Friday, July 31, 2009

My Schoolin'!

After about a decade-long hiatus, I started back to college this summer at Pasadena City College down the street from home. I applied late and they didn't have many classes left so I took a critical reading class. I was pretty sure I was gonna kick it's butt. I ended up working so much harder than I thought I would. Jose played "Mr. Mom" several hours a day more than he usually does (that's what he called it). Housekeeping was the last thing on my priority list, I'll tell you that much. At several points I tried to convince myself to keep trucking and not buy into the vexing thoughts that I had bitten off more than I could chew. It's just one class!, I told myself repeatedly.
I'm older now and I'm a completely different student than I was a good way. This time, it is not just about having fun, floating along in life--this time it's about getting more out of life than just surviving. I'd like to enjoy my time on Earth. That means cutting out the struggling, worrying, fighting and moping.
In January of 2008 I made one little resolution to pray more and worry less. It worked. My blood pressure, which had been "borderline" for a while, even went back to a healthy number. But worrying less only took care of one (major) problem. After I gave birth to Maxine last summer I weighed nearly 200lbs. That's a slow death for a person of my stature. I changed my diet and since then have lost about 45lbs. I'm still not at my goal but I'm damn close. Losing so much weight eventually made me feel worthy. Whether that's right or wrong doesn't matter. That's what happened. I started to feel like I was wasting my life at home washing dishes and changing diapers. I'm fun to be around and I have a lot to offer, I told myself. I should go see what I can get! Yadda yadda yadda, I'm a student again!
This class was a short 6 weeks long, 4 days a week, homework every night, exams and quizzes every week and as a finale, a research paper and related oral presentation. I got a B on the first exam. I wasn't satisfied with that but it served as a gauge for future exams from this professor. I knew exactly what she was looking for at that point. I got an A on the next one and got A+'s on the rest. I also aced the oral presentation, which was a big deal for me because I loathe doing oral presentations. But I warmed up all semester long by contributing to class discussions from my desk and asking lots of questions. Yesterday I took the final exam and I have to say I'm 95% sure I aced that, too. The research paper won't be graded until next week, so we'll see. Even though this is technically a reading class, I earned my A's by writing good essays. I found out writing is my forte as opposed to multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. My teacher said it also helps that I've started reading books instead of watching TV (I stopped watching TV a few months ago when we couldn't afford cable anymore). Reading helps you write better!
Now I'm off for a month before I start the Fall Semester. I'll be taking photography, art history and speech (eeek!). I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully, Jose and I will figure out a way to organize our time as parents and housekeepers. That, I think, is more challenging than working hard for an A+.

Poolside at Dad's

My dad has a GREAT backyard. Not only does it have a pool, a jacuzzi and a comfy covered patio (with a bar area) but it also has a smoker and about eleventy barbeques. Think he likes to cook?

We took the girls over for a pool day earlier this month to celebrate the birthdays of Maxine, Raquel, Debbie and Jose, who are all July babies. This was Maxine's first time in a pool. She loved it. I'm positive Raquel had a blast, too.
Dad and Debbie got two new puppies. They went from "none" to "two" and they're so very well behaved!
The last shot is Raquel playing on Dad's homemade putting green. She's been playing on that thing since she was born. She looks like a mini pro.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Birthday Bash

(This beautiful photo was shot by my friend Hektiklyfe)

Hey! My life was ruined for a few weeks but it's getting back to normal now that I'm not spending hours a day researching and writing and rewriting for school. You would have thought I was taking a full schedule. I think I'm really a perfectionist and the older I get, the more that is true. Today is my first day of relief and relaxation as this morning I turned in my paper and did my oral presentation. I am thrilled to be done and not even half-worried about the final tomorrow.

For this post I will tell you about Raquel and Maxine's birthday bash that happened about a week and a half ago. The party was great. I've never seen Raquel have so much fun. She had lots of kids to play with and couldn't wait to finish opening her presents so she could get back to playing. We had very hot weather that day but Jose installed misters outside to cool us off and they worked quite well. Maxine did not take a nap all day. She, too, was excited. You can see her sleepy face in the picture of her about to eat her cupcake.
Grandma and a bunch of our friends brought food and Jose ended up hiring a taco man so he wouldn't have to BBQ in the heat. A friend I hadn't seen in 13 years showed up with her cute little family. And my sister, Susan, was in town from Virginia. It was a happy day.
(The picture above is by my friend Kitty) And then I took some pictures of myself cleaning up the next morning. Hehe!

Friday, July 3, 2009

We Walked in Two Districts

Old Town Pasadena and The Playhouse District [of Pasadena] are right next to each other. The girls and I took a walk this evening when the sun was about to set. Maxine was strapped onto me in the Baby Bjorn. Raquel carried her Thomas backpack with snacks and other little necessities. Our walk was a delight. Both girls were content and peaceful (so was I).
Raquel posed for this shot. The cart was already tipped over so why not make art out of it?!
Raquel couldn't hold still for that last shot.