (recent being over a year ago, less than 5 years ago) with anxiety and depression (acute not chronic) I feel that anxiety this severe isn’t easily… what’s the word I’m looking for… expunged.. vanquished.. eliminated. Yes, anxiety this severe is not easily eliminated by the person suffering from it if they attempt it on their own. God, being vague makes it difficult to say what I am trying to say. I feel like I am being confusing.

.. after a moment of collecting my thoughts..

When I went through my hard time after my grandfather died it took me seeing a counselor to learn what my anxiety triggers are, how to identify the feelings I am having when my anxiety is getting bad and then  what coping mechanisms work for me. It took talking things out with a counselor to realize that there is a pattern in my life that I would like to work away from and that I don’t have to feel bad. I can do things to help myself (self soothe etc) so when I am worried about something, like all people do, I don’t allow it to get the better of me. That is all I want for this person. Anxiety, like anything, can feel too big to fix. Look at losing weight, so many people have a hard time because it can just feel like too much and they easily give in and don’t do what they need to do to feel better. It takes work to get where you want to be and that can feel overwhelming so its good to have someone (a professional) to help point you in the right direction and give you the tools you need.

The other thing that has been eating at me a bit with this whole situation is outsiders responses to it. To clarify (which seems near impossible), how people who do not suffer from anxiety view people who do.. This is more broad spectrum, speaking “in general” rather than specifically about this situation. With my history, knowing what I know about other people who I am close with that deal with the same issues it bothers me how the “average person” (if there is such a thing) view us at times. Anxiety is not usually rational and it isn’t something easily controlled. Think of phobias for example, almost everyone has one. I am afraid of the dark (embarrassing!), well maybe more accurately I am afraid of the unknown so at times being in the dark scares me if my eyes have not adjusted yet. Even though I know there isn’t a murdering rapist standing in my dining room just waiting for me to walk by, there is still always that irrational fear that if I walk down my hallway in the dark something might pop out and get me! haha. This is ridiculous, I get that. But it doesn’t mean that just because I can identify it as an irrational thought that I will feel any differently when walking down my hallway in the dark. I will probably still bolt past the entry way to my dining room just to play it safe. 😉

So, knowing that all people have these irrational thoughts and fears how is it so easy for someone to think that someone else is being ridiculous when all that’s happening is they are having an irrational fear about something. I think (at least from what I have observed in my short life) people usually tend to voice this opinion of “Oh your being ridiculous” and discredit what a person is going through when what that person is going through inconveniences them in some way. Not everyone reacts that way, some people are more understanding. I don’t know..

I try really hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and keep in my mind that there is usually more to something than what may appear. I just wish (however naive this might sound) that the world was a little more tolerant… patient.. understanding.. I don’t know, I feel like I am reciting the lyrics from a Lennon song right now. 🙂 It’s like my economics teacher said, you can never have all the information, there is always something you don’t know.

I will post about how classes are going next time, this entry is too long and exhausting and confusing as it is.

I don’t want to dress up, I just want to dance!

I have had Cry Like a Ghost stuck in my head all week. This last week has been difficult and I am craving a beer and a dance floor. I don’t want to dress up, I just want to get lost in a crowd. Steph and I are going to go out Saturday, I cannot wait. I need to get out of my own head.

The Social Aspect of Suicide

This topic is way to big for me delve deep without feeling overwhelmed and closed in. However, in my Sociology class we are learning about some of the early founders of Sociology and one of these men in particular caught my attention.

Emile Durkheim identified a concept called Social Integration which has to do with how connected a person is with their social group. I am not just talking your friends, it’s your family, your community, your race, your religious affiliation, your gender, etc. He then went on to do research about how social integration affects suicide rates. He theorized that individuals with less social bonds are more likely to commit suicide. Essentially people who are unmarried and do not have the ties to their community or the responsibility to anyone else are more likely to commit suicide. There is information that supports this theory, it’s quite interesting. I don’t know if I agree completely but thew whole idea of research in Sociology is that you are making generalizations based on the information you collect.

So, the reason I bring all of this up is because I read a story in the news paper today that got me thinking.. Dr Isaias Lerner-Biber, a well-respected cardiologist in the Bay Harbor area committed suicide Thursday evening. Dr. Lerner-Biber was arrested earlier in the week on animal cruelty charges. This came after two sanitary workers in his neighborhood witnessed him torture and kill his dog and called the police. The doctor bonded out but not until he first gave a written confession of the event. He beat his dog to death with a hammer and then stabbed it with a screw driver. The reason he gave was frustration because the dog kept having accidents in the house.

I think most people would agree this is not a valid reason to not only kill your family pet but in such a horrific way at that. That exact statement is what makes me wonder about his suicide.. I don’t think suicide is something you can rationalize. It is personal, emotional and not usually considered a rational act. So when I pose the following the questions about why Dr Lerner-Biber killed himself it’s not with the expectation that they will be answered with absolute certainty,  it just makes you think..

Emile Durkheim suggested that close-knit ties to their social group would prevent most people from committing suicide. I wonder if in Dr. Lerner-Biber’s case it is what made the final decision for him? Was the guilt over his violent act, that from what his friend’s and colleagues say was so outside of his personality,  too much for him to bear? Or was the judgement from the community what pushed him over the edge? He was a well-known doctor and a family man living in an affluent neighborhood on a small island off of Miami that consists of around 1300 families. Quite likely it was a mixture of both that led to his decision to take his own life and there is no way to know if one thing out weighed the other. I think it is safe to say though that one man’s actions had a profound affect on a group.

If I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns

This season can never come soon enough. I had a dream about the crisp air and warm apple cider the other night and I have not been able to shake the feeling since. I think what I am looking forward to most this fall is the bicycle rides in the cool evenings with Todd, the  chilly weekend mornings perfect for hot tea on the front porch, grilling on the back porch with friends and family, passing out candy to the trick or treaters.. I made a wreath yesterday for Halloween. It’s the second I have made and I love the end result!

I have an astronomy quiz tomorrow so I think I will go lay in the hammock and study. I laid in the hammock for over an hour yesterday reading my book, it was divine. It’s such a beautiful day and under the shade of the trees the backyard is always the perfect temperature.

If you’re not growing together you’re growing apart.

Todd and I went to the Planetarium at school Friday as extra credit for my Astronomy class. It was neat. It reviewed the constellations that can currently be seen in the September night sky. My favorite was Cassiopeia, the upside queen with a vanity issue. I like her story, not to mention she is an easy asterism to locate because it is essentially just a “W” in the sky. In just a few minutes I am going to write an essay about the experience to finalize the extra credit.

Yesterday evening we went to my Aunt’s house for dinner and game night. I love that Todd is involved with my family. He and I were raised with close ties to our families and the traditions each family keeps is similar. His family does game nights and such as well. It was fun. We always play boys against girls in the group games and last night the girls stomped the boys at Catch Phrase. It was a shut out, they couldn’t win one! However they came out on top in Cranium. Meh. 🙂

Today I had lunch with a girlfriend. She is in a similar place in her life as I am. She is in the settling down stage. We were talking about friendships among other things and how they change over the years. I have been lucky that my closest girlfriends and I  have always been in about the same place in life as each other. Things start slowing down as you age, I see it. I don’t mind it because it is natural and it allows times for other things. The relationships will be there and remain strong if you have that common ground. Not just that you are both in serious relationships or having children etc but that your value system is similar. It’s true what they say, if you are not growing together you are growing apart. That’s just how things go I think. Otherwise your being held back. I think about the friendships I have had over the years that didn’t last versus the ones that did and I don’t have any regrets. The people I surround myself with lift me up rather than holding me down. The same goes in reverse. I am thankful for that.. For them. I am lucky to know these girls.