Archive for October, 2007

About 12 years ago, when my family was getting heavily into the computer age and I refused to have anything to do with a computer, my husband complained that I was not willing to try new things and claimed I was afraid of technology.

As time went by, I played around with the computer and came to the realization that eventually, our lives will be played out on the computer.  So, I learned the “ways of the computer,” learned the language and became somewhat savvy at researching info for vacations, topics of interest, finding old friends, games, reading, money matters and so forth  (naturally, anyone can be savvy on the computer by giving into time). 

Its just amazing! Even blogging, when u think about it, is not a new concept.  People have always kept diaries.  Why keep a diary if you don’t want anyone to read it?  The whole purpose is to eventually have other people read it and expose your innermost feelings.  Whala! blogging to the rescue!  Now you can have total strangers read your innermost feelings and relate to you.

I thought the computer age had somewhat advanced as far as it could go, but no way.  Low and behold, this past week I was turned onto “Second Life.”     And I mean, second life as in, becoming a whole different person in a whole different place, meeting people, going places, earning money, buying homes, learning to fly as like a bird not in an airplane.  Its a whole fantasy world where u create your avatar, an image of yourself or at least, what you would like to appear like.   It’s unbelievable and its unbelievably addicting.

It gives the computer age a whole new dimension.  I felt as though I were in the Matrix.  In between worlds. I guess the second life is a good place to go when your first life feels overwhelming and you don’t want to drink yourself silly and u just want to be someplace else but can’t afford to go there. 

My daughter is furious with me for getting involved with the program.  She feels its for people who have no life!  I disagree with that statement.  I actually believe its a great place to escape too.  Its like getting a free vacation or a second home.  A place where no one talks back to you, a place where time stands still and its an affordable escape into a world that you’ve created.  Naturally, and I guess, some people will take it seriously and spend alot of time in it and invest real money into their dreams but online.

So, computers have finally found a way to suck some of us in through a time warp.  But hey, thats a second life! Wasn’t it only yesterday that my husband complained that I wasn’t willing to try new things? Well, I went out, got myself somewhat computer savvy and found another life, a second life.  Who says I’m afraid of trying new things now?

What’s it like to have a day off?  I have no idea.   I have a long list that I had made before I started this sabbatical.  A “to do” list and I haven’t even had the time to pick up the list and look at it.  Its already the end of October and I do not foresee a free day until after finals.

So you’re scratching your head or your beard and you’re saying, Pearl, how could that be possible?  Easy, schmeasy! I rarely get up after 8:00 a.m.  I either have classes, studying, homework, tending to parents needs, exercising (to take care of moi), catching up on emails, editing articles on line, interviewing people for the newsletter, preparing projects for school, answering questions on cases at work (yea, the job I work at for the DOE), taking care of all my medical concerns and appointments and then there’s meeting up with people for lunch or dinner to catch up on life.

So, if you wanna know what its like to have lots of free time, you’ll have to ask someone else.

Today Spanish class started out with listening to a song that had verbs we are using .  The song is adorable, the beat terrific and so I want to share it with my readers.   I’m sure there are some words you will know.  Me Gustas tu means “I LIKE YOU”   Its about a young man who is clearly infatuated and wants to express his joy to his love.

  • que hora son mi corazion
  • te lo dije bien clarito
  • permanece a la escuacha
  • 12 de la noche en La Habana, Cuba
  • 11 de la noche en San Salvdor, El Salvador
  • 11 de la noche en Managua, Nicaragua
  • Me gustan los aviones, me gustas tu
  • me gusta viajar, me gustas tu.
  • me gusta la manana, me gustas tu
  • me gusta el viento, me gustas tu.
  • me gusta sonar, me gustas tu
  • me gusta la mar, me gustas tu.
  • que voy a hacer
  • je ne sais pas
  • que voy a hacer
  • je ne sais plus
  • que voy a hacer
  • je suis perdu
  • que horas son, mi corazon
  • me gusta la moto, me gustas tu
  • me gusta correr, me gustas tu
  • me gusta marihuana, me gustas tu
  • me gusta colombian, me gustas tu
  • me gusta la noche, me gusta tu
  • que horas son, mi corazon
  • que horas son, mi corazon
  • radio reloj
  • 5 de la manana
  • no tod lo que es oro brilla
  • remedio chino e infalible

Thank god the anatomy midterm is over! Why is it that when students from my class see me before and after a test, they come over and ask me an anatomy question thinking, I know the correct answer?  Do I look like a geek who has all the answers? Just because I’m older than the rest of the class does that automatically mean I have all the answers? 

Actually, I’m quite flattered that my fellow peers think I might know the right answer.  However, I’m always quite amused by it all. 

The midterm was not as difficult as the Professor made it out to be.  I can see why multiple choices are wrecklessly dangerous and when you get to the fill ins, u sort of wish they were multiple choices available.  The diagrams were easier than I expected but the three essays were thought provoking.  I still can’t figure what the outcome for me on this exam will be but I do know one thing, I am going to start studying for the next test now.

I feel absolutely deflated, exhausted and frustrated.  I feel as though I am watching myself in a movie. I have amnesia and cannot remember who I am or why I am here. Life suddenly feels weird and different. Spending your whole weekend studying after not being in classes for close to 30 years can do that to you. 

Six hours at the college library studying yesterday and all day today studying at home.  I don’t think I spent this much time studying during my five years attending college.  Then again, who had time to study back then.  Clearly, I feel invested in studying.    Today, I switched from studying the textbook to reviewing my notes, the power points and the CD (which I discovered in the back of the textbook today).  However, I just cannot absorb all this material.  I can’t even absorb enough to think I may pass.  Anatomy is a tough course but I don’t regret taking it.  Its starting to feel  as though I’m in a pre-med class.  Its a wonder that I even remember what I ate for breakfast this morning let alone thinking about how the food goes down and what happens in the process.  This is exactly what I am trying to do.  Think it all through, logically!

It’s mind boggling to remember the internal and external intercostal muscles.  or which direction the posterior cricoarytenoid goes to create vibrations, or naming the nine pairs of cartilages in the layrnx, having to remember words like: serratus posterior, sternocleidomastoid (yep, thats one word), rhomboideus major and minor, thyroartenoid, mylohyoid, sternothyroid, laryngeal depressors and elevators, the bernoulli effect, boyle’s law, what makes up the nasal cavity (besides the septum folks!), what four bones articulate from the lacrimal bones, and many other questions.    WHEWWWWWWWW!  I can’t wait for tomorrow to be over and theres so much more to learn.    This is turning into a radically intense moment.   But hey! I’m on a sabbatical and I have no regrets just wish I had a better memory.  I even made Ed look at the guidelines today (for the second time) from the UFT concerning the classes I take.  I specifically asked him to read it aloud and make sure that I correctly read that “one need not pass the course.”   Thank god for unions!

The truth of the matter is, we (meaning the older generation aka: baby boomers) are not use to being evaluated on everything we do.  So returning to the classroom and being tested every two weeks  is a bit intimidating.  I mean lets face it,  the syllabus states there will be a “quiz” every two weeks than a midterm. Than again quizzes every two weeks than another midterm, one more quiz, than a final.  Does this sound rational?  Two midterms?  Actually, is this anyway to learn?

I understand the Professor is trying to make sure she fits in all the coursework within a specific timeframe, but the real question is are the students learning and/or gaining anything? Are they developing a true understanding of the beauty of how speech works?    I truly doubt it.  Of course there’s always one or two students who have the capabilities of memorizing it all and getting 100’s on all the tests.  But are they learning? 

I so happen to feel that Anatomy of Speech, Language and Hearing is amazing!  It’s a museum of art and movement.  We go through all the motions without even realizing it.  Maybe I have a certain appreciation for it because I work in the field of deafness and hearing impairments. Or maybe its just because of my age?

After learning whats involved in the whole process (even though I may not remember it all), the fact that sound can come out of our mouths is just mind boggling and takes my breath away (which means my vocal folds are wide open and a bit strained)  lol!   This is life and I am getting the opportunity to stop and look at it.  Maybe the answer for me, is to just sit back and learn, take it all in, and not feel pressured by the Professors obligation to test us, evaluate us and judge our knowledge based on a grade. 

The History of the Middle Finger

Well, now……if I can’t remember all the other stuff I’ve learned, I’ll
certainly remember this one!

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory
over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured
English soldiers.  Without the middle finger it would be impossible to
draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable
of fighting in the future.  This famous English longbow was made of the
native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as
“plucking the yew” (or “pluck yew”).

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset
and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the
defeated French, saying, “See, we can still pluck yew!”

Since “pluck yew” is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant
cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals
fricative F’, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the
one-finger-salute!

It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the
longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as “giving the bird”.

IT IS STILL AN APPROPRIATE SALUTE TO THE FRENCH TODAY!

And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing.

I am absolutely numb from just reviewing the first chapter in my Anatomy book.  We are required to know the first 300 pages in our textbook in addition to diagrams.  As I was reviewing my notes from day 1, the first thing that popped up in my head while testing myself on naming the tissues in the body was to say, Kleenex, Americas choice, …………

Its one thing to have to memorize one chapter but eight chapters is a bit much.  I’m trying not to stress over this but its not easy.  I want to do well but why do I have to prove it through a test?  I mean, afterall, I can fail a test but still have learnt a great deal.  Its just mind boggling and I will have much more empathy on my son.

Then again, I can’t believe how little time I have for doing things I had started out thinking I would do during this sabbatical.  I had hoped to clean out Sharon’s room and turn it into something nice.  I’ve thrown alot of junk in there.  I had hoped to clean up the basement, empty out the attic and maybe even the garage. 

I’ve spent more time in the campus library then I do with Ed and this weekend is going to be even worse.  How do these students manage absorbing all this info?  Just thinking about all the information I need to remember makes me dizzy.  Maybe I can claim the bird ate my book or I got stuck in an elevator all weekend and didn’t have my books on me?

Oh well, thank god its friday……but which to choose to do? studying? or  lemon drop martini? studying? or lemon drop martini? studying? or lemon drop martini? lemon drop martini? l e mmmmmmmm  ooo hot m artinnnnnnnnnnnniii

I am so glad I went to classes today because my day started out with totally wanting to avoid it.  Anatomy was great fun, especially before the Professor arrived.  A bunch of us were discussing how difficult the workload is in this class. Everyone had a story.  I started complaining that because of my age I wasn’t sure I’d get through this midterm because of all the memorization.   Suddenly I heard a choir of students yell out, “NO, we’re all having the same problem Pearl.”  They continued to share with me how difficult it was for them to remember all the material and that the Professor was overwhelming the class with too much information.  I felt so much better and it was so sweet of them to have shared that info.

 I got my first big Spanish test back.  Got an 81! Jeesh, go know a hard of hearing girl like me would do so well in Spanish when I can barely understand English.  Then I got my midterm back in Disorders of Speech, Language and Hearing.  Got a whopping 90!  I haven’t seen a 90 in years.  Maybe even centuries.  It was a great day.  Now to prepare for the big anatomy test on monday.  I don’t care what my classmates said, I’m claiming dementia.

The Professor had a look of total dissatisfaction when she walked into the classroom holding our test papers in her hands.  Shaking her head, she stated that 75% of the class had failed her “quiz” and she could not understand what our problem with this was?  I immediately turned to my buddy Jean and said, I don’t know what you plan to claim, but I plan to claim alzheimers.

Jean had failed the first quiz and I specifically told her that I was not well versed on the larynx and should not think of copying off my paper for the second quiz…lol.  Well, Jean and I got the same grade on the second quiz and we both laughed. I looked at her and said, “u didn’t did u?”   Of course, those of us who did poorly are suppose to feel better by the fact that the teacher will drop your lowest grade on the quizes.  Then why bother with two midterms for gripes sake?  What happens when u know the material on the quizes but now have to go back and study from the beginning for the midterm?  Seems like cheap thrills for the professor.  I think they love to watch us sweat.

The professor informed us that next weeks midterm is on the first 300 pages of the textbook!    All I can say is  $%@#&^%##$%@#  Is it time to graduate yet?

Took my first midterm today, yea, thats right, on a Sunday.  I didn’t take it as scheduled last week as my Professor offered for me to take it today so I can focus on my anatomy and spanish test.  SHE IS SO SWEEEEEEEEEEEET.  Of course when she first made the offer I didn’t understand it as that. Sometimes I’m just thick headed. 

 Anyway, I thought I was prepared, I had hoped I was prepared but multiple choices and true/false questions, always leave me floundering.   There were two essays as well and those were not too bad though I had to wing one of them.  I can only do what I can do.

I had to laugh though.  There were four of us waiting for the Professor to arrive.  Now honestly, this class is a no brainer but I guess having experience working with teachers and children helps.  All the students waiting looked frantic, hovering over their notes for last minute absorption.  

One of the students came over to me and said,  “what does remediation mean?”  I had to ask her to repeat twice because my brain and my ears could not believe they were hearing correctly.  I finally repeated, “remediation?”  and she responded, yea.   I said, remediation is tutoring.  She thanked me and walked away.   What I really wanted to say was, if you don’t know the meaning of remediation, do u really think u should be in any field requiring language?

And here I thought I was slow!