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Navajo wanted me to add a picture taken at my nephew's wedding.  It's below the squiggle


Hi.

I’m sure many here don’t know me.  That’s fine

Some of you do, and I’ve heard (through facebook) that a few of that number have been asking about me.

Cool  

Hmm, I’ve learned I have to be careful with that word as a few weeks ago it was taken as a complaint that we had moved from the cool outside to a hot room and not what it was, a comment of awe at “seeing” sun spots.

During the past year I have written sporadic, little seen diary entries here at Dailykos.  And then sort of dropped off the map here almost entirely after October.

What have I been doing?  Here’s my update for those who wondered.

In April 2013 I was finally healed from a car accident that happened almost exactly 2 years earlier, and not so coincidentally, got well after an illness of more than 20 years.

The healing after the car accident came after it was discovered that not only do I have iron deficiency anemia but I have IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA.  Deficiency so ongoingly severe that instead of the “normal” daily dose of iron, I need a double dose, daily.

That was discovered by my GYN’s team, when my fragile and frankly weak and  troubled health took another bad turn, which resulted in 2 uterine biopsies and 2 surgeries, all in the first few months of 2013.  My fragile health, full of chimeras of weird, explainable issues with my health is what lead me to this doctor.  He specializes in the treatment of women who have been exposed to Diethylstilbestrol (DES).  Which my mother only recently remembered.

Sigh.

April 2013, my life begins again.

I began cleaning my house, and de-stuffing it.  I spent 2 years not being able to move and watched a ton of “Hoarders.”  If there was ever a motivational program that is it.  Though never that bad, my husband and I are/were pack rats.  Plus when you have no energy and are constantly laid up with illnesses (as I put it I had an immune system with more holes in it than expensive Swiss cheese) it’s hard to maintain a house.

By Feb 2014 it was done!  Top to bottom things are cleaned and sorted and they have stayed that way. (I left the garage for the summer, which I have already started)    I now have guests over, often.  Dinner parties, friends over to look at the International Space Station when it comes around. We even have a monthly Traveller rpg game group meeting here. .

Walking?  Try hiking . . . I had wanted to hike an easy trial by Maroon Bells when I was last in Colorado, but the weather didn’t cooperate.  I couldn’t even trust walking on any near Denver trails, when every single day there was hail and tornado warnings. Something that I don’t remember happening when I grew up there.

I try to walk a mile a day.

No I haven’t lost the 100 lbs I had set about loosing by this time.  I have only lost 70lbs and have gone down about 6 dress sizes.  It will come. I’ve learned to be content with doing this slowly as I have much more than just 100lbs to lose.

Some of the reason I haven’t lost as much and as fast as I had wanted has to do with what I did last January.

I walked back into our local community college to see what I needed to do to get back in, hopefully at the place I left off in 2006.  I was, once again, jettisoning my major.  I thought when I walked in that I was too late to start for spring semester, but to my happy surprise the semester was only 2 days old!  

A quick look at my records, and with my directive of “change my major to  whatever major gets me out of here as quickly as possible,”  I opted for “General Studies Massachusetts Transfer” major (which will get me to a MA state 4 year quickly) – and viola I only had 4 classes left.

Where did I want to go after I graduated? Already decided, UMASS Boston, majoring in history with either an anthropology or gender studies minor.  I’m set, I know, at almost 52 (September), where I want to go and what I want to do.

Originally I had only registered for one class, content with the idea of finishing in the fall (because I hate summer classes).  The class was “US History from 1847” . . . because I knew I had already taken the first part of US History.  I thought I would be right on time to complete two wishes.  One from my Mom (who has 2 master’s degrees and is listed in the 1963 volume of “Who’s Who of American Women") to see at least one of her daughters graduate with a college degree before she dies, and my son who is completing his studies at a university in Boston who wanted me to get my degree before he got his.

Can do!

However when that son told us that he was graduating in December, I had to move.  I quickly added another class, “Contemporary Literature.” And decided to take classes in summer. I also submitted my "intention to graduate" form.  Which had an impact on me that was unanticipated and under appreciated before hand.

Contemp Lit was great and so rigorous and so enjoyable that it could easily be a 300-400 class.  I don’t think anyone in the class dropped out even though the books chosen were tough:

Interpreter of Maladies
Jhumpa Lahiri
(short stories about people from the subcontinent, either there or here.  She also wrote “The Namesake,” which if you didn’t know when reading, but know the movie, you quickly figure it out)

Stars of the Night Commute
Ana Božičević
(poetry. A journey from growing up in Zagreb, Croatia, during the war, accepting her sexuality, immigration to the US and becoming a citizen )

Windeye
Brian Evenson
(short story, horror.  If you like Poe . . .
There is a story of AC/DC's Bon Scott in the middle )

Flood Song
Sherwin Bitsui
(Navajo poet - interview)

Writing the four papers on these works was hard.  I even got majorly stuck with "Stars of the Night Commute" and it took weeks for me to write the paper.  However to show that it was an actual case of getting stuck and not an attempt to get out of the work I sent my prof links to many of the things I've written here on Dailykos.  

Our own Navajo helped me with my paper on "Flood Song."  There were Navajo words that needed translation, and a concept that I wanted to put forward in my assertion that "Flood song" IS an epic.  But I needed to check with her about something first.  Finding out that I was on the wrong track, as far as the concept, I went a head to prove my assertion another way.

Navajo read the paper I submitted.  I am very glad she was/is there for the help.

My paper for US History was on Jane Addams, the co-founder of Hull House.  I focused on Leo Tolstoy's influence, including their meeting.

I got an A+ for both classes.

Two weekends before finals my 80 year old father had an accident which he had been impaled through the thigh with a piece of rebar.  The weekend before finals it was discovered that my 84 year old mother broke her heel.  Two days before my first final the school calls me and asks if, since I intend to graduate and that I am within the 2 classes necessary and have already registered and paid for those two classes for summer semester, if I would like to march in the big graduation at the end of May.

I replied a resounding YES . . . Mom's going to get to see it!!!  

Saturday May 17 the day after my last final I boarded a plane for Denver to see and help take care of my parents.  I arrived back in MA three days before the big graduation.  In time to get a cap and gown.

The day of graduation I am fumbling around with things.  I got my cap and gown so late there was no chance to see it if would fit.  It didn't. I can't zip it up.  I also have been "red flagged," which means I need to see someone to get the pronunciation of my last name.  I can't find him.  I rush around to find the building I'm supposed to line up in.  Once there I look down at the card I'm supposed to hand the guy, to say my name as I walk across the stage to get my diploma holder.

I look at the card and there are two words under my name that I, a dyslexic, who had been written off by the principal of the elementary school she attended as someone who "didn't have it for school" never thought I'd see

associated with my name . . .

Cum Laude

I broke down right there and then.

I didn't know I had gained that.  I didn't know until that instant.
I'm even tearing up now thinking about it.

I'm in the middle of summer semester right now.  Taking the US history class I thought I'd already taken (US History to 1860) and Astronomy (which I'm endanger of losing cum laude status because of).  The class is a lot tougher than my son lead me to believe it was, and in actually he says it's a lot tougher than the class he took.  He didn't have to learn Newton's law of universal gravitation, I have to.

School has made it tough on losing weight.  From the changing schedules that challenge me to find an optimal time to eat and not be hungry to just studying with enough kinds of "brain food munchies" that both satisfy but won't kill my diet.

I'm also working on beginning a career as a voice actor. I've taken a few classes already.  AND maybe doing some more writing and actually get something published, or self publish.

Oh AND I've already started studying for the GRE.  My AA is just my first waypoint on the climb on my own Everest.  There's a Ph.D. up there waiting for me.  I already have professors who have, without my asking, volunteered to write recommendations for me.

That's such a high.

What would a diary of mine be without music?

I have a playlist I listen to daily called "Mantra."  

It keeps me up, and keeps me pointed in the right direction, for I still have many challenges.  Including believing in myself.  I didn't realize how much my illness had sapped my self esteem, and confidence.  And how much I have to beat back those monsters every day.

I'll publish it after I make lunch.

But here is one song of the  15, now 16 songs

Oh and that visit to Denver also afforded me time to spend with my 1 year old granddaughter.  I was there for her birthday.

****
forgetting a few other things in this update

went to Pakistan in December for my nephew's wedding

Navajo wanted me to add the photo taken of me at my nephew's wedding. This is last December, I have lost a few more pounds since then.

I also followed through on a wish of my father's and sang a duet with him at my parents' church.  We sang "Love Can Build a Bridge."  My parents church wants me to start skyping in solos . . . LOL

******

My "Daily Mantra" play list:

Brave - Sara Bareilles
Roar - Katy Perry
Thank You - Alanis Morissette
Roll With It - Steve Winwood
Summer - John Denver
Guardian - Alanis Morissette
Nothing More - The Alternate Routes
I Choose You - Sara Bareilles
I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
Good Life - OneRepublic
Reach - Orleans
Happy - Pharrell Williams
Peace - O.A.R.
Madness - Muse
On Top of the World - Imagine Dragons

and the newest addition, which I haven't decided where to place in the list  is
Colours - Margo Rey

Mon Jul 07, 2014 at  6:57 AM PT: I've debated on whether to add this or not, but as I walked upstairs last night to go to bed I realized I had forgotten something . . . a big something. (not a boast, just to give you the full measure of this past year)

When I was sick I made promises to myself of what I would do once well, if I ever got well.  Since getting well I have run with those promises and tried to keep them, or working on getting them done.  

I try to do three things a month.  One adventure for me, one thing with my family and one project on the house.  The activity with the family is relatively easy, and unfortunately this month's adventure for me was a victim of last weekend's rain.

I have never been to the 4th of July on the Esplanade in Boston. No energy was the biggest reason, until I couldn't walk so then there was that.  This year I was going to go, except the hurricane coming up the coast made Boston move the firework to July 3, exactly the time I was in class.  Oh well, next year.

The project I do on the house can vary from having someone come over and put in ceiling fans (hey I am a job creator) to doing a half DIY half work with my handyman job of refurbishing one of our bathrooms (I cleaned and painted the walls, painted the vanity until I can figure out what I want to do, fixed the shower, hung a new mirror, new shelves, new towel rods and new light fixture, or a total DIY.  I have a budget limit per month on each project - and with school a time limit too.  Some projects are spread across several months.

This month's project is to get a plumbing issue we've had forever fixed.  When they built this house they didn't put a pitch into the sewage pipe leading from the kitchen to the standpipe.  And then they put the bathroom tub on that line (which is not code today.  I don't know if it was code 30 years ago).  So whenever the kitchen drainage would back up, it backs up into the bathtub.  Well later this month that is finally being fixed.


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