Happy 4th of July


Have a happy and safe holiday weekend.  The Prof D blog will return 7/10/17


Lovers and friends don’t mix

“When a romance ends, would you rather stay in touch with your former lover or break off all contact? Do you have any close friends who were once lovers?.”

It’s so interesting that this question would come up today because my family and I were just talking about it yesterday.

I had a boyfriend for ten years off and on who I remained friends with the whole time. There were a few times in those ten years when one (or both) of us was seeing someone else; but, we remained close. We confided in each other and helped each other through everything. He loved my family too. He was always more than a lover to me; he was one of my best friends.

That is until he came to me one day and informed me that he was seeing someone and she didn’t feel comfortable with him coming over to see me. She felt that it was “weird” that he and I were so close. He walked away after having said that to me, and I never saw him again. He married her a year or so later.

A couple of years after that, he ran into my mother and father at a local craft fair. He stopped and spoke to them for a little bit (she wasn’t there) and commented, once again, that it was because of her that didn’t come around anymore. I don’t know if it’s insecurity or fear on her part (or even if those mean the same thing); but, even then, after having been married for a few years, he still wasn’t allowed to see me.

Again, just the other day, he ran into my sister at a birthday party for a mutual friend’s children. She waved and said hello, but got nothing but a grunt of sorts as he continued passed her.

Ten years ago I was head over heals in love with this man. No one (in my opinion) ever measured up to the way he loved me; which is why we always found our way back to one another (and perhaps why I’m still single).  I don’t know if we were “destined” to be together or not.  I only know that, then, he knew me better than anyone else ever had. Now, he knows nothing about me. He doesn’t know that I made my dream of becoming a writer and professor come true; nor does he know that my mother is sick. I hope, though, that he does know I miss him- more and more every day.

So, to make a long story short, no, I don’t have any friends who I used to love; and, I will never make that mistake again.

Just have a little faith

“How well do you understand yourself? How frequently do you react in ways that surprise you?”

I think I have a pretty good understanding of myself (in general); but, I still surprise myself from time to time. What it boils down to is that we’re always our own worst critics, which makes us doubt ourselves from time to time. There is a saying (from someone) that says “you never really know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have.”

Life has thrown me some pretty crappy curveballs the past couple of years, and I have to say that I’m pretty darn proud of myself for maintaining some semblance of strength. Mind you, I’ve had my moments, and I’m sure I will continue to; but, overall, I’ve been a lot stronger than I ever thought possible.

The one place where I know I falter (a lot) is my ability to do certain tasks. Especially something where I might be able to break something. I never give myself enough credit to realize that I am an intelligent person; I can figure it out! Case in point, just the other day I needed to fix something in the shower. My friend’s husband told me how to do it, and I did, but I was scared the entire time.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -A.A. Milne.

The altercation of life

“What has been the most painful experience in your life? How did it alter your view of the world? How has it affected your life?”

It truly amazes me how quickly one’s life can be altered. It takes less than a minute.

My life was irrevocably altered in March of 2016. I was at work, and my mother called me crying hysterically. She called to inform me that her worst fear has come to life; she called to tell me that she had cancer.

It was at that moment that my life came crashing down around me. With those brief seconds on the phone, my life would never again be the same.

Honestly, I never thought it was possible that I might have to (at such a young age) spend any amount of time without my mother’s love and guidance. I never knew that someone so inherently good could experience something so incredibly heinous. I thought it would be smooth sailing (much like I had witnessed with my cousin and my friend’s mom just months before). I thought she’d go for chemo and then possibly radiation; then we’d be done.

I was wrong! Here we are, more than a year later, struggling to find a chemo to work. Cancer has spread, her spirits and willingness to carry on have faltered, and (understandably so) she is scared. Scared for her life. And there is NOTHING that I can do to help her. NO words to soothe her. NO medicine to quell her pain.

How has it affected my outlook on the world? That’s a tough one to answer. On the one hand, I’m angry because my mom is one of the sweetest, kindest people anyone would ever meet; she’d give you the shirt off of her back even if it were her last one. How can something so awful happen to her? It makes the take care of others and God will take care of you piece of religion seem a bit seem a bit off, doesn’t it?

Then, on the other hand, it’s shown me more and more that life is too short for fear. I’ve learned to do more of the things I want to do.

America: home of the free and (sometimes) under educated.

“If the president called and promised to implement any program or policy that you chose, what would you ask for?”

This is quite interesting, on many levels. First, because if the current president ever called me, I’d have a lot more to say than what this is asking me to say. But, in the interest of holding my tongue and answering the question, I will move on!

If he called me, I think we’d need to have a long talk about the educational system in the U.S. I know that I’m not a genius, but something has got to give. Something has to be wrong with what is happening in schools everywhere. As a college professor, I see students from all over the world. The difference between what the U.S. is producing and what other countries are producing is staggering.

U.S. students are often unable to write a clear sentence, never mind a fully thought out essay. I’ve had students who barely speak English perform better than those from the U.S. And forget about analysis, they have no idea what that even means (most think it’s the same as summarizing). There truly is no higher order thinking in so many of them.

They also seem to want to merely “get by” with as little effort as possible. I’ve even had grown adults tell me that there is just no reason to worry about grammar and spelling because it’s not important outside of school; and, because it’s worth so little concerning the grade, they find it a waste of time. Now I don’t know who made them think that their time is more important than mine, but they do. While they refuse even to try, I have to spend countless hours while grading to explain each infraction just so that they don’t turn around and blame it on me because I never told them.

Trust me when I say that I am NOT blaming the high school teachers (I would never; I was one of them). I blame the administration. They’ve got the teachers so worried about losing their jobs because some self-centered teenager couldn’t care less if they pass a standardized test or not, that they (teachers) don’t have time to worry about much else. They teach to the test to keep their jobs, and that’s not fair. Come on America, something needs to be done!

The “age” old question…

“How would you feel if people regularly guessed that you were ten years older than you are? Ten years younger? What might lead people to guess your age incorrectly?”

Right away, I’m going to go there…age isn’t anything but a number!

In my experience, very few have been able to guess my age, accurately, for many reasons. First, on the positive side, I am blessed with my mother’s “you look so young” genes. On the downside, I was also cursed with my father’s “you’re too young to be this gray” hair. I started to dye my hair around high school and haven’t stopped since.

You can’t guess my age based on my maturity either. I mean, I still giggle when someone says “do do.” Don’t get me wrong, I can be incredibly mature when I need to be; and, I’m endlessly responsible. I just refuse to grow up unless I need to.

Having said that, I don’t think it would bother me either way; as I said, age is nothing but a number. I honestly believe that we’re only as old as we feel; and, I don’t feel old at all. Truth be told, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I will be 40 next year. It just doesn’t seem possible.

The voting paradox

***Warning, the following post contains politial opinion.  Please remember that it is just that, my opinion.  Feel free to debate me if you’d like; you can even prove me wrong.  Just don’t hate!  Haters will be banned***

“When voting, are you more interested in a candidate’s position on issues or in a candidate’s personality and character? Do you feel that you get a real impression of either during an election campaign?”

This is an interesting question; one that I’m not sure there is a good answer to.

I will be the first to admit it when it comes time to vote (especially for President) I tend to procrastinate in doing my research. I find the whole process daunting and more of a chore than I think it needs to be. I do it, though, because it is my right and my duty. Well, that, and because I care about the future of my country.

The problem is that, often, we can’t get a firm idea of how the candidates feel/think about issues because they’re going to say whatever it is that they believe that they need to say to get you to vote. And, of course, watching the debates doesn’t help, because they’re often just speaking over one another or yelling to get the point across. In all honesty, I don’t even watch the debates anymore; I haven’t in a while. Instead, I download the transcripts a few days later and read them; much more peaceful that way.

Then, there are the commercials and constant he said/she said arguments that occur in the media during election time. Those tend to be useless too. Often, they’re grasping at straws.

So, I guess to answer the question- it’s neither. I gather all of the “evidence” that I can find and go with my gut, knowing, of course, that most of what I’m reading is only half true. Obviously, education and women’s rights are important to me, so I do pay close attention to those.

What’s guilt got to do with it?

“How much of what you do is motivated by feelings of guilt? How might your life be different if you never felt and guilt?”

Those are loaded questions because it depends on how you look at it. I can see myself answering this question in two ways.

For starters, I’ve made it my personal goal never to make a promise that I don’t intend to keep. So, often, yes I do things because I promised that I would. Often, when I make a promise, I’m pretty confident that it’s something that I can/will accomplish easily. Unfortunately, things happen, and I don’t always feel much like doing what I promised I’d do. That’s when the guilt sets in and I end up doing it anyway.

Then, there’s the other way to look at it; there are the things I do without having made a promise to do so. And the answer to that one is a big fat NO. I have an unyielding sense of who I am so I’m not likely to do anything out of feelings of guilt. I do what I do because it’s the right thing to do.

So, would my life change would I never feel guilt, yeah, I guess it would. I’d certainly have a lot more free time on my hands. But, there would be a whole of folks out there very disappointed or angry with me. If you think about it, what would I do with all of that free time anyway? A life lived selfishly isn’t worth it in my opinion, and I want my life to worth its weight in gold.

Dating Generation XY

“If you were to try to find a partner through online dating, how would you describe yourself and the kind of person you’re looking for?”

*Sigh* This is one of the many reasons why I hate online dating. I have no idea how I’m supposed to describe myself in words. It actually makes me nervous to think that what I write makes that much of a difference in how a person sees me. Can a paragraph or two REALLY tell them enough to decide whether or not they want to get to know me? I almost feel like getting to know a person should happen organically.

Maybe it’s because I’m one of those Generation XY folks caught in the middle of baby boomers and millennials; and, therefore, never got around to understanding the power of the internet. Just in case you’re wondering: “XY Cusp, also known as the MTV Generation or Doom Generation, was caught between the end of Generation X and start of Generation Y, mainly living out their childhood through the 80s and teen years in the mid-90s. This generation was influenced by the launch of MTV, the popularization of Web technology circa ’95, segmented musical tastes, the evolution of 80s glam fashions into grunge and the remainder of Generation X, many of whom were older siblings. (1975-1985). – answers.com

Anyway, I digress, In terms of what I want, I’m really not picky at all. It’s not like I’m sitting here saying that he needs to be 6’2”, 250lbs doctor. Honestly, I want a man who will love me for me, treat me as an equal, and be faithful. I guess the one arbitrary thing that I’d “ask for” is a non-smoker (my allergies could never handle it). I don’t think that it’s too much to ask for; but according to many of the online dating sites out there, it’s not enough!

Would it help if he were hot? Of course! Would I complain if he were a doctor? NO!

Whatever, I’ll just stay single.

There are two kinds of “good.”

“If you were to give yourself an extra special treat today, what could you do for yourself that would make you feel good?”

I almost feel like this is two different questions because there are two different ways to look at “feeling good.” The first being what I could do for myself that would be an extra special treat and therefore make me feel good, physically; and, then, what I could do that would make me feel good, mentally. Those are two very different things, with two very different answers.

To make myself feel good physically, I’d get laser hair removal. It’s expensive, so it would be a real treat for me. It sucks that it’s so much money. I hate shaving, with a passion. If you had asked me that same question like 10 years ago, I would have likely said get my hair dyed. Now, that’s more of a necessity than it is a luxury; but, whatever, age is nothing but a number.

To make myself feel good mentally, I’d find the time to volunteer more. I keep saying that I’d love to get out there and do some charity work. At heart, I’m very philanthropic; life keeps getting in my way. You know, that pesky thing called work?