Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I REALLY wanted to be here

How eager am I to be at Nip U?

This morning I woke up to 6" of snow, no power, no heat, no coffee, and three teenage boys to feed and get ready for school.
When it was time to leave, I dug out the borrowed van, aptly named "The Loser Cruiser"...and started down our 1 km driveway...that was covered by the branches of snow-laden willows and two huge pines.
So I went back up to the house, got the chainsaw, got one pine removed and most of the second. Then I got stuck. Then I dug myself out. Then I got stuck. Then I dug myself out. Then a random branch popped the hood and it swung back and cracked the windshield. Then I dropped the muffler going over the hump the snowplows left at the end of the driveway.

Do I want to be here? Man oh man...if I didn't, I wouldn't.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Day!

How many of you voted? Did you read the individual party platforms, or are you just wingin' it? Did you swallow the rhetoric whole, or did you take time to chew, separating propoganda from content?
I voted. I voted early, as a matter of fact. This week is our annual moose hunt, so I wanted to make my vote count.
I do not want a Conservative majority, which really tempted me to vote strategically. But doing so pisses me off. I want to vote for the party that best captures my imagination, offers a solid framework of economic strategy, and realizes our entire freakin' economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mother Earth.
So, first I looked for the Conservative party platform. I had heard Harper lambasting Stephane Dion's Green Shift, then I heard him deriding Layton's "New Strong" approach, and I heard he tried to pull Elizabeth May's pigtails and called her out to fight him in the schoolyard. So...I thought the Conservatives must have a strong plan for the nation. I cut them some slack last election, as no one expected them to be in for more that 6 months. I figured they'd have their ducks in a row and have something meaty to say. I mean, this is the party that finally had the decency to make a public apology for the atrocity of the residential schools
I found the Conservative platform, and had to speed read it, as it wasn't released until about a week ago. And I found pap and pablum and patented nostrums for the corporate rich. Yawn...same old same old same old crap. I know that being "C"onservative means putting the brakes on progress, thumpin' the ol' family values drum, and tugging on our bigotry. But puh-leeeze...! Jeez Louise!!! What a pile of crap. The people who still haven't connected "lower taxes" with "fewer services" will lap it up..as per usual. But there was nothing for me there.
So I checked out the Green Shift and the NDP platforms. Hmmm...some meat there, but completely based on a strong economy with resource exports continuing unabated. Please Google "stock market" and "economic storm" to see why I don't expect there to BE a cookie jar to pull from...add our current economic issues to the pilfering of the coffers that Conservative policy allowed, and we're not sittin' as pretty as we were 6 months ago.
So...what does that leave me? Bloc Quebecois? Whose mandate it is to break up the nation...hmmm...even if there was a Bloc candidate who had the guts to run in an Ontario riding, I couldn't do it, even if many of their social policies ring true.
Heritage, Marxist-Leninist, etc? Well, I may dress up for Hallowe'en, but I don't want a freak show for the other 364 days a year, if you catch my drift.
So, that leaves Green. And when I read their policy platform, I was struck by the rare thought, "Here's a political party that speaks to my socially liberal viewpoints and is fiscally sound...and...and...makes freakin' sense!"
Any party that swears to keep their nose out of my bedroom, deal with drugs as a health issue vs a prison-recruitment exercise, and plans for the long-term vs for the next election and fuzzy blue sweater, catches my eye. The more I read, the more I really believe they have the moxy to shape up to a real political power. And THAT, children, is why my grandfather is spinning in his grave, my grandmother will have an apopolectic fit (she's tries to throw one once a week, so I won't dissapoint!), and why I can tuck my children in without a guilty conscience.
So...did YOU vote?

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'd rather be a juggler than a mime

OK...so it's been 1 month, and I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of this larnin' thang. It's a matter of dedication, priority, focus, and a burning need for scholarships and awards.

If I was "just" a student, it wouldn't be so challenging. I'd be balancing the books with the beers, the studies with the socializing.

But I'm not "just" a student.

I'm a mom of 3 teenage boys.

I'm the owner of a farm, and haying and crops were a disaster this year. I have little food preserved/stored for our family consumption, no turkeys for sale, and it's a long way off until maple syrup season. My tractor, roto-tiller, and chainsaw all went up in puffs of carbon-rich smoke this summer, so I don't even have my firewood to heat the house. I'll be watching the $ race out of my savings account this winter.

I'm a wife, a role that I keep defining as I go. See...my husband's family believes a wife should be the Harriet of the 50's...docile, domestic, and deferrent. I am none of those things. I've been a career-oriented person for the past 26 years...the primary bread-winner throughout that time...primary parent for my children...politically and socially active. So..there is a bit of tension between what is expected of me, and what I expect from myself. Thank the goddess my husband loves me just the way I am...flaky, brilliant, and prickly...yeah, I said prickly.

So...the juggling act. Here is an average day in my life:

alarm goes off
husband lures me out of bed with an always-just-out-of-reach cup of coffee
shower finished, teeth brushed, hair combed, eyes open
become the lunch nazi - "You MUST have fruit in your lunch! You CAN'T have all the cheese!"
become Sherlock Holmes, tracking down kids' assignments, calculators, socks, cellphones,iPods
water and feed the dog, water and feed the cats, water and feed my belly
start shrieking "The bus is coming, the bus is coming" like a crazed Herve Villechaise
say the kids' litany "Have fun, learn lots, be good, be safe, use a condom, love ya"
drive husband to work, kiss and shove him out the door, search for latest favourite CD
crank a tune to get the heart going, then switch to CBC radio
park in visitor's parking, vow I'm going to get my pass today, curse the $5.75 I pay/day
hit the library, vow to get 3-days ahead in my reading and assignments, break vow
classes over (usually), race for afterschool chores: groceries, diesel, parent-teachers, dentist, etc
get home & feed/water the animals, clean coops and stalls, pull at least 3 weeds, laundry on line
share supper chores, insist that we do have to eat vegetables, actually talk with kids & husband
get dishes started while helping kids with science, math, English, law homework
troubleshoot shared internet connectivity, home network, and media server problems
review kids homework, participate in scheduled conference call with client in Toronto
work on client's portfolio/media solutions - loudly cursing our 28.8 dial-up HELL!!!!!
bully kids through shower, review kids' homework, tell husband I remember he exists
finish clients' work, start on my schoolwork, keep my vow of 3-days ahead
poke husband with pencil until he wakes up from the couch and stumbles into the shower
greet husband in bed with reading glasses on and only 3 textbooks to read....sexy, eh?

I'm juggling as fast as I can. Stressed? A little bit. Thrilled? A lot!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Whew! Finally...time to catch my breath

Today marks the 26th day since I returned to University as a mature student...coincidentally, it's been 26 years since I left University and entered the workforce, lured by gobs of cash.

BTW...I loathe that phrase "mature student"...I lay no claim to maturity, as evidenced by the Autumnal Equinox party last week...I think I prefer the term RIPE.Yeah...that's it...I'm not a mature student...I'm a ripe student.

First impressions: this is like Christmas or Kwanzai or Hannakuh every day. I get to wake up, throw on jeans and a sweatshirt, access highspeed internet, and soak up the knowledge. I never really appreciated this when I was younger...I was too into the $$$$ and in my industry at that time, money was offered by the wheelbarrow. How could I refuse jobs that paid 3x what my parents made, at the age of 19?

But now...after 26 years in the workforce, kids about to start flying the nest (if they don't get a helpful little nudge first...lol), a need for work-life balance, and a hunger for new knowledge and new experience...I'm ready for this. Ready to learn. Ready to grow.

OK..enough of the inspiring valedictorian speech..I've gotta get home and do the chores and get some kibble ready to throw to the kids and husband...grin!

I hope to use this blog to document my experience at Nip, as a student first, and with the (hopefully) unique insights of a ripe student. It might be funny, it might be sad, it might be just a wee bit whacky...but it'll be interesting, I'll tell you that.