chasingwonderwoman

Seeking Dry Land

I don’t know if I can do this anymore.

Not so much the blog, although clearly from the increasing lengths of time between each post, that is obviously in jeopardy as well, but I mean school.  I just don’t know if I can do it anymore.

About two months ago I was promoted to the manager of my department in a field that is fairly new to me. It is a wonderful opportunity and shows the faith that my supervisors have in my work and value. Consistently, the word I use to describe these first few weeks is … “overwhelming”.  When I am being very honest, I admit that although I never learned how to swim, I imagine this would be what it feels like to be tossed in an ocean and begin to drown.

I’ve never had a job where it seems like the work is endlessly bad.  There is no happy moment, there is no silver lining. Instead it feels like one insurmountable problem after the next, after the next.  Since taking this job I have lost whatever small interest I had in having fun, I’ve doubled my alcohol intake and I start each day counting down the minutes, praying for the moment when I can say, okay that’s it for the day.  Sometimes that’s after 7 non-stop hours, sometimes 8, sometimes 10.  Whenever it ends and I call it quits, I immediately start thinking, I can’t believe I have to wake up tomorrow and do this all over again.  I may not be a therapist, but I don’t think that’s a healthy way to live.

So, I’m worried about taking on my next class this spring.  I wonder if I should take a break because maybe this wonder woman stuff is as mythical as the character.  I wonder if I can handle it without having a bit of a melt down.  The only reason I made it last semester through my Philosophy class with an A, is because frankly it was pretty easy. By the time I truly got my hands into this job, the class was just about wrapped up. I had already done enough good work to secure an excellent grade for the semester.

I have 72 credits and I need 120 to graduate.  I don’t do the math often, because it depresses me how much further I have to go.  I know if I skip this semester there’s a very real chance, I may skip another and another and not finish this journey. As has been the case so many times in my past.  But there’s a very real chance if I try to tack on a class to the other parts of my life… this hellacious job, a college bound high school senior, a father receiving mediocre care in a nursing home, an abysmal love life, and a live in mother with rapidly fading memory…I may not make it. Some part of me, just may not make it.

I feel like there must be a lifesaver out there somewhere on the horizon. That I just need to keep my head above water long enough to see it, to reach for it, to hold onto it and let it help me to dry land.    Read more…

How Ugly The N-word Can Be

August 26th was the first day of my fall semester class of Ethics and frankly it hasn’t been all that eventful.  The reality is college is pretty monotonous.  You search for classes on-line, you register for class, you pay for class (you cry), you take class, you hate your annoying classmates, you silently judge your professors, you study (or not), you take (and hopefully) pass exams, then you finish class, get your grade and you start all over again. The point of chronicling this journey isn’t to document the minutiae of each course I take, but rather to keep me energized to keep trudging through the minutiae by relating it to what’s happening in my life and in turn perhaps motivate some other student along the way.

Philosophy 1104: Philosophy and Social Ethics is a course designed, it feels, to thoroughly confuse me. Once we learn about a particular philosopher’s argument about morality we then quickly learn why that same philosophy is riddled with flaws and inconsistences.  It seems that the more mankind has explored the questions of “why are we here” and “what are we supposed to do with this life”, the more mankind has discovered that they have no real idea.  What does it mean to be moral? That appears to be the question that everyone from Plato, to Socrates, to Mills and Freud have tackled. Centuries later, their pontifications provide the backbone of modern day study which are applauded as ground breaking hundreds of years after their deaths.  What a legacy! In today’s day and age people post funny videos of their cats on YouTube to secure their long term legacy. Sad.

My professor, a very young, laid back Philosophy major studying for his doctorate, paints dozens of scenarios each Monday and Wednesday night in which our class explores ethical dilemmas.  So far we haven’t addressed the ethics of friendship but I find it easily applicable to the cases we have explored. Friendship is a funny thing, it requires something that other institutions like marriage, parenting, and family, don’t – – it requires you to stay in it because you want to, not because you have to.  With adult friendships you CAN walk away without much baggage. True it can be at times painful to end a friendship, but there isn’t a social stigma in breaking up with your friends the same way there is with divorcing your spouse, putting your kids up for adoption, or institutionalizing a family member. Friendship exists because it’s important to both parties in the friendship, not necessarily to anyone else or to the larger society.  If you don’t like something a friend does, if it feels wrong, or not quite right, or downright crappy then you have the option to forgive and forget or end the friendship.  You may lose other friends in choosing the latter option, but generally speaking, the choice is yours with minor long-lasting repercussions. Few people spend multiple years as adults in friendships that give them little to no positive return.  Simply put, if your friend’s not nice to you, then eventually you cut them loose, you move on.

In my first 8 weeks of Ethics, I have discovered that at the core of most philosophical teachings is getting to the root of what makes humans act and which actions are right and which actions are wrong.  It’s a fascinating discussion because in my mind, up to this point, what is wrong and right is everyone’s individual opinion.  If you think it’s wrong to jaywalk and so you never cross the street without the traffic light being green, then that’s what you hold important.  If your best friend crosses on the red, are they wrong? Or because it doesn’t matter to them, are they right and you’re wrong? Ah, the twists and turns of philosophical debate.  But jaywalking is a pretty lackluster example.  The scenario gets more challenging when we start talking about much more weighty topics such as abortion, gay rights, veganism, and corporal punishment — just to name a few. And even juicier still when it comes to that precarious state we call friendship. At what point do differing opinions of what is appropriate behavior for a friend become worthy of an “ethical” battle ground?

When I was in the third grade, my teacher, whom I adored at the time, Mrs. Stenhouse, returned my English assignment to me full of red ink.  She had circled the word “nice” a dozen times.  She pulled me aside and said, “You’re a good writer, but you have to stop using the word “nice”. There are thousands of words that can be used in its place, STOP using the word nice.  It’s overused and over done.” Clearly it was a hot button word for Mrs. Stenhouse, and it instantly became a hot button word for me. From that day on I tried very hard never to use “nice” to describe people in written or in spoken word.  It was a generic, all-encompassing word that had no backbone or meat behind it; it was for all intents and purposes the generic version of any number of better adjectives that would more aptly describe a person, place or thing. Impressive choices such as, winsome, copacetic, ingratiating, simpatico and so on and so on – – anything but that hateful N-word.   

Lately, however, I’ve been wondering if perhaps I have given “nice” a bad rap. Perhaps when I disowned it from my vocabulary, I somehow disowned it as a requirement for the basics of how people are supposed to treat me and how I should treat them.  Maybe what’s right about the word “nice” that I’ve let slip away, is that it’s just what Mrs. Stenhouse condemned it as — a very simple, basic way of describing the act of just being good and kind.  Perhaps, in fine literature that is a curse, but in relationships, it should be a fundamental cornerstone.  If you can’t expect your friends to be nice to you, then do any of the other adjectives that might describe the relationship even matter?

Roughly every two weeks, I buy myself a bouquet of fresh flowers for my kitchen table.  It’s a tradition I started when my boyfriend left me a year ago.  When I walk in my house, it’s the first thing I see as I enter and it makes me smile each and every time.  Yes, you guessed it; it’s a Nice feeling to see them.  I want to have that kind of reaction on the friends in my life and I want them to be that for me. I don’t think it’s too much to ask, I don’t think it needs any fancier word or description.

I think it would be great if we all just were nice to one another.

Sorry, Mrs. Stenhouse, Sorry Plato – – it may not be the most elegant prose or the most poignant philosophical musing, but that’s just how I feel.

…PS, I Miss You…

I seriously cannot believe that summer is coming to a screeching halt.  Here in the Northeast it becomes amazingly apparent that fall is rapidly descending upon us.  Now at 8pm it’s just about dusk, by 8:30 it’s pitch black!  It seems like yesterday the sun was still high in the sky even as late as 9:00 at night.  But it really wasn’t “just yesterday” it was about 60 yesterdays’ ago.

…I miss summer already…

I mentioned that I decided to take this summer off from college classes.  I have to admit that at first, I felt a little guilty about it.  Especially since my partner in crime, Pez, who’s on this journey with me, did take a summer class. As I type this blog, sipping an extra yummy Cabernet, she is enduring her twice a week, 3 hour lecture! Tonight’s topic…single parenthood.  We both half-jokingly agreed that when we finish our degree we could and should teach that class!

…I don’t miss summer sessions of college…

Dorm Room

My “Dorm Room”

This summer has been an interesting one.  Besides my trip to Italy, the other monumental event that took place was opening my home to my 70-year old mother. She has now been living with my daughter and I since May.  It was necessary. Living alone was becoming increasingly concerning for everyone.  I couldn’t see how she could stay in her own home the way things were going.  Around April, after a very upsetting call where my mom was certain her neighbor had graduated from stealing her hot water to stealing her church offering envelopes and triple A batteries, I made an executive decision.  During that call I said, “Pack your things mom, I will be there in 30 minutes to pick you up.”  She has not slept in her apartment since that day.  With the help of some truly life-savings friends, we packed my mom up in a weekend. The following week, I gave away my bedroom furniture to make way for her set. I moved upstairs, turning my office into an office/bedroom which I now refer to as my “dorm room”.  This seems incredibly appropriate given my “back to college” themed life.

…I don’t miss worrying about my mother…

When I bought my home 3 years ago, I was thrilled that I had done it “on my own”.  I had a lovely bedroom with a master bath and sliding glass doors that led out to my dream deck overlooking (from a distance) the water.  Now, my new 11’ x 8’ dorm room houses a ton of clothing, shoes and purses (imagine the storage boxes),  my work desk, my 3 drawer legal sized

file cabinet, a recently purchased full size bed, a printer/fax and a 26” box style Panasonic television.  Some people say I made a sacrifice but it doesn’t feel like that to me…it feels right.  Believe it or not, I like it – – a lot.  Sharing a floor and a bathroom with my 16 year old teenage daughter has gotten increasingly easier and I think has made us even closer.  Everything happens for a reason and maybe the reason is that this time next year I will be sobbing when I send my daughter off to college. I will be grateful that I had this year with her on the same floor, sharing the same small space.  Last night, she crawled in beside me to watch the television show, Arrested Development on Netflix.  I wouldn’t have had that moment if my mom hadn’t come to stay with me.  Everything happens for a reason.

…I miss my daughter already…

As summer closes, of course, fall commences.  I am all signed up for class which begins in 2 weeks – – PHILOSOPHY 101.  I

See I wasn't kidding!

See I wasn’t kidding!

can only imagine the plethora of material that it will provide to feed this blog!  I actually wanted to take two classes this fall but financially I just couldn’t swing it.  I refuse to go into debt getting this degree.  I’ve worked too hard on building my credit score to throw it all away now.  The truth is, between me and you, I had to make another very important purchase this summer.  Hopefully those that read the description of my dorm room noted the 26” BOX television and cringed at the very thought of such an egregious situation. Yes, I know, I know.  But never fear, after months of online bargain comparison shopping, I settled on an LG 32” LED flat screen from Amazon.com.  It gets delivered tomorrow.  So what can I say?

Something had to give….only one class this semester, BUT I get to watch the final season of Breaking Bad in HDTV.  Priorities people!

…I’ve missed real pixels on television…

My summer wouldn’t be complete without one final reflection.  My world, my life, my heart is what it is because of the people I share it with.  I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for the beautiful, wonderful female friends who are a part of my life and keep me sane day after day, week after week, year after year despite everything which comes along.  And, along the way, there have been some ‘menfriends’ who I am often shocked and amazed by how much they mean to me and how integral their support is to everything I do.  For ALL of those in my life this summer, THANK YOU for being there for another memorable season of ups and downs.  For those who were not here but who, in my heart of hearts, I wish were…

…PS…I miss you…

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Lastly, this post is in memory of Jackson Boudreaux BoJangles Berry-Beckham, who passed away to doggy heaven this summer.  ...Jackson, we all miss you baby.

In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Smarter than Me

The brain

The Brain

Recently I have adopted a tag line that I have felt for some time. Simply put, I don’t think anyone is smarter than me.  I guess that can sound a little conceited and self-important especially when spoken by someone who is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.  Millions of people across the globe can already boast the degree status that I’m seeking and even higher, MBA’s, PHD’s, etc… etc…  But I’m not talking about college smarts; frankly I’m not even talking about street smarts, because I would probably lose that battle against any two-bit scam artist.  After all, I grew up in a very small, rural town, complete with dirt roads and an actual “general store” (remember Little House on the Prairie! Yes, like that).  My greatest street cred includes being the fastest kid to run away from a bee’s nest after we pelted it with rocks.

What I mean when I say “no one’s smarter than me” is that after 42 years of living I have found that there are few people (strike that “no people”) who I believe have anything to hold over me in terms of basic intelligence and that more often than not even the most learned person that I have interacted with is a complete idiot about something very rudimentary in life.  For instance, I worked for a man once who is truly bright.  Well-educated, smart, sensible, direct, good leader, sense of humor but when it came to raising his 11-year-old son, he was an idiot.  The things he shared with me that he and his wife were letting their son get away with were simply moronic.  I would listen to him and think, what is wrong with you, this kid is going to be a mess and you’re letting it happen and thinking it’s going to somehow miraculously all work out.  Another friend of mine is a professor at an Ivy League college.  He holds multiple degrees and speaks three languages.  He’s been divorced three times and each marriage and interim girlfriend is worse than the one before.  A relationship black hole is what I equate getting involved with him to be like.  He professes that each one of these women is 1,000 times better than the one before and boasts pictures and texts messages and those uber annoying Facebook “selfies” showing how very happy he is with his new special woman.  You can set a watch for the downfall.  Within 6 months it’s already unraveling, inside of 9 months there’s a third party muddying the waters and before the clock strikes the one year mark it’s over in a Chernobyl style melt-down. And even before the nuclear dust has a chance to settle, he is back at it again with the next contestant making the same mistake time and time again.

BUT, even knowing all that and seeing the flaws in my friends, there are many times, like today, when I wake up and question whether or not I know what I’m doing and whether the choices I’m making are indeed…”smart”.  Sometimes I have to admit that I start to believe that the answer is “not so much”.

What I’m trying to learn through this journey is that I need to believe in me, see things from the broader perspective, understand that, I, like everyone else will mess up and make mistakes. I will muddle through them; I will learn from them; and I will commit not to continue to make them over again.  For the most part I live that way but I struggle with giving in to fear, self-doubt, other people’s opinions and their confusing double talk and mirrored intentions.

There are plenty of people who know more than I do about certain things but EVERYONE has what I like to call dumbbell baggage, the stuff they just aren’t good at and weighs them down.  So that being the case, how then could I ever think anyone else is smarter than I am?  I can’t.  Frankly, you can’t either.  Yes, I am still working on this degree, and will be for a while longer.  I know that in no way is it a reflection on my worth at my work, my intelligence, or what I deserve and should expect.   Yes, I often do things that make me shake my head in wonder and say, why did I give that person my phone number, why didn’t I cancel that appointment earlier and avoid late fees, why am I so indecisive about simple tasks.  I know that it’s just me carrying some extra heavy dumbbells that day.  I’ll unpack them, lighten the load and I’ll move on.

Today is a day, I needed to reaffirm “THEY are not smarter than me”…

…I got this…

In case anyone else needed to hear it ….this posts’ for us…you got this too.

Summer or Bust

Summertime is here and I have officially decided to take an official school break. In May, I decided not to register for classes during the shortened summer break, even though it is a good time to take a class in half the time.

The last six months have been a whirlwind for me at work and in my personal life and frankly I needed a break. I haven’t shared it much but my mother has been struggling with some issues that center on being elderly and alone. It became apparent that I needed to take her into my home so that she would be cared for in a manner my entire family felt was necessary.  Moving her into my home and getting her world merged with mine was, to put it mildly, a challenge.  I don’t regret a moment of it and I feel an amazing sense of calm now when I glance over at her and know she is safe and happy.    Each time I hear her laugh at an episode of “The Golden Girls” my heart literally leaps because I am so incredibly grateful and at peace.

However, despite my unwavering love for my mother, I have to admit that I was in no way planning to have a 75-year-old “roommate” at this time of my life.  I am about to clear my house of my 16-year-old “roommate”/daughter who will ship off to college next year. Truthfully, I pictured the next few years with me finishing this college degree, getting promoted to a mind-blowing, internationally based position at work, and yes, finding my Mr. Right.  Ah, Mr. Right…a dashing, debonair, worldly, wonderful man who would sweep me off my feet and bounce me across the globe.  We would go on countless adventures, one more fabulous than the next.  All of them framed in a haze of one more fantastic bottle of wine than the next.  And all of it would be completely possible because I would be unencumbered – nothing holding me at home!  Yes, I know it sounds a bit like a cross between a sappy Lifetime movie, an AA meeting and Season 5 of Sex and The City but hey that’s what I had envisioned…don’t judge me!

Well, needless to say, my daydreams have gotten a slight cramp but it’s early in the summer yet and my hopes are not yet completely dashed.  After all in these first six weeks of summer, I have managed to keep myself busy with what I consider the highlights:

  1. Mowed the lawn 35 times
  2. Cut the hedges 1 time then passed out in the hallway from heat exhaustion
  3. Killed no less than 15 yellow jackets (nasty bees we have here in the Northeast) that somehow manage to get into the upstairs bathroom despite every attempt to keep them out
  4. After everyone goes to bed watching with wide-eyed adoration and horror all four seasons of the A&E series, Breaking Bad on Netflix in my new bedroom/office with the door closed, AC blasting and wine bottle in reaching distance
  5. Travelled to Venice, Florence and Rome ITALY with my gal pal partner in crime, Bonnie, for a 9 day European holiday

Clearly the most significant of those experiences is #5 but don’t think the rest of the list wasn’t without its special moments either. Yes, Italy was breathtaking and I plan on a special post with photos but less I skip over items 1 through 4.  If you’re not watching the show, Breaking Bad, I will just say, you NEED TO BE. Some of you may remember that I tried to watch this a few months back but didn’t like the first episode.  I blogged about it and promised myself to give it another try in an attempt to break some of my own bad habits. I am soooo glad I took my own advice this time around… I really do know what I’m talking about sometimes!

Bottom line….summer’s only half way over and there is still plenty of time to add what I hope are at least another 5 items to that list that don’t include sweat lodge style labor or screaming like a maniac while I flail around the bathroom with a rolled up newspaper trying to kill creepy flying insects. I feel compelled to perhaps do something just slightly more adventurous.  So I am officially welcoming any ideas, suggestions, or even offers from potential Mr. Rights.

No shortage of Mr. Rights in Italy! Viva La David!

No shortage of Mr. Rights in Italy! Viva La David!

When Doves Fly

Peaceful Dove

Peaceful Dove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my hiatus from blogging, I had the opportunity to attend a work related conference held in Austin, Texas.  This four day event produced at least one item that I wanted to share with you.  Granted there were plenty of other situations that took place that would be entertaining to share, however, they would need to appear in a very different blog under an assumed name!

Now onto the lesson…

Prior to arriving at the conference, we were sent a personality profile quiz.  A series of 18 questions each of which gave two answer options, for example, question 1:

I am:

a). more open to getting to know people better and establishing new relationships, OR

b). more likely to control who I get involved with and how well I get to know them

On the opening day of the conference, we were given our results; based on the answers to the 18 questions we were either DOVES, OWLS, PEACOCKS or EAGLES – essentially we were all D.O.P.E.S.; as the acronym spells out!

Let me first say, this isn’t my first rodeo, as I have taken many other personality profiles. I’m a big fan of good on-line horoscopes, I’ve shelled out cash to the neighborhood psychic for a reading on my future and I even had a bonafide PHD in Astrology use my birthdate and the alignment of the stars to tell me who I really am.  Ironically, I consider myself pretty intune to “who I am”.  I feel very comfortable telling anyone who cares to know, what I do well and where my faults lie.  So why then am I still so fascinated by these profile assessments?  If I’m never surprised by what they say, why do I continue to get so much meaning out of them?  Perhaps I am hoping that someone else will see something better in me and convince me to do the same.

Back to the lesson…

the four personality types panned out as follows:

  • The peaceful DOVE. The dove is people-orientated, loyal, friendly, hard-working and a great team player but tends to avoid change, confrontation, risk-taking and assertiveness.
  • The wise OWL. The owl is logical, mathematically minded, methodical and sometimes seen as a perfectionist. The owl can be slow to make decisions and inflexible if rules and logic says otherwise. Owls are not big risk takers but love detail.
  • The showy PEACOCK. The peacock loves talking, being the center of attention, has passion/ enthusiasm and is happy/ optimistic. Peacocks can be accused of talking too much, and aren’t good with detail or time-control.
  • The bold EAGLE. Eagles are dominant, stimulated by challenge, decisive and direct. Eagles can be blunt/ stubborn, can lose sight of the big-picture and can be insensitive to other people’s needs. Eagles are natural achievers.

Anyone that knows me (and/or is able to infer from the not so cleverly disguised blog-title) knows where I fell into this mix; I’m all DOVE.

But here’s the kicker, the take-away from this session however, was not about understanding who you are but understanding the people around you.  The moderator used a great opening statement, which he adopted from best selling author, Tony Alessandra, and I will paraphrase:

Most of us try to live our lives following the Golden Rule…”do unto others as you would have them do unto you”; but what’s more powerful is to follow the Platinum Rule…“Do unto others as they would have you do unto them”.

In essence, if you are dealing with someone who is a Peacock then treat them the way Peacocks want to be treated.  If I’m a Dove and I’m following the Golden Rule that I grew up on, then I will end up treating the Peacocks in my life the way I enjoy being treated.  While that might not be a bad, thing, the chances that I will get that Peacock to do what I want, are slim to none because they won’t respond to the same stimuli that I do.  Peacocks want to be treated differently than Doves (and Owls, and Eagles, etc..).  If I want to make progress with a Peacock, I need to give them what they want, not what I want.  This, my friends, was truly inspired thinking for me.

I have no stake in this testing profile and anyone can do a google search of Doves, Owls, Peacocks and Eagles and a thousand hits will appear with links to hundreds of sites.  Throughout this blog, I embedded a few links, if you care to click onto them and see what I’m talking about.   I also found a youtube video, that’s a fairly decent summary of what I experienced.  Take it or leave it, but I can attest that in my work life, my school life, and my sad to report, still quite unfulfilled love life, when this Dove flew to Texas, she learned a pretty invaluable lesson that I could not help but share.

Happy Flying All!

And So the Cookie Crumbles

I cannot believe it was February when I last checked in.  So much has happened, of course, which is why it is difficult to keep up with what I enjoy doing – which is writing.  Although it’s not easy for me to pen these blogs, I have felt disconnected from my Wonder Woman persona, so it’s good to be back.

My Marketing class has been going very well, I’m averaging an A for the class and in fact it concludes this week with my final exam on Wednesday worth 20% of my grade.  As part of the class, we were assigned a mid-term project which put us in the role of a Marketing Manager pitching a product.  Our professor chose the item we would market – – “chocolate chip cookies”.  We could tweak this item in a creative way or market the item as given.  The project had to be presented as a PowerPoint slide show and contain at least 15 – 20 slides using 10 different elements assigned by the professor including a visual mock-up of the product.

I think I have expressed that I am not a “life-long” learner; I am not enamored with college, and in no way do I find any joy in taking these classes – they are, simply put, a means to an end.  So when faced with exercises I don’t like, I typically do two things – 1. Procrastinate and 2. Fall back on something I love to do in order to get the job done.  So in true Darlene fashion, two days before the assignment was due, I began working on my project. Given the fact that I am not in love with “marketing”; I fell back on what I do love…drinking wine.  Using that as my start point as well as my motivator to do my homework, I decided to create a fictitious wine, called Biscotti Al Cioccolato Vino…or for those of you who are rusty on your Italian…Chocolate Chip Cookie wine!

My Marketing Creation

My Marketing Creation

Suffice it say a few hours and several glasses of inspirational material later, I had a decent rough draft ready.  The day the project was due; I made a few tweaks and submitted my chocolate chip cookie wine marketing presentation to Professor Clampett.  I’m pleased to say, she was delighted and gave me an A+ on my assignment!  In fact to quote the good professor, “If you are not a marketing major,  you should be”.  I would love to say that the rest of this story, is that I put a patent on the idea, submitted the concept to Robert Mondavi vineyards and they have exclusively retained me and my idea and I am well on my way to a million dollar pay day, hence the reason I have been too busy to post on my blog.  Sadly, such is not the case, I only got the A+ and the pat on the back from the professor, but it’s still early and there’s always hope for a future the way we write it.

Perhaps you can use this inspirational story of what the millions I almost could have made, to help you the next time you are faced with one of those tasks you can’t stand.  And for those of you who are wine drinkers, perhaps dip a chocolate chip cookie into your next class of Merlot and consider, is this really doable… hmmm… maybe, yes.

Either way, it’s good to be back friends!

“F” You

Before you decide you don’t want to read on; let me explain the title.  It has everything to do with my Marketing class and nothing to do with the incredibly overused and crass American expletive exclaimed when we love something fiercely or hate it emphatically.

I actually really had to hear the title words from my Marketing professor…except it went like this:

 “that’s an “F” for You”

 I shared with you that this Spring I would be taking an online course instead of going into the classroom.  I’m in Week 5 now of my Principles of Marketing class and I have to admit to you the reason I haven’t blogged much about it, is because, frankly, it’s been too easy, or so I thought.  The professor did a wonderful job laying out all the details of the class on the web-site, “Blackboard Learn”, which is an online classroom of sorts.  It contains the syllabus for the semester, a profile of the professor, important information and a week by week guide of what you must do.  For this class among other things, there will be a total of 4 quizzes worth 30% of our grade.  I read through everything, TWICE, printed out the items I felt I wanted to keep close by and began the tedious task of reading outrageously long and dry chapters of the required textbook according to the posted schedule.

Somewhere along the way, however, I guess the correct phrase would be “I got too big for my britches”.  I felt like I had it all figured out and it was a breeze.  After all, in the first two weeks there was only one assignment to complete which took me all of 30 minutes.  Sure there were 4 chapters to read but I had three weeks before the first quiz was due.  Plenty of time!  Each day that went by I figured I had another day to do it and while I would love to say that my social calendar was so busy that it was hard to juggle it all, sadly that was not the case.  I simply put off doing that which I didn’t enjoy.  I’m sure I’m not that different from many people out there.  I take the class very seriously, but reading the textbook was mind numbing and I kept finding excuses to delay it. Friends would call and offer to do anything and I would jump at the chance.  I even got ahead of my work schedule and started scanning photos for my family in my free time – – anything to avoid reading.

In an online class, there are typically start and end dates for everything that is required.  The last day the quiz was available for me to take was Valentine’s Day, February 14th.  (PS…the worst day of the entire year for a newly single woman who would be prefer to be anything but single. This is what we call a foreshadowing!)  So after pushing through the reading and doing last minute studying, I typed in my username and password and prepared to log on to take my first online quiz of the course. Imagine my surprise when the first thing I saw on my computer screen was “QUIZ #1 HAS ENDED”.

 

An "F" for me

An “F” for me

 

You might think I burst into tears but instead my heart started racing and I felt a little lightheaded.  You see, I’ve never failed anything.  Well, let me correct that, relationships, YES; marriage, YES; a few checking accounts, YES, YES, and YES, but academically, NO.  I even managed to get a D in the Calculus class that I struggled through at 18 when I couldn’t understand a word that the Teaching Assistant was saying.  But a zero in school, an absolute “F” on an assignment — this was a first.

  •  Suffice it say, I licked my wounds, I humbled myself, and I straightened up those too big britches. Through the experience I learned a few things that I will share with you;
  • Putting off today what you can do tomorrow is the stupidest strategy I have ever employed.  I realize I do it more often that I should and I need to realize it as a correctable character flaw.  Some days I will win and other days I will lose, but at least it’s on my radar screen.
  • Failing in Marketing is like failing with anything else, including Men. You pick yourself up; like the late, great R&B songstress Aliyah (God rest her soul), sang and you “dust yourself off and try again”.

If something is important to you, you have to make it a priority; and not just when it’s convenient, every day.  It’s as simple as that.  Ironically, that’s the reason why many of my relationships haven’t worked; I eventually get tired of accepting that I’m not a priority.  Now I check the website daily, I put tasks on my Outlook calendar and I complete the assignments early – the result, a 100 on Quiz #2 that I took this week.

 

One of my three all-time favorite movies is Batman Begins.  The line that stayed with me the first time I heard it and became a recurring theme through the two subsequent films, is from the scene when a young Bruce Wayne has been playing and falls to the bottom of an underground hole filled with bats.  He is down there for hours.  I imagine he feels lost, lonely, and scared.  I guess he is wondering if he will ever make his way out of what feels like the worse situation that could have happened to him. Suddenly he blinks his eyes and sees his father coming down the hole with an outstretched hand to rescue him.  As his father carries him to the house, he says to his still shaken son, “…And why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Merely Freshmen

So today was the first day of my online class, Principles of Marketing, and I didn’t even go online.

I tried, really I did.

I have been up since 6:45 am and now at 10:00 pm I am just finishing working and drinking “a” glass of wine and listening to singles from Bronson Arroyo’s “Covering the Bases” album on You Tube.  (Don’t ask why, but It’s actually pretty good).

I have been working like a crazy person all day and after no less than 5 hours of conference calls, 2 hours of fire drills and countless hours of spreadsheets, action plans and meeting scheduling, I am finally catching my breath.  The last thing I want to do is jump on line, act like a freshmen and start studying.  Sorry.  I know more dedicated students would probably pull an all nighter and start reading chapters and working on the new class, but I have to tell you ‘relentless diligence’ is not my middle name…  it’s just ‘Yvette’.

My plan is to dig into this class tomorrow.  Yes, Scarlett, I know that sounds cliché, but it’s all I have for right now.  I consider the fact that I am blogging about my failure to kick the semester off with a blast as the proper motivation to not be a slacker just because it’s an online class and not a traditional classroom setting.  After all, if I do poorly, I will have to share it with my legions of chasingwonderwoman.com fans – –  all four of you who follow my blog!  The horrors!

Adding to my predicament is that this weekend I am booked solid…. I have a 5 hour hair appointment (black women never spend less than 5 hours in the hair salon, especially on a Saturday); two birthday parties, one work-related going away party, one Wine Fest, and one housewarming party.  I am NEVER this busy – – never.  Most weekends, I plan diligently how to not watch too much TV and not drink too much wine so that it doesn’t appear I have a problem with either.  I carefully monitor the amount of time I spend wallowing in post break-up self pitidom and I balance it with contemplating ways I would spend lottery winnings that will likely never come my way because I don’t buy tickets.   That’s typically how I spend my weekends.  Now on the debut of the spring semester, I am faced with a work load that is exploding and a social life that appears to be turning the corner… if this is any indication of what the next three months are going to look like, then it will be an interesting ride.

When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about what I was going to write in my blog.  Am I the only person that lies in bed and makes numerous plans for the day, most of which never transpire?  Well, my morning musings included a truly wonderful, prophetic message to share with everyone about not getting disheartened and following your path.  It honestly was going to be great; I had quotes and jokes and clever phrases I was going to include.  Now at 11pm at night with””three” glasses of wine and 12 hours of work guiding my fingertips, all I can offer in the way of advice is to stay warm, drink more wine, and don’t take yourself too seriously – it will all be there in the morning, when you wake up and re-invent your day all over again.

Oh and PS, if you haven’t checked out Bronson Arroyo, you should, he’s pretty cool.  Thanks SB for tipping me off and see you at the birthday party.

Of Marketing and Men

My first play on words of the new year

My first play on words of the new year

This semester I’m all registered to take a course titled Principles of Marketing. Classes won’t start until January 24th but I am already a fan of this class for three reasons…

It’s a bargain.  I’m fortunate that the UCONN bachelor’s program I am in allows for a certain percentage of classes to be taken at its’ affiliated partner community colleges.  These community colleges charge a fraction of the course that UCONN does and the only requirement is that you receive pre-approval from your advisor.  I keep my UCONN undergraduate status AND I keep an extra 1,100 in my wallet this spring! And what college student do you know that couldn’t use an extra grand…even us old timers.

It’s all on-line.  While I enjoyed some parts of being back in the classroom on Saturday mornings and feeling like a co-ed again, some of you remember my struggle with patience. For those who don’t want to revisit that blog entry, I will summarize in 5 words….I don’t suffer fools well…or frankly, not at all.

It’s got win-win potential.  I hope I haven’t misled anyone by thinking that I am returning to college because I really love studying and school.  The truth is I hate both.  I’m going back to school to finish what I started but more importantly to get promoted within my industry.  BUT, and here’s where this class gets interesting, perhaps “Marketing” can take on a secondary more personal meaning.   I find myself back on the “market” again in my personal life; so perhaps the same principles of marketing mix and distribution strategies may also apply to a world I reluctantly return to…that of dating.

It may be a stretch for me to think that this course may in any way at all help me wade through the markets of men; but how fun will it be to see exactly how many times I can weave my dating (or lack thereof) life into this semester and how creative I can be with my shameless play on words.

It’s a new year, I feel hopeful, so I’ll ask in advance that you cut me some slack.

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Kalia Kornegay

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