Friday, August 29, 2014

all in a (studious) week

Things have changed. Sometimes I go backwards in this blog and look at the 'all in a week' posts from last year. So many activities, so many landscapes, each one matched with the perfect alcoholic apres.

Now? Lots of conversion factors and fluorescent lights. The AB tech math lab followed by private tutoring night-capped with my kitchen table flooded in paper. Not much alcohol as it appears I have interstitial cystitis and I pay dearly for every drink I drink. I found that out this week.  

I don't think the Urologist office will make the post because I could not get a fun-feeling photo out of that place. I tried.

I suppose that's what makes this weekly photo roundup interesting to me, though. How things change.   
1. 94 degree days every day, the dog slouches through her walks 2. my highlighter broke open in my mouth 3. chemistry 4. celebrated one year! 5. weekend in Durham 6. bent creek trails as the sun goes down 7. I saw one friend this week, she made me dinner, I remembered that I like having friends. 8. the dog cooling off 9. late night at Cosmic Cantina with Dave's oldest friends 10. my 'quick ride before studying' became a two hour doozy when I got fantastically lost. 

If you love staged photos of tremendous studying, the dog, and the occasional outdoor sport, follow me @melinadream #longroadtonursingschool

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Dry Lab

My chem lab partner is just a little guy. He has neat, close cropped hair and big handle-bar ears. When I sit down next to him, he smiles and extends his hand.

"You must be one of those super-kids who skipped high school," I say.

His skinny shoulders blades rise and fall. "Not really. I'm just doing a cross-over program and taking my science class here."

 I like this little guy immediately. He's much smaller then any of the kids I used to teach in high school. I have the sudden urge to take him under my wing. Show him the ropes. Be the cool older-girl-chem-partner who talks to him about Ipods, and which local hang-outs have the cheapest wings on Tuesdays. I could help him beef up his college essay. One thing is for sure- he'll definitely brag about me to his high school pals. I smile at him and swing my hair off of my shoulder. "Wow!" I tell him. "Smarty pants!"

We watch a half hour video about lab safety. When the video is over, the teacher turns on the lights and tells us to start working on Lab #1 in our books, a 'Dry Lab.' "Mostly just an overview of conversions. Shouldn't take you too long and you're welcome to leave when you're finished."

"That rocks." I whisper to my new friend. He gives me a shy smile and turns to his book.

 The room goes quiet. The only sound is the furious scratching of pencils from all of the students except one. Me. It's been thirteen years since my last chemistry or math class, and the page full of equations in front of me may as well be in Russian. I have absolutely no clue where to start, and the teacher has left the room.

I stare. Across the table from me, someone flips to the next page.

"Um," I say, leaning over to the little guy. "Where did you get that number?"

He opens his book to a page of conversions factors and points.

"But that's a positive number...?" I falter.

"If you put the number on the bottom, you just make it negative before you cross multiply."

"Oh." I say. Then, "Why?"

He tries explaining for a minute, but he doesn't do a great job. He looks a little confused too, although not about the material.

A few more minutes go by. The teacher is still gone. I sketch an octopus on the side of the paper. Eight legs.

Finally, I whisper to the boy, "So, where are you going to college?"

He looks up. "Don't know. I haven't thought that far ahead."

Oh no. "Are you a junior?"


Oh God he's a sophomore. He's a zygote. And he's racing through the problems with neat little numbers that all line up. I study his work, trying to orient myself. "Okay, um, how did you get that number up there?"

He looks down at this paper, starts pointing to an equation, and then hesitates. "I really don't know how to explain it," he says, obviously feeling bad. He looks over at my page, the octopus, then up at me, and I see it. In his eyes. Not annoyance, not anger, but pity.

And let me tell you, you've never felt shame like the shame that comes with having your skinny little lab partner, who is exactly half your age, feel very, very, very bad for you, on the first day of what is amounting to be a very, very, very long year. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

All in a week

1. beautiful blue ridge mountains 2. return to algebra- my first day of math tutoring 3. long ride on my last day of summer 4. I made spring rolls. this is not a food blog. but I made them 5. the dog in her mountain nest 6. we are down to the tiny details in the new house!!! 7. queen of the wild blueberries 8. hiking black balsam knob 9. I just really liked this twirly thing 10. lakeside picnic for Dave's school 11. Kelli rides through the green, humid Bent Creek 12. it's much hotter than Seattle, and there aren't bodies of water at the end of every block. Finding swimming spots is my latest challenge. 

If you like photos of the dog or the mountains, follow me on instagram @melinadream 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

my big, white bed

I know I'm getting older because I don't take as many pictures of myself. I don't really like the way I look in them anymore. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm ugly. It's just I no longer think I'm pretty enough to warrant being the sole subject of a photo.

But I still take just as many pictures, which has put the load squarely on:
There are a lot of very pretty bloggers out there. Has anyone else noticed that? I daresay there seems to be a correlation between being pretty and skinny and having a popular site.

Sometimes I poke around on those big famous blogs and I've noticed that they all have a few things in common. 

One is cheekbones. Cheekbones and adorably mess hair. 

I don't have cheekbones unless I am sucking a viscous liquid through a straw, and believe me when I say that when someone near me has a camera, I rush to find a drink.

Another thing these very famous blogger all have is a big, white bed. White everything! White sheets, white comforter, white pillow cases over white pillows and a big white wall behind them. There's usually something to decorate the wall, something minimal, like a bone or a feather or a thread. 

The bed makes the big blogs a lot. There are a disproportionate number of pictures of the bed, sometimes with curly haired toddlers messed up in the sheets, or tiny swaddled infants sleeping right there in the center.  

I don't have any kids, but nothing was stopping me from having that big white famous-blogger bed. Colors? Patterns? Not in my house! Not anymore! 

I found all the white linens at TJ Maxx. Then I set it all up and called a few friends to brag about my big, crisp, immaculate white bed.  

"That sounds risky," they said. (I tend to night-eat. And other reasons.)

But I am a grown up so I didn't worry. 

I had a great first night in that bed, in my new bedroom in our new house, although I was almost too excited to sleep. I stared at the ceiling for a while, imagining the fame that was waiting for me right around the corner, now that I had this effortlessly minimal existence. The next morning morning I planned to drink a little cup of coffee on a big wooden table. Later in the afternoon I'd busy myself by placing a sprig of white flowers into a mason jar. 

But instead, I made the bed the next morning and found blood. Little spots of blood randomly dotting the sheets and the duvet cover.

First, the anger hit. Then the frustration. Then the fear. Did that blood come from me?? How? When? From where? CANCER?


Dave came home that night and I sat him down and solemnly explained the situation. I did not go into detail about my hopes and dreams regarding the white bed, and how they were all dead now. He wouldn't understand. I focused instead on how it was probably me who was bleeding, from an unknown orifice, at an unknown hour, and the big bad things that lay in store for me.

He studied my face for just a moment. Then he pulled up his pant leg and showed me the scab on his leg. "I picked at it all day long yesterday," he said. "It was really bleeding."

I was really relieved. But the fact remains that my white bed didn't even last one night. I decided to dab at the the spots with my Shout Pen, but not to pull the sheets off and wash them. Wrestling my feather comforter into that duvet cover AGAIN is too much. It's too much. 

No kids, no white bed, no cheekbones. And not as much to write about these days, because I'm back in school. Back to being the star of Asheville Buncome Technical Community College. 

That's right. 

I don't know who I am anymore.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

all in a week

First week back in Asheville after a while, first 'all in a week' after a really long while.

1. a short, sweet visit with Charles and Sarah 2. late summer afternoon on the river 3. fitting in as many long, woodsy walks with the dog as I can before school starts 4. solo art show by the talented Kati Bird 5. back on the bike at bent creek 6. breakfast at Sunny Point 7. rewards after long days of house projects 8. farmers market haul 9. wine wednesday with all. of. the. dietitians.