Tag Archives: learning

Course correction!

A version of this post appeared yesterday in my “Sistas” community – I’ve mentioned them here previously. So if you’re from there, you’ve read some of this before – but only some of it 🙂

I am so uninspired by the study of corporate/healthcare compliance. I set out on this path because it was the smart thing to do. I still believe it’s smart, but frankly I have spent around 50 years doing the smart thing instead of doing what lights my fire. I sorta don’t want to spend the next 50 doing the same.

I also have to say that the program is poorly run. It’s been one excuse after another as to why the program is a semester behind, why it is disorganized… there has been illness and budget cuts in the criminal justice department, and I get that, but holy guacamole, you’re a freakin’ university, ACT like one! That just makes me want to run further from this program, because it does not seem like this graduate certificate is going to mean much, considering some of the courses were such a mess and I didn’t have to do much to get the grades.

Something went right today (even if it IS two weeks late)And something else – my text book for the current class was back-ordered two weeks, and I am therefore behind a couple of assignments. Healthcare law is FULL of acronyms. Last assignment I completed, it took me two days just to read the 40 pages that were assigned. I’d have to stop, look up the acronym, understand what it meant, and then go back to the paragraph at hand and put it into context. Seriously erodes reading comprehension when everything is an acronym!

When something is this difficult to get done, I tend to think of it as a gauntlet thrown, but maybe it’s actually a Memo From The Universe that I’m on the wrong path. In this case, I think that about sums it up. I am so used to powering through difficulty by sheer force of will – and maybe, at one time in my life, that was appropriate. A little struggle is good for the soul 😉 But now – I don’t think things should always be this obnoxious to get done. I think this is wrong, wrong, wrong, just like praying for a job versus income was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Finally, there’s the timing of this class with the launch of the consulting gig. I have committed to starting that next week, directly after the holiday. I will have ramp-up activities to get through, studying their environment, making connections with people inside an unfamiliar organization, identifying the right resources to get the job done. It’s a no-brainer that I need to focus on penetrating the organization to the near-exclusion of all else.

Welcome to the REAL FloridaThe REAL wake-up call has been my experience this month with the Florida Master Naturalist program. I have been documenting some of my Florida Master Naturalist experience at My Mobile Adventures *~*~*, and I’ve got lots more to share in the coming weeks. It has been stimulating and thought provoking – and also a blast to be amongst fellow nature geeks three times a week, who all wear the same “sporty, functional and you can get ’em wet” shoes that I wear 😛 If you really want to know if you are with your peeps or not, just compare all the shoes. It becomes pretty obvious that these people walk the beaches and the preserves, same as me. 🙂

I TORE through my assignments for the FMN program, but I struggle to stay focused on the stuff for the compliance program. I am normally very academically-minded and can MAKE myself power through stuff I don’t want to do… there. That tells a story too, same as the shoes. I don’t want to do this. And I’m different now than I was when I hung on to the wrong marriage, the lucrative-but-meaningless job, etc.

So, I don’t think I can get a refund for this semester any more, but if I withdraw before July 8th, I can do so without academic penalty. Then I can concentrate on getting the consulting thing off the ground, get the income rolling again, and maybe launch a naturalist blog, do some writing about all this stuff I’ve seen and learned. The reason I want to avoid academic penalty is because the university has a graduate program in Environmental Science, and I want to leave that door open without any black marks on my “permanent record”. Yeah I know, I’ll never be done with school… I’ve always known this about myself, you guys might as well get used to it to 😛 Seriously, I don’t know if I will actually go for that, or even if I qualify with a B.A. in psychology and half a graduate certificate in compliance, but there’s no sense in “dishonorable discharge” if I can avoid it.

Midterm essays are due on 6/30 and I just don’t want to. And you can’t make me. So there. Neener neener.

The icing on the cake – after I consulted with the Sistas, I faxed in my Term Withdrawal Application and emailed my professors to give them a heads-up. I then checked my Facebook News Feed and found some interesting “signs” that validated my actions. I posted these at Memos From The Universe, which is a blog I maintain to record these quirky little “signs”. Go on, have a look and tell me if it isn’t The Universe giving me a nod and a wink and a pat on the back!

Memos From The Universe | Validation From The Universe

Three Wise Women: Gifts From My Personal Magi

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-Rider[pullquote]My friends have entered into an unwitting conspiracy on my behalf – a conspiracy designed to help me see that this is not a time of bell, book and candle…[/pullquote]

“Clock, keys and Light…. clock, keys and Light….”

These words represent ordinary objects routinely encountered in everyday life. But last night, as the ritual annual viewing of “Love Actually” provided a flickering yet sufficient glow for the addressing of Christmas cards, “clock, keys and light” morphed into something akin to one of those pesky “ear worm” songs (Like this one. You’re welcome). Virulently pestilent, “clock, keys and light” repeated itself over and over in my mind with a cadence similar to that of “bell, book and candle”, a phrase used long ago to describe a once-popular method for the excommunication of sinners from the Catholic Church. When used in an excommunication ritual, the “bell” represents a death knell for the sinner’s soul, the “book” is shut to represent cutting the sinner off from the teachings of the Church and the candle is extinguished, leaving the sinner in the darkness of damnation.

(“Bell, Book and Candle” is also the title of a film, a romantic comedy starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novack. I recommend it, if only for the delight of hearing the actors utter one of the great cat names of all time – “Pyewacket”. Go on and say it now. “Pyewacket. Pyewacket. PYEWACKET!” See how delightful that is?)

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You might say that I’ve suffered something of an excommunication recently. Early in September, the bell tolled for the death of my 19 year career at Too Big To Fail. After having handed in my badge, the door slammed behind me and I no longer had access; I was shut out of that institution forever. Darkness descended, sort of a radio silence. I no longer know anything about the day-to-day doings there, or of the people with whom I’d enjoyed daily contact for so very many years.

Whereas “bell, book and candle” are punishments, “clock, keys and light” are gifts. They came to me from some of the intended recipients of the cards I was addressing last night, which is what prompted the chanting inside my head. Oddly – or perhaps not – all three items arrived in the mail within the last month, and all three were sent to me by people I met online. One woman hails from Colorado, another from the Midwest and the third right here in Florida. Ironically, the Floridian is the only one of the three I haven’t actually met – this, despite the fact that until last year, we were at most 30 minutes apart by car.

111220102241-Tinkerbell-tiny-clock“Spotty” is from Colorado. I met her on an internet forum in connection with our mutual love of all things Disney. We’ve attended a few meets together at Walt Disney World, most recently during the inaugural Princess Half Marathon, which she finished despite a very painful knee. Spotty is the one amongst these three online friends with whom I’ve spent the most face-time. The fact that a good chunk of this face-time occurred in a tequila bar should not, in any way, be construed as a commentary on the quality of our interactions. It was fabulously fun face-TIME and therefore, Spotty is naturally the giver of the clock. The clock arrived on November 12th. It’s a tiny, shiny, perfect little gifty-treat, a memento from some anniversary celebrated by Disneyland in California. The face of the clock bears a portrait of my favorite Disney character, Tinkerbell. I did not save the SMS text exchange that preceded its arrival in my mailbox, but I have a vague recollection that Spotty was performing a purge of possessions when she found the clock, and since I am known elsewhere on the internet as “Tink *~*~*”, it made her think of me. I was touched at her thoughtfulness in asking to send it to me.

121120102945-Tinker-Keys“GPC” is a blogger who hails from the Midwest; you can find her at Shedding The Wolf. I originally met her online as “Sandpail Gail” on a forum dedicated to discussion about Sanibel and Captiva, the magical sub-tropical islands which lured me to relocate to Southwest Florida from Da Loverly Isle Of Long. It’s an unfortunate hallmark of the times in which we live; GPC has also been recently “excommunicated” from her career, so we can definitely relate to one another’s current respective plights. In the surprise package from GPC were two key blanks that can be cut to fit the lock of my choice. They are pretty much the same size as my current house keys. These gifts arrived on December 11th and like the clock, they also bear the visage of Tinkerbell.

121420102967-Let-There-Be-LightLast but certainly not least is “Maidenshade”, my fellow Floridian and kindred spirit – so kindred, I’ve actually friended her on Facebook, which is something usually reserved for people I’ve met and spent time with. “Maidenshade” is the name of her business, where she hand-crafts beautiful lampshades and night lights. One day last summer, I was accosted in the aisle of a local home goods warehouse by a massive framed piece of art. It’s a bold and stunningly modern departure for the woman whose home is filled with ornately carved antiques. However, I was inexplicably drawn to it. I knew the moment I clapped eyes on it that the large expanse of bare, white wall over the garden tub in The Palace (my master bath) would henceforth be barren no more. I posted a photo of it to Facebook and now Jen has cleverly gone and made me a beautiful night light to match. I took delivery of it on December 14th and immediately installed it in The Palace, marveling at how impeccably made it is.

121920102989.jpgWhy am I writing about these gifts? Well, it’s like this. I saved the return addresses on all three packages so that I could record them in my contacts list on my phone and send “thank you” notes in the form of Christmas cards. Last night, I assembled all the essential implements of Christmas carding and laid them out on the blue suede damnsofa – the requisite smelly candle (it’s called Yankee Candle “Sparkling Snow”), the seasonal entertainment (the aforementioned DVD of Love Actually – although, Christmas music can also be used), the cards with scenes like Santa posed inappropriately beneath a palm tree, the pens, stamps, return address labels, phone with the contacts list and a cup of Tazo decaf chai.

The first three cards I wrote were for the recipients listed on the return addresses I’d ripped from the packages containing the clock, the keys and the light. And as I was writing, the phrase began to sing in my head – “clock, keys, light…” – which eventually transformed itself into “Time! Answers! Illumination!”

Implements of Christmas cardingMy friends have entered into an unwitting conspiracy on my behalf – a conspiracy designed to help me see that this is not a time of bell, book and candle, not a time of death, imprisonment and darkness. It is, rather, a period in my life rich with gifts. Time, unfettered by work-a-day obligations, is a gift. Time permits me to explore, to discover answers that have lain locked behind obligation and practicality, to open the doors to my secret (so secret, it’s hidden even from me!) calling and illuminate what lies inside.

How did you all know just what I needed, and in just such a combination that would capture and keep my attention and fire my imagination? I think you are all remarkable, but I bet you didn’t – know, that is. There’s another explanation, however – episodic Memos From The Universe. That’s what this is. And I thank you all for answering whatever call from the Universe it was that you heard, which has led me to relax, if just a little, and believe, if only for a day, that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this time, doing pretty much what I’m supposed to be doing.

Love and joy to you all, my personal magi 🙂

Tools Of The Trade – Preparing for the Sanibel Writers Conference

So, have I mentioned that I am going to a writers conference on Sanibel? Four days of immersion in readings, lectures and writing workshops await me. Gary and Tootie are going to let me stay with them so I don’t have to "commute" each morning. This means an extra hour of sleep, which is a precious commodity these days, so their hospitality is much appreciated.

Here are my favorite implements of writing – a marble-covered composition book and a handful of blue ink Bic Stic medium ball point pens in the original "crystal" casing. And they all still have their caps. And none of them are chewed.

Yet! 😉

Years ago, when I was a child first learning to write, these marble-covered composition books came only in black. I have filled a few of the black ones in my time! In more recent years, the marble-covered composition book has become available in a wide array of colors. I’m quite taken with the blue ones; you really can’t expect different from a person blogging from the comfort of her blue suede sofa.

"Marble-covered composition book" is such an iconic phrase. In my mind, it’s right up there with "little red-haired girl" and "you bet your sweet bippy". Repeat these phrases to people of a certain era, and they know exactly what you’re talking about. Language can be a huge part of the shared cultural experience. That’s one of the things it has in common with music, the visual arts and food.

I’ve only just returned to my comfy little home after a long (10 days) stay in Orlando. It feels like a bit of a burden to be leaving again so soon but I am sure that once I get there, I will be happy that I signed up.

Stay tuned!

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