Karen


  • getting schooled.

    I passed my Composition course!

    I’m starting my Fundamentals of Information Security course today, and is it silly to say that I’m really excited? Like this is the first official class for my specific major and I’m really looking forward to learning more about the field I want to be in.

    I never thought I’d be this hyped up to be back in school, ever. I never thought I’d be ABLE to go back to school. But I’m realizing now that maybe I just wasn’t meant to be in school at the time I was there. I wasn’t ready. And I wonder, looking at these kids who roll right to college a few months out of high school, if those kids are really even ready.

    So, a little background. I originally went to college for an English/Journalism degree back in the 90s. I graduated high school, I had the summer off, and I went to college. Most of my college was paid for by student loans, of course. I had a few other grants and things that I didn’t have to pay back, but it barely covered anything. My grades were – okay. Passable, but not spectacular, so I didn’t have scholarships. My mom refused to get a PLUS loan, since that had to be paid back by the parents, and we couldn’t afford to pay for school. Essentially, if I didn’t take out Stafford loans, I wasn’t going to be able to go. And I wanted to go to college. It was the only way I could get a “real job”, according to my mom and my grandparents and every adult in my life.

    (Funny thing, though – my mom was an executive assistant and didn’t go to college. So was she saying that SHE didn’t have a “real job”? Looking back on that now, that makes no sense.)

    So, off to school I went. I lived in the dorms, even though I was only 30 minutes from home. I didn’t have a car, I didn’t even know how to drive. (My mom refused to let me take drivers ed in high school because she didn’t want to put me on her insurance.) It was the first time I was sort of “on my own”, and I was SO excited. I could do what I wanted! So I did.

    And as a result, after almost two years, I had to leave college because I failed out. I partied, I hung out with friends, I didn’t attend class. It was entirely my mistake, I didn’t have the willpower to focus at the time. I was all about living for myself, for the first time in my life. Well – what I THOUGHT was living for myself. Looking back on it, I don’t know what I was doing. I was hanging on the best way I knew how.

    And after that, I worked. Retail for SO MANY YEARS. Then office jobs, etc. And all those student loans got pushed back, forbearance after forbearance. I finally paid them off in 2015. And I didn’t even finish school.

    The whole time, I regretted failing out. I was foolish, I was stupid, I fucked up. That’s what I told myself for DECADES. Finally, after a lot of therapy and a lot of talking, I realized that yeah, I made a mistake. But I wasn’t stupid. It just…wasn’t my time. It wasn’t for me, at that point in my life.

    I should have taken one of those “gap years”, and worked, and saved, and saw the world. I should have probably taken five gap years. Not traveling and playing around, like most people think when they think of a gap year. Just worked, saw how the world worked, figured out what I really wanted. I was better equipped to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life at 21 or 22 than I was at 17, even mroe so at 25. The Universe knew that.

    Now, in my late 40s, I know myself better than I did at 17, and I feel more confident and focused. Now is the time I was meant to go to school. Not at 17. Do I regret flunking out? Sure. Do I hate myself for it anymore? Absolutely not.


  • Today’s plans: brunch with family for a birthday celebration, then back home to do schoolwork. I really want to knock out that last task for my Composition class today and get it submitted. Hopefully I can start my Fundamentals of Info Security course next week and knock that out before my friend C comes in town, or at least get most of it completed so I can take the week off of school while she is here.


  • I am so damn tired.

    Spent yesterday at another office doing a training all day, had to drive over an hour both there and back. So I was tired and brain-dead last night. Fell asleep around 9:00 or so to YouTube vids (my standard evening nightcap), and thought I was going to sleep HARD all night.

    Nope.

    Woke up at 1:50 and didn’t doze off again until 4, and my alarm went off at 4:45. UGH.


  • Today I learned that a raid on Steve Jackson Games by the Secret Service was the impetus for creating the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).

    HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS. THIS IS AMAZING.


  • I just went in the bedroom to get something. Husbando is sleeping, Daisy and Mia are laying on my side of the bed all snugged up, so I go pet them. Daisy is yawning and stretching and generally doing her “I’m so cute” stuff…

    …and then she burps. LOUD. Like a full on human sounding “BRRAAAAPPPPP.” It is the loudest burp I have EVER heard come out of this doggo.

    Mia looks over at her like “wtf?” and I just slap my hand over my mouth because I now have a fit of the giggles.


  • One of the things I love about the Critical Thinking and Composition courses I’m taking this term is that the majority of the information revolves around “EVERYTHING ON THE INTERNET IS NOT ALWAYS TRUE AND YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO DETERMINE THIS.” Can we just make EVERYONE who joins Facebook or TwiX take these courses?

    …..

    I know the answer is no but I can dream.


  • void screaming.

    This morning, while perusing assorted blogs and adding my new reads to my blogroll, I came across this post from Cafelog titled “Blogging without overthinking”.

    I’ve always had plenty of ideas about what to write, but I used to overthink what I was going to publish: Is it interesting? Is it well-written? Haven’t dozens of people already written about this topic? Do I have the legitimacy to talk about this? And so on.

    Well, this hits hard.

    Do you know how OFTEN I have sat here in front of my site and just been like “Ehhhhhh no one wants to read me talk about The Thing. I don’t know enough about The Thing to post it.” Or, worse yet, REALLY wanting to post about The Thing, coming to the realization that I need to research it more, and then getting d-motivated to talk about The Thing after doing HOURS of reading and research?

    For Jebus’ sake, Karen, it’s a post about The Thing, not a damn thesis paper.

    I NEVER had this problem in the early 00s. I just POSTED. If it was three paragraphs or twenty, it got posted. Blathering, squealing about the things I was watching or reading or listening to, telling people what I did that day, ranting about work (this MAY not go over so well now, haha), whatever. I posted to my site, to my LiveJournal, whenever and wherever I could. I talked about fashion and makeup and dates with my boyfriend and going out dancing and posted pictures from my wee little digicam of the random shit I was doing, eating, looking at.

    Then came Twitter. Microblogging! Great!

    Then Facebook.

    Then everything else.

    And suddenly…I was afraid to post. I felt like it was all futile. No one was reading, because my life was BORING and nothing to look at. Another plus-sized woman, getting older, chattering about the banality of her day. Who cares? it’s not all about you, Karen. No one cares. Only post GOOD things, BIG things, things you are qualified to talk about. Only post hot takes or snark or memes.

    Where the FUCK did this fear come from? Can I blame it on social media, or the fear of not wanting to be lumped in with anyone too vapid or too vain or too stupid? I don’t know. I do know I got TIRED. Tired of having to keep up with tweets and posts and pictures and people. Too many sites, so little time, all just…screams into the void.

    But there’s SOMETHING beneficial about screaming into the void, isn’t there? Scream therapy. Grabbing the pillow and just yelling into it. The mind clears, the breaths even out. The stress is released. Is anyone there to listen? Does it matter? The pent up feelings is released and that’s the ultimate goal. Doesn’t matter if someone hears. If they do, and they take the time to commiserate, great. Otherwise, it’s still good.

    Last year, I started cutting cords with things and people that didn’t benefit me. And I found in late 2023 that a lot of that was standard social media. I found an article about the Indieweb and Mastodon and discovered that there were still people who enjoyed the simple act of screaming into the void and seeing if someone yelled back. Stop thinking, and just TALK. Stop wondering if it matters to everyone. If it matters to ME, that’s the important part. If it matters to someone, fantastic. But otherwise, just let it out.

    I’m going to scream into the void a lot more this year, without fear, without overthinking. I’m gonna talk and yell and holler whenever I like. No matter how big or small. I’m gonna stand on this little cliff-side space here online and just…let it out.

    If you’d like to come by and holler into space with me, that would be lovely. I’ll make coffee and put out a picnic blanket to sit on. The ground can get chilly up here, after all.


  • Went and had hot pot for dinner with the husband and my two best friends last night for my birthday.

    Today, my brother and his gf are coming over, we’re gonna play games and I’m cooking dinner.

    Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful post-birthday weekend. Here’s to my 47th year in existence being full of time with more loved ones and simple, cozy joy.


  • Taking VERY deep breaths today. I’m doing a group onboarding at work for multiple users in different offices. I’ve only done this a couple of times before, and I have a checklist to follow, but it’s still nerve-wracking. I need to get more practice with it, though, because I would really like to be able to do this MORE often. It makes things a lot less stressful.


  • Had a relaxing, yet productive day today. Got a good bit of chores done, spent the morning studying, submitted my first task for my Composition class, then made dinner in the crockpot (pot roast, with rice and a salad). Also did a few things on the backend of the site. Hopefully I fixed the oddball syndication issues I keep having!