I haven't posted for a while because I got it in my head that I needed a masters degree. Five minutes later, I started the Master of English program, and have been going nonstop like Xena running the Gauntlet, while working a full-time job and momming a bunch of adult children.

After the myriad requests I received to write new blogs (a couple of people casually mentioning that they hadn't seen anything from me for a while) I decided to take the time to put something out there, since now I have the time to put something out there.

About my life over the past two years

First:

It is important to note that the summer semesters cost me (aside from tuition) 30% of my sanity and two toes to frostbite (the latter, while only theoretical, and not actual toes, because the classrooms in the summer are unbelievably cold and like a fool, I was wearing summer-appropriate attire).

Source: http://www.qsl.net/pa2ohh/bafcoldbarefootsnow0.jpg

Second:

It became somewhat of a tradition for one or more students to follow me out of the classroom on the last day of class to tell me how much they hated me at the beginning of class, but that at some point during the semester realized I was an OK human being. Many of these people I call my friends now, not because I'm so desperate for friends that I'll snuggle up to the mean kids, but because a) these people turned out to be actually cool people, and because, b) hey...I appreciate the honesty. There's not enough of that.

Third:

I moved more times than I care to admit. Apparently, I have problems committing to living space. I was renting a home when I started the program, because I still had several children living with me, and I decided that when they had all moved out and I had finished the masters program, I would move to Salt Lake City and buy a tiny house or condo that only took 30 minutes to clean to a shine.

Barely into my first semester, the owner came home from whatever he was doing overseas and didn't want to share his home with me and my children, so I moved to a lovely home in the historic district of my town (see photo below of lovely home).

Source: My camera
During my last semester, that owner suddenly, spastically decided that he didn't want to be a landlord anymore, and offered to sell the house to me, but I ultimately declined (based on the advice of an inspector), since, although it's a cool house, it's over 100 years old, and there were some structural issues I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with--also, he was hard-selling it like it was a used car--so I moved into a temporary place while I'm looking for a home to buy. All of my stuff is still in a storage shed because I still haven't found the home I want to live in forever or for the next five or so years.

Also, I realized how much I love the city I live in. Maybe I'm not so eager to leave it anymore.

Fourth:

Hey guys, my laptop died. The. Week. My. Thesis. Was. Due.

I want to make it clear that I recognize there are bigger problems in the world than not having a working laptop. I know with all my heart that my first-world problems are minuscule in comparison with larger, heart-breaking issues.

Suorce: gamingnexus.com/Images/News/grfoht33307/2.jpg
But the week my 55-page project was due, my laptop died without so much as a whimper, and I was sitting there on the floor, staring at a blank screen in the nest of blankets I'd been sleeping in for the past six weeks because my bed was in the back of a storage shed, AND I was out of wine. It seemed like a pretty big deal in the moment. At the same time, I was laying out and formatting Aelurus, the literary magazine for which I somehow ended up being managing editor. And it was tax season, so every client at my work wanted their tax documents from 7,000 different investment companies. So suddenly, everyone in the world (or so it seemed) was waiting for me to complete things I didn't have access to anymore, and I'd forgotten how to breathe. Between lunches at work and my daughter's 11-inch Asus, which sports a keyboard too small for my life-sized hands, I completed the project, finished laying out Aelurus and remembered how to breathe. The night I turned my project in, I drank some (too much) celebratory wine and played Peggle (badly) with my two youngest children.

I received my degree (empty purple cover) at a hooding ceremony on a Wednesday night. My family and some close friends attended, including a professor who isn't in my department, but taught a couple of my graduate classes (and whom I have become good friends with over the last two years), and a professor who taught a few of my ungrad classes years and years ago, and has since retired. I felt honored to have these people (professors, family, and friends) take time out of their schedules to sit through this ceremony with me.
Source: My Facebook page

The highlights of my time in the programs were meeting those fellow students I hope will remain my friends for years to come, and meeting those amazing professors I also hope will remain my friends for years to come. Yes, I improved my writing skills and got a paper accepted to a conference in New York. But basically, I met cool people and wrote cool stuff, including:
  • an essay on how humans refused to stop exploring once they ran out of untamed terra firma, so they dug into the human mind, and ventured out to space,
  • an essay on how strong women in pop culture tend to be highly sexualized instead of intellectualized,
  • a series of feminist poems and essays with a backbone of modernized mythology.
To sum up, it was a rough couple of years, but it was an amazing couple of years. I'd do it again with less relocating and more laptop.

What I'm doing next

Nothing different. I'll keep working the same job, continue to look for a house and relish the time I have to hang out with my children and the friends who stuck with me through the two years during which I virtually disappeared.

For my friends still in the program--I love you, I miss you, I'll see you on the other side.