Job Comes to a Close

Scored standardized tests
replaced grant money we lost
no lend to repay

 

At the start of the year, we learned Rachael did not qualify for grant money from FAFSA that she was given her first year at ASU. I also saw an article about a work at home job, remote reader for standardized tests. Well over 20 years ago I received a BS in English Secondary Education and it’s been collecting dust. So I whipped up a resume. I haven’t worked a “real” job in almost 20 years either so I asked a couple friends to be personal references and then what do you know? I qualified for the work. It was nice to be able to earn some money from home. Especially when I cannot drive. I did not have to worry about how to commute to and from.

Tuesday as Gretchen started her new adventure at EMCC, Mom wrapped up her own and did well as I earned more money than was given to Rachael in last year’s grant. We are hoping to be able to finance Rachael’s four year degree so she doesn’t have to graduate in debt. Both my parents and Shawn’s parents paid for our undergrad degrees and it’s great not having to worry about student loans when you graduate. Of course Rachael is doing her part earning her AA while she was still in high school and keeping up her GPA to earn the top academic scholarship from ASU.

Meanwhile even though I only worked for a little over two months it feels strange not to log in and read papers. I got an email from my company this morning thanking all of us for our hard work. Qualified readers will get an email at the end of this year to score for the Spring 2018 test period. I’ll definitely sign up again. It was nice to bring in a little extra money.

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Poetry in Phoenix

Last night Shawn and I attended our first Caffeine Corridor poetry feat at {9} the Gallery. It begins with open mic poetry readings. We arrived late, because Shawn had to drive all the way home to pick me up. We missed the first few readers, but many of the poets we did see kept mentioning an article recently published in the Phoenix New Times. The print version is here in the house, Shawn had Rachael pick it up at ASU on Thursday, because Joe is a friend of his, and he wanted to read the article. But by last night, neither one of us read it yet.

I read it this morning. Wow, it really is electrically charged with negative feelings about the poetry scene in Phoenix. All I can think is, Okay not everyone who gets up to read an original poem is going to be Whitman, Sandburg, Angelou (poet of your choice here), but you never know who will be the next great American poet. The fact they got up the nerve to stand in front of an audience to read and grow deserves kudos. You never know, in a number of years you may be able to say, I heard them when…

A person cannot improve on their skill locked up and alone. I thought poetry readings were encourage not disparage. I don’t go to poetry readings with my ego on my sleeve. Mostly because you won’t see me stand up and read a poem. I do enjoy the isolation of a computer. I’m more like Dickinson, the amount of poems people will find I’ve tucked away when I’m gone, that is if I don’t burn them all first. Yes, folks I’m analog and still write out more poems than not on actual paper I can burn.

When I first started the whole I’m going to be a published writer journey, my first submission experience was great. Those who read my blog, know I started submitting stories to the Star Trek Strange New Worlds anthology. I joined a wonderful online critique group specifically for SNW writers and I met great writers there who encouraged us newbies. And I realized I was pretty decent at this writing game. My second year, I submitted a story elsewhere and saw my first published piece. The other writers in that anthology introduced me to ritro.com and I started writing articles for the site. I shared Peter Pan Envy on this blog. I also wrote, The Hunt and Peck Method to Novel Writing.

No I was not interested in writing a novel – still holds true. But I also was not serious about poetry. I felt poets were egotistical, pompous jackasses until I joined gather.com and met some lovely poetry people who took the time to read the few poems I posted and comment with well done and at the same time offering ways I could improve my work. This was the kind of environment I saw at {9} the gallery last night. And it is the best way to grow as a poet. I’m not sure why the New Times journalist wrote they were nervous and did not make eye contact. They have the courage to stand in front of people and open themselves up. Maybe he should try it once instead of just printing he words out on a screen. And as for the featured poet in the article…I’m glad I did not run into his ilk when I first put poems out for critique. It was bad enough I was comparing myself to a great poetic ghost.

check ego at door
devote time to encourage
poetry will thrive

Haiku Chat

Rain falls in desert
Standing under umbrella,
I wait for the bus

Late start Wednesday
Friend asks, where are you? D4
Wait… There’s school today?

Eating lunch outside
as raindrops pelt the table
my butt keeps chair dry

See writing haiku
is not difficult at all
Count – 5,7,5

Chatting in haiku,
I pause to count syllables
Boom! Still get it done

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Gretchen came up with six haiku last night despite her mother’s aggravating haiku texts. But the one in the text chat, here, wasn’t in the final cut. And I did have to help with some syllable count. She had nine syllables in one. I’m pretty sure one reason was she counted every as two instead of three.

Stop speaking to me
in haiku! I speak German!
Ich spreche Deutsch, Ja

She even told her creative writing teacher yesterday, My mom keeps speaking in haiku since I told her about the assignment. 😉 Never tell a poet you don’t like poetry.

Hello 2016

Both girls are back to school. Yesterday Rachael started her clinical hours for vet science. She will be working from 6am-7:30 which means leaving the house at 5:30am! On Wednesdays when Gretchen normally has late start and doesn’t have to leave the house until 8.

Then Rachael was back home a little after 10am because college courses don’t start until the 19th. She only has to be in school for four hours a day. When one starts at 6am four hours finish too early! Once college starts though, she’ll be scheduled to be in class from 6am-3:30pm on Wednesdays. But it is her only long day and by May she should earn her high school diploma and associate’s degree.IMG_0810

Meanwhile Gretchen didn’t start school until 8:50 yesterday. Her school works on a block schedule. They have 4 academics each day. They earn one credit for each class in a semester instead of a year. The second semester is a whole new schedule with new classes. She is in creative writing now and brought her stories in to show her teacher. I get a text yesterday, Rachael has the car, right? My teacher wants me to stay after school to talk about my stories. Yes, my youngest voluntarily stayed longer at school. Three days in her new classes, I’m thinking she really likes creative writing already.

This morning she asked me to help her with haiku. They have to write six for tomorrow’s assignment and she complained, I hate poetry. 6 x 3 = 18 lines and short lines at that. I checked the Wednesday poetry prompt at Writer’s Digest, Robert Lee Brewer wrote many people tell him how they have trouble writing less than 30 lines. The prompt is to write a 10 line or smaller poem. Since I’ll be helping Gretchen with haiku later and I haven’t written any poetry in awhile, I wrote a haiku.

Trouble writing more
than ten lines. I much prefer
concise poetry

To prove that I have risen on occasion to write poems with more than 10 lines even with Excuses for quitting. Hopefully Gretchen will not find excuses to quit before writing six haiku.

We Survived High School Walk Through

Back in January, we registered Gretchen for the regular public school, Agua Fria. They told us about the walk through before the school year begins, but no one told me the hassle it would be. Yesterday was the scheduled time for freshmen and seniors. I thought we could go before 10am dentist appointments. We arrived at 8am and by 8:30 were no where near getting in. The person handing out tickets, signed our ticket and said we could come back tomorrow.

Again today we were up bright and early. Shawn saw on friends’ Facebook pages the line was already big before the doors opened at 7:30am! We left the house even earlier this morning, but our time in Disneyland proved to work well. The signed ticket from yesterday got us to the front of the line. Yes, folks we got a fast pass for high school registration.

Freshman year schedule

Freshman year schedule

My german girl is taking German 1; she’s excited. We got cafeteria info, parentvue info and Gretchen got her school ID and we came home. Our timing was perfect because I turned on Good Morning America hoping to catch the Ruffino/Diamond story. It came on less than 5 minutes later.

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My friend, Laura Ruffino and her husband, adopted Liz Diamond’s 4 girls after Liz lost her battle with brain cancer. I dedicated a poem to Liz during napowrimo – I Felt a Funeral in My Brain.

Here is the online fundraising page for anyone who would like to help the Ruffino/Diamond family. It is a very inspiring story from tragic circumstances.

And now I think I can recoup from vacation before school officially starts August 3rd.