Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have my own home!

Yesterday I signed a 12-month lease on my very own apartment.  This will be the first place that is all my own; no sharing!  SO, I have to share pictures. :)
1. My very own front door!
 2. The foyer.
 3. Peeking in to the living room from the foyer.
 4. Looking though the living room, kitchen, and the back is the bedroom.
 5. Living room.
 6. Bedroom.
 7. In the bedroom, looking back the other way.
 8. Teeny, tiny kitchen.  But it's all mine!
That's it, folks.  If you have some time and are willing to help me paint, I will give thanks in the form of food and endless appreciation. :)  Let me know.  I'll be tackling it this week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In memoriam.

Yesterday, July 26, was the anniversary of the loss of my friend, Ajeet Singh Matharu.  As many will remember, he was a classmate of mine in India and was killed in a traffic accident on the way to school one morning.  It was a devastating loss to the whole group and, as these things unfortunately do, brought us all much closer together.

Yesterday, July 26, there was another loss.  Marvin.  Many of you know I worked as an aide for a severely autistic teenager when I lived in Pennsylvania.  I lived with the family, including Marvin, the grandfather, who had Alzheimer's.  When I first got there, Marvin and I would go on dates.  We'd go to dinner, to the movies, and I'd drive (of course).  After about 1 1/2 years, the outings became too stressful for him - he knew I was familiar, but didn't really know who I was or where we were.  I would hold his hand to help him stay calm when he was stressed.  I would help him order in restaurants, pointing him towards things that I knew he liked, before he forgot what he liked.  He would always tell me stories.  About living abroad, painting in the great cities of Europe, etc.  Towards the end of our dating, he started telling me stories about myself - about this nice girl who took him out for nights on the town and how much he thought I'd like her.  It was funny and sad.  In the months before I left, his language degenerated - he lost many of his content words to the disease, leaving mostly function words.  Getting him coffee became an exercise in pantomime.  I already missed him.  I had more of a relationship with him than I had with my own grandfathers.  I've thought of him often, and today I miss him.

I think the moral of this story is that it's not safe to be my friend on July 26th.  Be ye warned.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh geez.

I really think my school is trying to give me ulcers.  As it happens, I already have some.  I've had them for years.  BYU just loves to aggravate them.

Here's the skinny: Apartment people are ready for me to sign.  Like, today.  Well, I can't.  And I can't because BYU is killing me slowly.  On Thursday, I approved my loan amount.  On Friday, I signed my new MPN.  They said it would take 24 hours to alert the school.  Due to totally pointless state holidays, BYU then had a 3-day weekend.  As of this morning, my account still shows that they are awaiting my MPN (Master Promissory Note).  So I called, after 8, as that's when they open.  I got the closed office message until 8:45.  Seriously.  When I finally got someone on the phone, they were totally stupid.  I was told that they had the MPN, but it would take 2-3 weeks to process.  AND that the $ wouldn't be dispersed until the term started.  Stop speaking, you imbecile.  These loans are for the term that started in May.

Oh, well... there's nothing we can do to make the computers process it faster, but I can schedule a meeting for you with the person responsible for this mess.  How is that???

So, I spoke too soon.  I will likely loose that lovely apartment with the hardwood floors.  Why did I fight so hard to stay at this school?  I have hated it since Day1.  So many semesters have involved battling stupidity like this, but never this bad.

It begs the question - how do you know when God is testing your resolve and when he's sending you a million signs to cut and run?  Really, how do you know?  My church talks a lot about the refiner's fire, but aren't you suppose to be pulled out before you get scorched/melted?  I feel like I've spent the last year and a half at the end of my rope.  My bishop was talking to me about clinging on to the end of the rope and I made a joke about using it to tie a noose.  He wasn't amused.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New beginnings. :)

For 2 of my 4 years as an undergrad, I lived alone.  The other two years (1 and 3), I had roommates.  One was a total nightmare.  Afterwards, when I lived in PA, I had a basement bed/bath in the home of my employers.  Very nice, but right below the family room, and so often loud as well.

I have been in Utah for 4 years.  I have lived in 4 houses and had over 10 roommates, more than half of which have also been total nightmares.  Two have been good.  This whole time, I have longed to live alone.  In truth, I don't do well with people.  I don't like noises or smells or comings and goings at odd hours.  I really think that God just made me naturally misanthropic.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am so blond sometimes.

This year, I have three lovely tomato plants.  I'm starting to get green fruit on them and they are so cute!  Anyways, they've been in containers that are entirely too small for them, and I haven't been able to track down cages yet, so they've been leaning and sad.

This morning I called Lowe's to see if they had any in stock.  After 10 minutes of total confusion, it came back that yes, they did have 23 in the size I wanted.  Yippee!  I'm on my way!  But when I got there, I was told that they had been out since yesterday!

Almost through it...

So, much has happened, but I didn't want to update the blog and jinx it, you know?  I was remarkably calm all weekend.  After all, there's nothing you can do on the weekend, anyway.  I didn't hear anything on Monday, but I wasn't really expecting to, as it was FA's first full day with my paperwork.  Tuesday I heard from everyone.  All three departments.  AND they finally got to talking to each other.  I was told from GS and FS (Financial Services, not FA - Financial Aid) that I needed a statement from FA stating that the Grad Plus loan was forthcoming, so I spent Tuesday trying to get that.  I also needed to file a petition with FS explaining the administrative error which lead to this whole situation.  NO PROBLEM!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Still Working...

Okay.  Here's the skinny:

On friday (late, as in after the offices closed, so I couldn't email him back and continue to nag), I finally FINALLY heard from my counselor.  He didn't answer ANY of my questions.  All he said was that he'd sent my loan information on to someone else for processing.  No name or information.  Grrr.  Also, the Graduate Studies secretary called me to check up on my situation and to inform me that I don't have until the 31st after all.  Wait, you're gonna laugh when I tell you: I actually have until the 25th.  But WAIT!  Campus is closed the 25th for the dumb-ass Pioneer day... so I actually have until this FRIDAY!!!

How can you not laugh at the crazy?  Wait!  I'm not done...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What the...

I finally heard from my financial counselor. I sent him a message yesterday afternoon with a list of questions, which amounted to Why the Fuck are you Ruining my Life? Honestly, I really didn't think he'd respond. I'm sure this will come as a shock to many, but I think I was quite polite, even given the overall message.

Anyways, he didn't answer any of the half dozen questions I shot at him, but he did say this:

"I have sent a message to the financial aid processors to begin the process of authorizing a Grad Plus loan for you."

Uhh, thanks, I think. More importantly, isn't that what you were supposed to have done 2 months ago?!?!?! WHAT EXACTLY HAS BEEN GOING ON??? So, at this point I have no idea what is happening. Maybe my badgering and going over his head (as I did yesterday) has finally yielded some results. Maybe he's tired of dealing with a bitchy, stroppy cow like myself. Honestly, I wouldn't go up against me, either. I'm not a nice girl. Maybe he just said that to get me the hell off his back. Time will tell. Two weeks from tomorrow is my deadline. Pray for me, people.

Oh dear.

Sorry readers - it's not better yet. I finally (finally!!!) heard back from my financial counselor, only to find out that he'd lead me completely astray. Of course, he managed to tell me this without bearing any responsibility for my current situation himself. It's amazing how some people can do that. Really. And I'm not being bitter as I say this - it's truly remarkable.

So, this man advised me to take out a BYU short-term loan to cover my expenses while we took care of paperwork for a Grad PLUS loan. Indeed. Eventually I got an email from Financial Aid, which said, among other things, that it would take 2-3 weeks for my aid to be packaged (that's verbatim). Now, how do you understand that? What does that mean to you, given that these were the same people who were in charge of reviewing my Grad PLUS loan application? Well, Counselor-Man emailed me yesterday to tell me that I'd misunderstood the email, and that no more aid was forthcoming.

Okay.... But what did that mean, then? What was the appeal all about? What about the application for the Grad PLUS loan? What about the tiny fact that I followed your advice exactly through this situation, and am now about to be kicked out of school? Umm, Hello?

So, my current situation is this: I have an outstanding BYU short-term loan out, in the amount of $1400 (which is what I've been living off of all summer, btw). I am 1 credit hour shy of maintaining my continuing student status, which I have until July 31 to add and pay for. But I can't add it until the STL (short-term loan) is payed back, even with the assistance of the Grad Studies department. If I can't get this taken care of in the next 2 weeks, I lose my continuing student status and am dropped from my program. If that happens, but I still want to finish my degree, I need to come up with, not only the $ for the STL, but also a $600 re-application fee. Whoa buddy. AND I have one more year to finish my degree, so it's not like I can leave and come back when I have the funds to deal with all of this craziness. Geez.

I don't know yet how this is going to work out or IF it's going to work out. No idea. If it doesn't, it will seem like such a waste of four years. If this man had paid better attention to my case back in May, I would have had time to pursue other options, like research grants. Now it's entirely too late for that. Friends and Strangers, I'm out of ideas. I'm just putting it out there, because I don't know what else to do with it. Counselor-Man has not responded to my questions.

So here's my plan for today: I'm going to bake luxurious banana bread for a church activity (guys, it is so good, you don't need any butter), and I'm going to dig out my Invisibility Cloak, because tonight I am going to a double feature. HP 7 pt.1 and 9pm and pt.2 at midnight. I'm going to smuggle in chocolate, marshmallows, and Red Vines and I'm going to get insanely sick and love every minute of it. I'm going to see it with Xan and we found a showing with reserved seating. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So, here's what happened.

My original goal was to graduate in August, which was tossed out the window when my advisor said he wanted 3 native speakers of Punjabi represented in my data. Riiiight. But still, I was enrolled in thesis credit hours through the spring and summer terms.

In order to survive, I applied for, and was granted, a Grad PLUS loan. That was 5.5 weeks ago. I was told that it would take 2-3 weeks to package the aid. Tuition for Summer term was due 2 weeks ago. I think we can all see where this is going. My credit hour was cancelled, leading to a lovely email from the Grad studies office, informing me that I was no longer enrolled in my graduate program. Thanks for playing. And also that I have 2.5 weeks to convince the BYU bureaucracy to do what I haven't managed to get them to do in 2.5 months - their jobs. Emails, call, sheer panic - all in vain so far. Tears, prayers, begging, and nothing. And now I have a hard and fast deadline - if I can't straighten out this situation by July 31, I will not be able to finish my program. Unless I re-apply and am re-admitted, at a costly rate. Grrrr.

I HATE my school.

It is ridiculous how much I am seething with anger and hatred right now. I really think that BYU is trying to ruin my life, and Jesus Christ, they are succeeding.

Right at this moment, I am no longer a student there. Yup. No shit. And I am powerless to deal with it. I kinda want to go out and be stupid. It's been a really long time since I did something good and stupid. I haven't had a drink or a cigarette since 2004. I behave. I go to church. I follow the retarded honor code, even though it's so arbitrary and pointless that it makes me angry. Still, I do it. Because I have to. In return, I mostly seem to get stress and frustration. But right now, at this moment, I am under so such obligation. If I am not a student right now, I can do whatever the hell I want to do.

People, THIS is WHY I can't rely on anyone or ask anyone for help with anything, ever. Because people take vacations and don't do their jobs. Because people are totally unreliable. Because trusting people is the surest way to fuck up your whole damn life.

Yup. I am an ex-graduate student today because I've had to rely on people to do their jobs. BIG mistake. I don't know if I can fix this. I really don't. Truthfully, I'm not too sure how much I want to. I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I have been clinging on by my fingernails for months and I can't deal with this BS anymore. My situation boggles my mind. I can't believe that it's come to this.

I'm trying not to do anything rash. I'm really, really trying. I'm attempting to calm down and make reasonable, rational plans and decisions. It's not working so far. In truth, I have no idea what to do.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

No clever title. Just stuff and things.

Despite a poor showing in the sleep department last night, I had a really good 3-mile run this morning. I went to bed too late and woke up way too early and had restless sleep, so I was really not expecting a lot of myself. The first quarter mile was icky, as it always it. I don't know why, but I HATE that first quarter to half mile, and then, if I can convince myself not to stop during that time, I get going and the running gets pretty comfortable.

This morning was no exception. As I struck out, I was sure that I would end up walking most of my route. I was tired. It was my 4th day in a row running, where I normally only run 2 days in a row. I'm working up to running 6 days per week, and I'd like to ultimately run between 20 to 25 miles per week. To grant perspective, this week I ran 10 miles. I figured, though, that I should run fewer miles more days per week, and then build up my mileage once I'm used to running daily.

Anyways, I was sure I'd fail and die. But I didn't. Once I passed that first icky bit, I was feeling really good and banged out a comfortable 5k. There's this route in my neighborhood that is conveniently just over 3 miles. :) I use it to train and track my projected racing times.

ALSO: (nerd alert), my friend Xan and I are going to see the HP7 double feature! It starts at 9pm on Thursday and they show both parts of the movie. Mwahahaha! I'm just a little bit excited. I'm gonna get so sick and I can't wait! I'm not sure I'll be able to manage a run the next morning... :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

On being a Loser.

I was a loser in school. Seriously. I wore glasses. I had very long, very frizzy hair. I was too smart and threw off the curve. I was incredibly bad at sports. Picked almost dead last every time. Except once there was this popular girl who took pity on me, I guess. When she was a team captain, she would pick me 3rd or 4th. I never new why. Anyways, I was seriously good at math. I was in the gifted program. I read books while other kids struggled with algebra. I read books at recess.

Other kids bullied me and the teachers saw and did nothing. One girl pinned me to the floor with a desk during class. Like, tipped it over on top of me and held it there. Nothing happened to her. One girl pulled down my gym shorts while I was on my period. She didn't get into trouble either. Boys sexually harassed me daily, spreading rumors about me and telling everyone I was a slut. They called me a devil worshipper. If I stood up for myself, I got in trouble. Once I made the mistake of asking for mediation with the head of my hate committee. Living that down took months. My only friends were other losers. I didn't like them, and they probably didn't like me, but we were all we had. I still remember the names of my tormenters. Caleb. Bridget. Sarah. Paige. Nakeya. There was this really clever boy who barked at me every day because my last name starts with b-o-w, even though it's pronounced bow like rainbow or hairbow or cross bow or bow-and-arrow. Bow-noun, not Bow-verb.

High school was a little bit better because I fell in with the drama geek crowd. Interestingly, it's where a lot of the white kids congregated. My school was about 5% white, so... I wasn't popular by any means, but I was a bit talented, and that went a long way. I was also in honours and AP classes and served as president of the Academic Decathlon. I went to colleges in the summer to take part in smart-kid programs, so I spent my summers studying calculus, latin, and electrical engineering. For our final exam, we built a 4-function calculator out of a box of parts.

College was better still - more drama geeks, and somehow I was kinda popular in certain crowds. People seemed to want me around and enjoy my company. It was weird for me. It still is. I still don't get it because in my heart, I'm still 12 or 13. People are still pretending to be my friend so they can gather information with to hurt and embarrass me later. I was never in with the really popular people - never inducted into any of the secret societies or anything, but I was busy double majoring and had great friends that were also in that same boat.

Surrounding yourself with other losers and geeks creates a barrier - you get a certain amount of protection, buffering, strength in numbers and all that.

I'm in this rather clique-ish ward at church. I was invited to this party. It's up in SLC, so a meet-up location was announced for the purpose of carpooling. Being the personality type that I am, I got to the meet up location 10 minutes early. I stayed until 20 minutes after we were supposed to leave. I can only assume that they communicated with each other and chose a different location. I RSVPed to the even on FB, and at least 2 of the girls going have my number and are generally nice to me.

But suddenly I'm that girl again. I wonder if it's possible to ever outgrow the scars of adolescence. I don't believe anyone was being malicious, but it's hard to imagine that no one had the thought to drive by the meet-up place just in case someone went there. Seems pretty silly not to, right?

I hate that I can still be so adversely affected by things that occurred almost 20 years ago. On reflection, I can see that I don't, and didn't, fit in well. I'm weird. I hide it better now than I did then, because I didn't know any better. I didn't know that I had to lie about myself. Having done some research, I think I've come to understand some of my stranger behaviors and how they're connected. It doesn't make it too much easier, though.

I hate that I care. I hate that I don't understand what people find worth liking or loving in me. I hate that having friends baffles me. And right now, I hate that there's an amazing guy who likes me, and I don't know how to let him, because he's the popular kid type, and I'm a bespeckled awkward girl, and I don't know how not to be. 15 years ago, him (or his type) talking to me would have been the beginning of a cruel joke. And it doesn't seem to me that the world has changed so much, so how am I supposed to let my guard down?