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Archive for July, 2010

My husband has this annoying little habit that makes me want to throttle him every time we have a conversation that involves me telling him a story.  I try to accommodate this particular little quirk of his by telling myself it’s just how he is, but then again I have dreams where he does this and I wake up all pissed off. 

Clearly, I have issues. 

What, you may be asking, does my husband do that causes me such psychic stress that it causes me to have dreams about it?  He interrupts.  With questions. 

I swear, y’all, I can’t start a story without him stopping me about three sentences in and asking me a question about what I just said.  He claims to be clarifying my train of thought.  At three sentences in, the train doesn’t even have tracks yet.  I have been known to pause for effect, give him the stink-eye, and say, “I’m telling the story.”  And to his credit, he backs off.  Because he understands the “look” and the tone in my voice, which is saying, “you are pissing me off.” 

Sometimes he doesn’t care.  Sometimes he just likes to piss me off.  He likes to see me steamed.  I think it turns him on, a little. 

If I don’t stop him in his questioning, I lose my train of thought and, as a result, the story and the point I was trying to make with it. 

Maddening. 

— Mox

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Okay, so I got my GRE scores in the mail.  And they were…. not as good as I hoped but not as bad as I thought. 

My combined score (verbal and math) was 1100.  Of that, my verbal score was better than 93% of the test pool results.  My math… well, let’s just say that the results were quite lopsided.  Good thing I’m not trying to get into a math-based grad program. 

The biggest disappointment for me was my score on the essays.  The max (perfect) score you can get is a 6, and I really was looking for a 4.5 to 5.  I ended up with a 4.  A 4!  What the hell? 

What does this mean for me and the grad programs I had my results sent to?  Dunno yet.  I suppose we’ll see how aggressive their admissions departments are in the coming weeks and months. 

And all of this boils down to the age-old question:  what do I want to be when I grow up? 

Stay tuned. 

— Mox

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First Fruits

I always find July to be a bit bittersweet.  Sure, it’s still in the shank of summer, and it’s still hot enough to melt rock, but July is the beginning of the end of the season, for me.  There always comes a point (usually about midway through the month) where I wake up and realize that the birds are not singing their usual pre-dawn/sunrise chorus in search of a mate.  The lightning bugs have, for the most part, gone off to wherever lightning bugs go once their season is over.  The flowers in the garden are beginning to look a bit bedraggled.  There are little changes, in the air, in the atmosphere, in the length of the day, that all tell me fall is on its’ way. 

And I don’t mind fall, really.  I just really despise what comes after that. 

But one thing that makes the “sweet” in this bittersweet time of the year is the fact that — finally — the tomatoes are starting to come in. 

Last year we had a weird season, it was basically too cool and cloudy for most of the summer for the tomatoes to set fruit, and what few we got weren’t the robust, juicy kind that we all associate with homegrown goodness.  (Side note:  the only time I will buy tomatoes in the store is when I need one to chop up for taco toppings, before the garden variety comes in.  Hothouse tomatoes are… ugh.)  So this year, with the heat and the humidity really pumping in, has been a good year for tomatoes, and we have all (all!) been practically giddy at the thought. 

BLTs.  Cucumber-tomato salad.  Fried green tomatoes.  Canned tomatoes for spaghetti and lasagna this winter.  It’s all good. 

Every year I attempt to limit myself to a few well-chosen varieties in the garden.  When you only have four raised beds you have to be very careful about rotating crops so that every year is a bounteous one.  It’s hard.  At the garden center I’m tempted with Big Boy, Mr. Stripey, Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, German Queen, Cherokee Purple, Early Girl, Lemon Boy and a host of other odd and heirloom varieties.  It’s very, very tempting to put all four of my beds in tomatoes.  The sight of a basket full of ripe tomatoes in all colors and sizes is enough to make my heart sing. 

I like tomatoes. 

The best tomato, of course, is the one that you pick fresh off the vine, wipe off the dirt, and eat, warm, with a little bit of salt.  Heaven! 

My tomatoes are just starting to come in, and already I’m wishing I hadn’t been so circumspect back in May.  I’d love to have more varieties than the three I planted.  (Three?  What was I thinking?)  And I’ve found that if you grow the more unusual varieties (yellow, striped, etc.) people are more willing to take some off your hands.  You get to be branded as an all-around good person that way. 

Next year?  Maybe half of my beds will be in tomatoes.  We’ll see. 

— Mox

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Wow, y’all. 

I am (mostly) still upright after the debacle that was me taking the GRE on Tuesday.  As predicted, I did about as well as expected, which is to say nowhere near where I wanted to be. 

Ugly.  Just… ugly.  

Twenty years after the last college class I took, twenty-something years after the last math-related class I took, I was unable to pull out a good score.  I think it is profoundly unfair that the math portion of the test will weigh heavily against me when I majored in English and have spent the last twenty years of my working life doing nothing more than basic arithmetic.  Throw a question at me with a bunch of letters and numbers in it and ask me to solve for x and/or y and watch me panic.  Because I just cannot do it. 

Bah. 

I am interested, though, to see how the real live human being graders assess my two essays.  I mean, I know I am not a perfect essayist, particularly without reference material at my disposal, but to be able to wing it for two essays… well, I feel okay about that.  Not that I’m going to get the highest score but I think I should score above the halfway mark. I’ve been pulling coherent sentences out of my ass for the past twenty years, thank heavens.  Not intimidated on that front. 

If you don’t think that taking a computer adaptive test for admission into grad school isn’t a little bit nerve-wracking, consider this:  at one point in the testing room, one of the other testers leaned back and said softly, “shit.” 

My sentiments exactly. 

— Mox

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The Tin (wo)Man is rusty. 

When I signed myself up for this thing called the GRE (that’s Graduate Record Exam for the uninitiated) I honestly thought, “Pshaw, piece of cake.” 

And my words have come back to bite me in the ass.

I took some of the practice tests offered online and the carnage was unspeakable.  If I ever felt stupid before, it paled in comparison to the stupid I felt after that. 

Funny how spending nearly 20 years writing advertising copy can pretty much decimate that part of your brain that held all the big words.  Because big words?  Unless you’re writing tech copy to inform the techy masses, big words have no place in advertising copy.  Big words do not work when you are speaking to John Q. Public, and JQP is pretty much a third grader. 

Which brings me to Problem Number Two:  math. 

Of course it should go without saying that I majored in English in college because it was as diametrically opposed to math as I could possibly get.  My last math class, Algebra, was taken during my sophomore year of college and I squeaked through it with a C, after studying my ass off for the final.  It satisfied my general ed requirement and allowed me to move on.  Ten-plus years later, I found myself struggling with pretty basic math as I helped Spawn with third grade math homework.  Did you know that they start working on pre-Algebra concepts in third grade nowadays?  I did not.  I do now. 

Since it seems I am destined to follow Spawn through school, having to learn the current curriculum and then helping the kid master it during homework time, perhaps I would be better off waiting until Spawn has some high school Algebra and Geometry before I attempt taking this GRE thing. 

Ohmigod, y’all.  It’s bad. 

It’s going to cost me $50 to change my test date, but I don’t see any other way to improve my potential score.  I need the time to study, and to maybe get myself a math tutor, one who will attempt an archeological dig on my brain to discover where all that stuff I learned in Algebra and Geometry has been buried.  I mean, I just don’t know how to solve for x anymore.  Ask me to solve for xy and see my brain start to spark and smoke.  It’s quite a sight. 

So the radio silence will most likely continue a bit longer. 

— Mox

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