Saturday, June 27, 2009
I'm a drop out... many times over. Back in the 80's I attended a community college, pursuing a degree in Electronical Engineering. I made the Dean's List and enjoyed my classes, but ultimately decided it really wasn't the career for me. I couldn't see myself doing this type of thing day after day for a big chunk of my life. Along came a job from GM, so I took a break from school. I swore I'd go back someday, and I did... again and again. I really wanted to earn a degree. It was important to me.
I knew health careers were a good choice, so I thought about a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I started taking classes full-time while working full-time and being a single mom. It was tough. I remember carrying my chemistry book around at work, cramming at every break. But when I got bumped to a different shift, it was more than I could deal with. It seemed every couple of weeks my schedule was changing. I couldn't work my classes around that! I dropped out once again.
Our union hall started holding satellite classes from the college. The times for the classes were set for right before or after shift times. It was doable. Some were labor relations type courses, but I also took some accounting, government, speech... basic all-around stuff.
Through the years I accumulated a lot of credit hours. I'm a math whiz, so I took a lot of math courses. Psych... I'm there. I love writing, so the English Comps were a breeze. (I'll get back to the Composition classes...) But I was making a good living and the desire to finish my degree shrank a bit. I realized that I had wanted to prove something to my family, and that no longer mattered to me. I still wanted it for myself, but not enough to push me.
Finally, I earned an apprenticeship through GM as a Tool and Die Maker. That required taking further courses from the college. So I aced drafting, machine classes, more math (the easy stuff like geometry & trig).
Life got a little crazy for me through these years, and the desire to graduate faded. I had
accumulated way more than the required credit hours for an Associates Degree, but in what? They don't have a jack-of-all-trades degree. What's that you say? Oh, they do? A.I.S. Associate of Individual Study. Do tell!
Back to the Comp classes... Just like in high school, my instructors were always urging me to enter the writing contests. I never did. I don't know why. Wouldn't that look good on a query? Something that said, 'Hey, she's not bad!" A notch for my belt.
I went online and searched their website, thinking of enrolling in a web-based course. There are a couple of creative writing classes that I hadn't taken. This time I will enter the contests. I need to brush up on some basic stuff too. I realize I have more than a full plate right now, so I'd only do one class per quarter.
That's when I stumbled on the A.I.S. degree...
Even though I have met the requirements I don't know if they'll count all the old credit hours. We're talking about going back decades! Next week I will call. I'm not going to get my hopes up on them accepting the old credits, but you never know...
Alumni. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I was visiting over on MySpace when a video I posted caught my eye... I realized my friends in Blogville didn't know about my daughter's book. I mentioned in an early blog about her being a writer and artist, but I didn't talk about the book! She wrote this delightful children's story titled 'Do Tigers Purr?' several years ago. When I started talking about my book, it brought up her dream of having her children's book published.
I thought it would be nice for her to be able to read her story to the babies at bedtime out of a real book with illustrations; So one day when I was feeling a bit crafty, I decided to make her book into a book! I found some cute pictures on the internet and did my 'own touch' thing to them, added her words, printed them out, made a binding... Well, the result was what you see in the picture. It is probably the best gift I ever gave her, even better than the first car!
When she first pulled it out of the bag, she thought I had found a book with her title! Then it hit her!
Someday soon I hope to have her book published. G#1 Dani is going to do the actual illustrations. (She had better get on the ball!) That will make it a three-generation effort. When you find it in the bookstores, it will not say, 'by Mommy' but by Jen Grams. I'll let you know...
I absolutely love her reaction to the book. Here it is for you to enjoy:
My Essays blog has a link on the sidebar to my MySpace profile. There you will find my older blogs (before I moved to Blogville) and lots of pictures and videos of life on the farm and my family. (You must be my friend on MySpace to view my grands' pics.)
Monday, June 1, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
My main character Liz experienced a huge amount of personal growth. She is at a critical turning point in her life that takes her to a whole new dimension. This chapter was tough. I didn't want it to drag on forever, but neither did I want to chop up the transitions that take place.
All modesty aside, I think I ACED it! (applause, applause... patting self on back) I've not gone through any editing yet, but I've just got this gut feeling that it will be a page-turning chapter. So be forewarned: When you buy my book and you've reached Chapter Eleven, check the clock. Don't start it if you don't have time to finish it. And oh yeah, the wrap-up... WHOOO!
Our conversation drifted to a relocated friend's comments last night. She lived about an hour from here and her old area was quite different. Now she is farther away, but in an area similar to the topography we enjoy. She said she never thought Ohio was pretty until she moved there.
No offense to you Floridians out there... Most of my family is in Florida. I will not move. I always cite the sweltering ever-lasting summers and the huge bugs, but truthfully... The thing I dislike most about Florida? It's flat! It's not only flat, the trees are ugly. OK, I know there's not very many trees that rival the huge elderly oaks spread wide and dripping in moss. But those poles with the hula skirts on top? They get old. Cabbage palms coiled in snakes? Look like shrubs, not trees.
So what on earth does this have to do with my book? Keep reading...
The chapter I'm in now has my main character leaving her adopted Florida for a trip north. While driving down that country road, I stated to Hubby, "I've got to mention the flat land and skinny trees!" When I returned home and opened my document, I scrolled to a previous paragraph that would nicely fit the new injection.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your reading pleasure: An Excerpt from 'Unfinished Business'...
When she had first settled in Davie, she adored the tall, bare palm trunks and the see-forever horizon. Now that those things were old hat, she realized the beauty in rolling hills and foliage. The huge oaks dripping with Spanish moss were her favorite. They reminded her of the canopy of leaves along the creek banks where teens could slip away from supervision and explore their new found desires.