Possible Medical Problem

I was in the Emergency Room night before last for six hours with abdominal pain like you would not believe.  I had been having mild, bearable abdominal pain for a while now, but this  had me doubled over in tears and kind of loopy from the pain.  After sitting through a CT scan, the results came at a possible IBD diagnosis.  I need to go see my doctor (again) and get in touch with a GI doctor (again) to see if I can get an actual diagnosis.  Until then, they’ve put me on Cipro and Flagyl (both antibiotics) and Percocet (a painkiller) in the hopes of pushing whatever inflammation that is causing all this pain into remission.  I read somewhere that this is a typical tactic for Crohn’s Disease flare ups.

The problem that I’m having now is… I don’t know what to eat.  I’m so nauseated that I can barely get anything in me, and I’m paranoid everything I eat is going to cause pain, nausea, and other GI symptoms.  So far today I had three plain chicken dumplings and some tea.  I couldn’t stomach the dipping sauce, it was too harsh.  I’ll most likely have to give up eating vegetarian, because the high fiber content of the diet might worsen my symptoms.  I’m not happy with having to deal with this right now, it’s disruptive to school and the rest of my life, but I’m thankful that maybe at this point there’s finally a diagnosis at the end of the tunnel for me.  Being in pain for so long, just getting a name to it is a huge step forward.  Hopefully my doctor’s office takes this seriously and doesn’t blow off my concerns yet again.

Food Adventure: Crunchy Chickpeas, part deux!f

Today was the day I decided to re-try making crunchy chickpeas.  There are about a gazillion recipes on the ‘net for this tasty treat, some say 350 degrees, some say 425, some say 15 minutes, others say 45, it took a lot of digging to find something I could use.  So here’s what I did.

I took half a can of chickpeas (didn’t want to waste a whole can if they didn’t turn out properly again – I’ll use the rest in chickpea salad later…) drained, rinsed and patted them dry with paper towels.  I oiled them slightly with olive oil and put them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  I spread them out on the sheet and cooked them at 400F for 15 minutes, took them out, shook them up a bit, and cooked them again for 15 minutes.

After that, I took them out, put them in a bowl and added honey, hoisin and salt (just a little, enough to coat), They went back in for ten more minutes and viola – done!  

They actually came out crunchy this time – yay! They’re a little sweet, a little salty, and pretty darned tasty.  I’ll be trying other seasoning tactics on this one, now that I have the cook times down properly!  There’s plenty of ideas out there for toppings, just check Pinterest for more interesting combinations.

That’s all for now.  One more cooking adventure successfully in the bag!

Classes, debt, and a new hobby

Well, with a huge stroke of luck, a friend has loaned me the money to take two classes this fall.  I have to pay it back (plus the credit card interest) soon, hopefully it’ll work out ok.  I’m taking European History and Topics in Mathematics.  If things work out how I’m hoping they will, my Financial Aid will be reinstated for next semester, and I’ll be able to finish off my AA.  Yay!

The semester started yesterday with my Math class.  The teacher seemed alright, if a little awkward.  Thus far it’s nothing but definitions.  My History class is on Monday, and I’m worried about it.  I think it’s a Gordon Rule class, which means there will be writing assignments involved.  I hate that Gordon guy and his Rules (whoever he is).

Because I’m going to have a lot more free time on my hands, having only taken half the classes I normally would, I needed to find something to occupy my time.  I know I have the painting (you can see my paintings at Art Punx Studio) but I usually finish those in 2 days, maybe 3.  I wanted something long term.  Enter jewelry making – specifically, chainmaille.

I’ve always wanted to make jewelry, and maille has always fascinated me.  I look at those little rings and my brain picks apart the patterns and figures out how to arrange the rings to build them.  My head has a tendency to reverse engineer things like that, anything that has a distinct pattern.  I’ve already done byzantine, helm, barrel and made a star.  I’m not using the proper ring sizes yet (just cheapo rings from Joann’s) , but I’m hoping maybe if I save my pennies I can order real rings in the right sizes.

Below are some photos of what I’ve been working on.  I’ve got ideas I’d like to experiment with – like making a rosary and making a choker utilizing cowrie shells – but I’m still designing them in my head for the time being.  If you’d like to keep an eye on my future maille work, feel free to subscribe to my Instagram feed, I post my experiments there.

Time for me to get some rest, I haven’t been well lately and the painkillers the doctor gave me have me a bit loopy.  TTFN!

Byzantine Choker

Byzantine Choker

Rainbow Shaggy Loops with Pony Beads

Rainbow Shaggy Loops with Pony Beads

Admitting Defeat.

I give.

I’ve done everything I could possibly think of to pay for this fall semester, and I’ve failed.

Financial aid suspended. Student and Personal Loans denied. GoFundMe not successful enough. Friends unable to help as we had planned on. Vocational Services were unhelpful. I’m at a loss. I have to just admit defeat and move on with my life.

It hurts, though, knowing that I’ve worked hard, and done my absolute best, and still come away with nothing. I’ve earned a 3.75 GPA at this school, and yet, I still can’t find a way to stay there.

I have this issue with feeling like I’m just not good enough, and this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had one goal, one dream, and now it’s gone. What am I supposed to do now?

Android App Pre-review: myHomework Student Planner

Here’s another unsolicited review of an Android app.

At the beginning of the summer semester, I did a review on some apps I was going to try out for school.  One of them was a homework tracking app.  That particular app, in action, turned out out to be so convoluted and difficult to use that I ended up uninstalling it.  It was getting to the point where I was beginning to considering learning to code to just design my own app to get exactly what I was looking for.  I want:

  • To track my classes
  • To track my homework
  • A widget to go along with my calendar widget
  • The ability to see what’s coming up, not just what’s do on one day

I don’t want to have to dig to find out what’s coming up in class.  I need something that shows me what’s coming up when, what’s overdue, etc.  Also, it can’t be complicated to use.  It’s a planner, not astrophysics.  Enter myHomework Student Planner, free from the Google Play store.

my homework app

This will be my second attempt at using an effective digital planner on my Samsung S4 running KitKat.

I downloaded it and got it set up.  It gives you three options for how to enter your classes, whether it’s by class period, time block, and I think the third is by color?  It has a big widget (4×2) that fits right under my calendar widget – I had to sacrifice my big huge clock but hey, we do what we must.  It can sync between a web version, tablet, phone and Win8 app versions so you’ll have your homework listing wherever you go.  It has notifications for things that are coming up or are late.

How I didn’t notice this app the first time around I have no idea, but I’m really looking forward to giving it a test run when the semester starts in two weeks.  Hopefully this one out-performs the previous one I tried.  I’ll keep you posted!

Summer Semester Over!

The summer semester is officially over.  I got an A in my Astronomy class and an S in my pass/fail Interdisciplinary Studies class (which means I passed), giving me a 4.0 for the semester.

The upside is it gives me a 3.72 institutional GPA.  That’s for all the classes I’ve taken at THIS school.  If you count my numerous failures at previous institutions, that brings my cumulative GPA down to 2.459.  Sigh.

Things are still up in the air as for my fall semester.  The money isn’t there yet for my tuition, and I don’t think I’ll sleep easy until it is.  I have to drop my Biological Anthropology class – sadface – because that means I’ll have to take it at the University level for twice as much money.  Double-plus-sigh. That puts me at 3 classes for the fall, for a total of nine credits:  Humanities, History and Math.  It would’ve been nice to take something pertaining to my major, to keep me motivated, but it’s just not in the cards.

Fall semester starts on the 21st.  Looking forward to a more full-time-ish schedule.

That’s about it for now.  Everyone have a great upcoming weekend.

End of the (School) Year Report

Ok!  It’s almost August, and I’m wrapping up my second summer class, it meets only once more, the day of our final project, and I have a TON of work to do in regards to completing that.

A lot of my friends/loved ones have decided to return to school this far, and to me, that’s fantastic!  I’m so glad people are realizing that it’s never too late to go back to school, further your aspirations, strive to achieve your dreams (and hopefully a better paycheck, too!).

I’m not really sure what kind of words of advice I can give, so I’ll just run down the things that have popped up over the past twelve months at HCC and see how it’s affected my life.

Don’t Let The Man Get You Down

Ugh.  The first problem I had going back to school is the Administration.  Anyone who has watched me blindly stagger through my college experience this year, knows that I’ve had nothing but headache and heartache from the paper-pushers.  I couldn’t get my residency approved.  I couldn’t get my financial aid approved.  Everywhere was disaster after disaster.  The only thing I can say is keep pushing.  Don’t phone the financial aid office – GO TO the financial aid office!  In my experience at HCC, the phone number goes to a call center, NOT to the university (as I’ve been told by a number of different offices on campus…) and they have NO FREAKING CLUE what they’re talking about.  Seriously. They don’t.  They call center for a number of schools at the same time, and have a tendency to confuse policy between institutions.  Go and talk to a real human being – a lot of the time the wait will be the same, sometimes even shorter, than it would be to wait on hold.

Priorities!!

This is where a lot of us might have gotten a bit confused our first time around this block, and it’s something that kind of burns me up when I walk around campus, and see the students who spend all their time in the student lounge, never attending classes.  I’m sure at one point, there was someone looking down on me in that same way, many moons ago.  I think as we get older, we get to the point where we realize, where it sinks in, WHY we’re here.  I’m at school to learn.  I’m here to open my books, bust my ass, and learn as much as I can with the best GPA I can manage.  If I’m not studying, if I’m not reading, if I’m not doing the work, then I’m not doing my best.  It’s a bit obsessive of me, I know, but if I’m getting a 92, and I’m not giving it my all, then a 92 isn’t my best work.  Remember why you’re there.  There’s time to make friends and connect at school, sure, but the priority is the education.

Professors Aren’t Scary

My first semester all my professors intimidated the hell out of me.  Even in some cases where they were my age or younger, I still found their position of authority to be somewhat of a roadblock to accessibility.  It’s probably just a ‘me’ thing, but don’t be afraid to talk to your professors.  Sure, they’re not your buddy, and you shouldn’t treat them that way!  But if you find things they might find interesting, or you want to discuss the coursework further, then by all means approach them.  Most professors (I won’t generalize by saying ‘all’) are quite eager to listen or help out.  I’d love to thank Professor Fisk of the Anthropology Department for breaking me free of this bit of phobic behavior!

You Are What You Eat!

The freshman 15 is alive and well.  I discovered my near-vegetarian anti-soda habits bit the dust when I got to school, when it’d be a danish and a soda for breakfast and some other manner of junk for lunch.  After gaining about ten pounds that I had previously lost, I made the switch:  Tea or flavored water to drink, grapes and cheddar cheese cubes for lunch, sometimes with the addition of yogurt with granola and berries.  MUCH better.  Lots of protein, lots of goodness… you need a good healthy source of energy for the learning brain!  The rough part is trying to squeeze in food between classes kinda sucks, especially if you only have fifteen minutes between classes.  Pack things in small containers and have ready to eat finger foods for those little interim scarf periods.  I don’t like eating or drinking in class.  I consider it kind of rude to the professor, and in our school there are signs posted everywhere not to eat or drink in class.  So I make sure that whatever I’m drinking can be in a container with a seal.  That way I can stuff it in my back and not worry about spilling drinks all over my desk and notebooks and stuff.

Oh – and stay hydrated. Super important stuff right there.

That’s all I can really think of.  It’s really nothing that we don’t all already know on some level, but it’s something else entirely when you actually LIVE it.  So go out, do your best, and I can’t wait to see your comments and facebook posts about the greatness of getting back to school!