Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life Lessons

For all the youngsters who may be following, I would like to share with you some life lessons I've learned throughout my 28 years and 10.5 months on this planet. 

These are my lessons I would highly recommend you learn the hard way:

  • The value of a dollar:  I've worked my ass off my entire life.  That doesn't mean I haven't slacked off.  Everyone needs to slack off here and there.  The more you slack off, the lazier you become.  The lazier you become, the less you shower.  The less you shower, the less people want to hang out with you.  Back the value of a dollar, though... work for it.  Establish a work ethic.  Be someone an employer wants to hire - not laugh about when you leave the interview.  
  • Geography 101: Yeah, yeah, yeah... I thought I was applying for a job in Arkansas because I messed up the whole AR/AK abbreviation thing.  A common mishap - could have happened to anyone.  BUT, not everyone takes the job in Alaska after thinking they were applying to Arkansas.  That takes a very brave individual.  Or, a stupid individual.  However you look at it, that mistake played an important role in the development of Melissa.  As long as I'm talking about geography - quit buying GPS gadgets.  You're missing out on the thrill of getting lost.  Seriously - if I had a GPS, I would not have discovered that taking a wrong turn off of Hwy. J in Wausau could land you in Birnamwood.  Or, that missing an exit could take you 2 hours out of the way.  Had I taken the exit, my sister Colleen and I wouldn't have had our quality bonding time extended two additional hours. 
  • How well you work under pressure: There really is no other way to learn this lesson.  Put off a research paper until the night before it's due.  Be the first to arrive on the scene of an accident.  Be a restaurant server on Valentine's Day.  
  • English is not a universal language:  I encourage you to go some place where you can't communicate with anyone.  Learn another way of life.  Expand your horizons.  Miss your exit on a city bus in Cancun at 11:00 PM and see where you end up.  Better yet - go to Cancun without hotel reservations and let the cab driver find you a place to stay.  Even if you don't believe in God, you just might find yourself talking to Him.  
  • The Luxury of Having a Travel Agent: I recently realized I am getting old.  Back in my Alaska days, I used to book my own flights home for holidays.  One particular flight started in Ketchikan, Alaska.  From there I flew to Seattle.  After Seattle, I went to Oakland, CA.  From Oakland, CA, I went to Boise, Idaho.  After Boise, I was supposed to go to Denver.  Luckily, I flew standby and was able to skip Denver and go right from Boise to Chicago.  From Chicago, I finally made it to Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee.  That little 6 city tour took 27 hours and cost close to $1,000.  It was round-trip, so I did get to do the whole thing in reverse.   Lost luggage both there and back, as well.  While a travel agent cannot guarantee no lost luggage, they can certainly make the trip a little less daunting. 
 Lessons I don't recommend learning the hard way:

  • Broken Bones: When someone is spinning you around by the arms, use your words wisely.  Saying "drop me" just might result in a severely broken collar bone. 
  • Are you cut out for med school?  Med school is not for everyone.  If you're thinking about it, think about it hard.  Take a chemistry class and see how that goes for you.  If you're still thinking about it, do a YouTube search for a live autopsy.  If you're like me, you'll be passed out cold on the office floor before the Y-cut is even complete.  When you come to, you'll look into other professions.  If you can handle the autopsy, the chemistry, the physics, the anatomy & physiology, the $150,000+ tuition bill, and the gazillion years for college - you're ready for med school.  
  • Use Craigslist with Caution: Craigslist is one of my favorite places on the Internet.  I have booked tons of photography gigs through Craigslist, booked tons of music gigs, bought a beautiful rocking chair for $15, found a set of ice cream parlor chairs that I refinished and could sell for over triple what I paid for them (but I won't because they are awesome).  I've found camera accessories, cars, roommates, and apartments.  I also ended up doing a ride-share to Missouri with two lesbians - one had antlers tattooed across her chest and wore a coonskin cap - complete with tail.  Luckily, so far none of my Craigslist encounters have been featured on Dateline, 20/20, or some other news program that talks about people being robbed, beaten, raped, or murdered because of Craigslist.  Go with your gut when it comes to these things.    
  • Texting While Driving is DUMB: Don't do it.  If I see you texting and driving, you're going to see my middle finger.  Unfortunately, you're not going to notice my middle finger because the odds are - you won't be paying attention.  Just like you'll miss the stop light, the semi, the school bus, or whatever else that seems less important than whatever you're texting...

Other things to ponder...
  • When they say no water in your water bottle when going through airport security - they mean no water in your water bottle.  
  • There are some things in life worth losing a night's sleep over.  A grade point average is not one of them.  
  • About 95.6% of the things I have stressed over turned out to be not-so-bad.  
  • "If you're going to make a mistake, make it loud enough for all to hear." - An orchestra conductor at a workshop I went to in middle school.  
  • There's no use crying over spilled milk... but ask my sister, Shannon, about 8 gallons of paint.

That is all for now.  I may have to make a "part 2" of this post.  Let me keep thinking...

    Sunday, March 27, 2011

    Top Ten Ways to Entertain Myself During the Graduation Ceremony

    So, I have been warned that the graduation ceremony is long and boring.  It's important to plan ahead for these things, so here is my list of things I can do to entertain myself during the ceremony:

    The Top Ten Ways to Entertain Myself During the Graduation Ceremony:

    10.  Bring my laptop to search for jobs.

    9.  Order a pizza and tell the delivery person to bring it to the girl in the black gown and cardboard hat. 

    8.  Play doh, crayons, and coloring books. 

    7.  Catch up on sleep from the all the nights of studying... oh wait... I never studied, nor did I miss a night of sleep. 

    6.  It's too bad Psychology isn't spelled Spychology.  Then, I could shake hands with everyone and say, "Hey.  I have my B.S. in B.S.  - Bio Sychology." 

    5.  Finish my literature review.

    4.  Call my mom, stand up on my chair, and ask if she can see me!!

    3.  Floss my teeth with my tassel.

    2.  Repeat number 4.  But this time, call Dad. 

    And the number one way to entertain myself during the graduation ceremony is . . .

    1.  Make like a senior and skip the ceremony and go right to the party.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    This is the Title of this Blog Entry

    I not only picked up my cap and gown today, I did it in typical senior fashion.  Cap & Gown pick up was scheduled from 2:30 - 5:30 today in the Student Union.  Well, I had Biopsychology lab from 1:00 - 2:50.  At 2:25 I excused myself, ran my out-of-shape behind across campus, bought a soda and drank it, then lined up with all of the other eager-to-get-the-hell-out-of-here graduates.  Grabbed the cap and the gown and ran my still-out-of-shape behind back to the other end of campus, up two flights of stairs, and interrupted the lecture when I came in - carrying my cap and gown.  And then it dawned on me - I should have put it on before I barged in.  Duh.

    To make it EVEN BETTER, the professors were in the middle of discussing data we've been collecting for two weeks.  My partner and I somehow obtained the wrong data and numbers that should have looked like this: 0.612, 0.432, 0.1204, 0.002343, etc...  ended up looking more like this: 125436.43, 243476.31, 464,345.66, etc.  These were bird brains we were analyzing.  Apparently, our bird was one of the prehistoric ones that we thought were extinct.

    Six week left in the semester and the damn literature review has still not written itself.  DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE?

    Here's my to-do list:
    • Biopsychology Exam TOMORROW MORNING!
    • Edit photo sessions from last Wednesday (2 of them)
    • Edit photo session from last Saturday (1 of them)
    • Clean apartment
    • Pick up baby chicks for Easter photos
    • Set up backdrops
    • Take lots of pictures ALL weekend
    • Edit pictures rest of weekend
    • Figure out what I want to be when I grow up by Monday at 3:00 PM and share it with other students who are only coming to the career presentation because they need it for their iWebfolio
    • Research a career in Biopsychology and submit it to the DropBox by Monday night
    • Hurry up and make it look like I've made progress on the research/lit review
    • Lab Quiz next Thursday
    • Written Lab Report due next Thursday
    • Gig at Canadian Honker next Saturday (PRACTICE!!!!  MAKE TIME TO PRACTICE!!!)
    • Put Power Point together for hospice presentation
    • Do the hospice presentation
    • Find an apartment
    • Move . . .    . . .   . . . AGAIN!
    Side story - I applied for an internship today.  As part of it, they conduct a background check.  Sometimes you need extra space to list all of your employers.  Or, maybe all of your education?  I also need additional space for where I've lived the last 7 years:  Weston Avenue, Klowack, AK, Weston Avenue, again, 6th Street, Cass Street, Cameron Ave, Main Street, Hemlock Drive, and 19th Street. . .

    That just made me REALLY crabby.  Moving makes me crabby.

    Back to the To-Do List...
    • Photograph 1st wedding of the season next month
    • Lori McKenna concert in Chicago - ONE MONTH FROM TONIGHT - 
    • Graduation Party Planning
    • Music Fest - in Winona
    • Gig in Green Bay
    • I think I need to stop here for right now .  .   .   .   . 

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Spring Break: What Day is It?

    I woke up this morning with Nolan on top of me and his Thomas the Train jammies right in my face.  "What time are you gonna get up, Aunt Kiki?"  I looked at the clock: 6:22 AM.  "In ten minutes." I answered.  "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!"  And apparently I was supposed to get up, so I did.

    I tripped over a bunch of toys on the way to the bathroom.  Shannon and Mark aren't coming home until Thursday, so unless someone breaks a limb in this mess, I think it can wait.

    Today, Nolan goes to daycare & Madeline spends the day with me.  It's a good thing the kids love doing homework with me because that is what is on the agenda this morning.  I know it goes against everything I stand for, but research needs to be done and someone decided to give two exams next week.

    Seven years of college and I can't figure out how to use Shannon & Mark's coffee pot.  I am going to go give it another try, or else today is just not going to be pretty.

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Spring Break: Day 2 & 3

    We started the day off with cartoons and juice.  I believe we watched Penguins of Madagascar.  That has to be one of my favorite cartoons right now.  A few episodes of Spongebob followed and I was ready to throw a pineapple at the television.  So, we shut it off and played with Play Doh.

    We stayed in our pajamas through breakfast.  And lunch.  And nap time.  It was awesome.

    At 3:00, we started getting ready for Hansel & Gretel at The Grand Theater.  We picked up Aunt Colleen and went downtown.  Found parking.  Waited in the lobby for Nana Wanda.  Found our seats.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The 4:00 show started WAY after 4:00 PM, but Nolan and Madeline were great sports!  Nana Wanda on the other hand... let's just say she's lucky she didn't get sent out to the car.

    After the show, we went to Grandpa Larry's house and had dinner with him.  Then, it was back home for a bath and bedtime!  It was a nice quiet evening to prepare us for our big trip to Mall of America.  And then, Erin arrived.  With Gunner!!!

    Sleeping was not on his agenda for the night. Nolan & Maddie drifted off into La La Land and Gunner and I walked around the house, sang lullabies, and drank bottles.  Well, he drank the bottles.  Finally, around 11:00 PM, we were in bed and starting to doze off.  Gunner doesn't just fall asleep; he puts on a production.  It begins with fussing.  Then, there is a period of flailing around, tossing, turning, and grunting.  Then, he starts moaning.  After about 45 minutes of this, he's out.  

    So, he woke up at 1:00 AM to begin his production all over again.  And then again at 3:45 AM.  And then we just decided to call it good and wake up at 4:55 AM.  

    It's amazing how much I can accomplish with a one-year-old attached to my side.  We picked out Nolan and Madeline's clothes for the day, picked out my clothes for the day, brushed my teeth, showered, and packed two travel bags.  I made Nolan and Madeline waffles with Gunner standing up at my feet and clinging to my leg to keep him steady.  Talk about multi-tasking, I fed Gunner a bottle while putting on makeup. 

    Colleen showed up at 7:15 and we finished getting everybody ready, then loaded the car for the 190 mile trip to the Mall of America.

    Gunner cried and fussed almost all the way to Eau Claire.  There was about a 45 minute stretch where everyone in the car (except me) was sleeping.  And then, Gunner woke up and fussed the rest of the way to Minnesota.  We were ALL relieved when we finally made it! 

    We parked the car, loaded up the stroller, and away we went.

    Madeline Making Sure She's Tall Enough!!
    They couldn't reach the buttons!

    So cute!!  Gunner LOVES his Aunt Colleen!
    Madeline behind the wheel was a little scary to watch!

    Aunt Colleen having more fun than the kids!
    Gunner thought the Dippin' Dots were AWESOME!
    I was getting sick just watching them on these things!!
    He wasn't feeling very good!  This picture sums it up.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Spring Break 2011: Wausau Vallarta

    Shannon and Mark (my sister and brother-in-law) left for Mexico yesterday.  This is their third year of planning their trip around my spring break so that I can spend time with Nolan & Madeline.  It's one of my favorite times of the year!

    The kids spent the night at aunt Colleen and Zach's last night, so I met them for breakfast this morning.  We wasted no time in going to Target.  I put Madeline in the cart.  In the most drawn out voice ever, she announced to the store: "I... NEEEEED  a  NAAAAP!!"  I forgot what it's like to shop with kids.  "I want that!"  "Buy me this!!!"  "STOP!!!  What does that baby doll do?"  "HEY!!  YOU DIDN'T BUY ME NOTHIN', YET!"  So, we went to the dollar section and I let them stock up on junk.  Like... Nolan's new hat and Madeline's headband:

    Then, we went to Micheal's.  I bought some clay and paints for us to experiment with.  We went home and tried it out.  Play Doh is better.  Much better.  So, I have this bucket of clay...

    For lunch, I made my gourmet mac & cheese.  I spiced it up with hot dogs.  And then, Madeline had a minor meltdown.     

    So, I took one for the team and went down for an afternoon nap!!!  It was heavenly.

    This evening, we made pizza for dinner, spread beach towels on the floor, and had dinner in Wausau Vallarta.  Here's our video wrap up of the day:

    Now, we're watching Fantastic Mr. Fox and I'm searching craigslist to try and find yellow chicks for Easter pictures.