Girls don’t need telescopes.

(What follows is an essay that I’ll be turning is as part of a scholarship application. This happened last night and I’m still very upset about it. I hope you’re upset, too. The encounter lasted for quite a while but the word count for the essay must be less than 500 words.)

I’d had another essay prepared for this application. It was a really good essay, too, but something happened last night that I feel very strongly about. I am compelled to share this experience with you as it pertains to my educational and career goals.

My son and I went to the observatory here on campus. He likes star charts and planets and imagining what aliens might look like. We climbed the spiral stairs and looked through viewfinders; we saw the stars and he was happy. As he leaned over the railing, he saw a group of kids playing chase and he asked if he could join in. I agreed and down we went. He tore off after the other boys and a girl, probably about ten years old, stood beside me. She told me, as gregarious and talkative children do, about her brothers and her favorite subjects and how much she likes “space stuff”.

When I showed her the star chart app on my phone, she said, “My dad has one of those on his phone but he won’t let me see it.” I showed her the Pleiades on my tiny screen and told her the old myths about the seven sisters. She said, “I want a telescope but my dad says girls don’t need telescopes.” I suggested maybe she just wasn’t old enough and she said, “No, he just says girls don’t need sciencey stuff. Girls don’t need telescopes.” I felt nauseous, but she continued, “We all want to look through the telescope, but my dad says the boys get to look first because I’m just a girl. I’ve been asking for a long time, but finally my brother asked, so we got to come.”

Our conversation continued and I chatted with her mother (who thought I was crazy for wasting my time with school) and the family finally left to go up the stairs to the observatory. The father and the boys went first while the little girl held her mother’s hand and bounced with excitement.

This is why I want to teach: I want to empower children, especially girls, with knowledge and curiosity. “Girls don’t need sciencey stuff” will haunt me for a long, long time.

My husband has deployed to Afghanistan; children there would gather around the troops and ask for candy or pens. He offered pens to the girls first, as pens are seen as tools for education and power. “Kahlum, meestuh? Kahlum?” (“Pen, sir? Pen?”) The thirst for knowledge is acute in the young, even in cultures where women are worth less than a goat…I never thought I’d see a family squash the light of curiosity here in America.

I will teach high school chemistry and I will add oxygen to the flame of curiosity. Girls need sciencey stuff.

Bullet journal: awesome things & mistakes

I started a bullet journal this year. I don’t know that I needed one, but I’ve got an unnatural affinity for notebooks and pens; when I came across this style of journaling, I started obsessing.

One neat aspect of journaling this way is that the pages aren’t always in order. Calendar pages are filled in only a few weeks in advance and the pages in between are created on an as needed basis. I like this; it flows with life as it happens.


I decided I wanted to keep one journal for the entirety of our stay here in South Carolina. This meant I had to find a book with enough pages and enough large space to accommodate a lot of writing/doodling. I landed on a Moleskein soft cover, grid patterned book. So far, I’m very glad I chose it.

It’s only been a few months, though, so there’s still time for regret….
I got most of my ideas from Pinterest or other web spots. I’d read somewhere that having various overviews of time was important for long term planning, so here ^^^ is my Periodic Table inspired calendar for several years…
And this one ^^^ is just 2017 (with the list of birthdays blocked). I’ll create one for 2018/9 later. The facing page is part of my Nerd Planning for school. …more on that in a minute…
Here’s the first month. I was still trying to figure out what I was doing. Also, see the impression bleeding through the facing page? Yeah. This happens a lot because 1) I press too hard when I draw/write, 2) I didn’t use the $pecial pens fancy bullet journalists use, and 3) this book isn’t really meant for what I’m using it for. The bleeding through doesn’t bother me all the time, but sometimes I feel salty about it.
Here’s what is bleeding through…

These are my favorite pages so far. This is my Ultimate Nerd Plan for graduation. Each class has its own benzene ring. When I register for the class, I color the border. When I finish the class, I turn them into flowers. My hope is that by graduation, I will have two pages of beautiful, completed classes. …also, a degree.

In February, I sort of figured out what I was doing with the book.

This is my bill/expense tracker to help me remember to do adult things. Like pay bills and stay on budget.

Assignment Pages the First. This is a lifesaving set of pages. I used the syllabus from each class to list assignments and marked them off as they’re completed. As these pages are filled, I will absolutely be making more.

More Nerd Planning. This was helpful when I met with my advisor.

This month’s calendar. I have learned that I prefer my calendar’s not like this because I have to turn the book. Two examples of class pages. Each class gets a page.


I like the calendar pages like this much better.

See the bleeding through? Yeah… 

This is what’s bleeding through: my new workout page. (Side note: Wonder Woman is my home girl. I want to be her when I grow up.)

Miscellaneous goal setting pages…

And my Graduation with Leadership Distinction (Research) pages. This will end up being a massive two to four semester research activity so more pages will be devoted to this later.

I counted the number of classes and months and determined this book will more than accommodate my needs. Some people use a page a week and use a new book every year. I like the idea of that, but I’m so ridiculously happy to be in school right now that wanted to keep all of my classes with me all the time. Because Nerd.

My stamps came from We the Sciencey on Etsy. Check ’em out.

How do you journal? I’d love some inspiration!

Cheers!

Some more randomness in photos and drivel

This outfit is a big reason I started selling LuLaRoe: it makes me feel cute. Plus pockets. I’m so jazzed!! I’m taking my son to see Flogging Molly tomorrow! It’s his first concert and I think I’m way more excited than he is. It snowed here in SC. Weird. 

Word. All the words. 

I’m in big girl school! 

This owl picture…probably every kid born in the ’70’s has this picture. My friend Kebrina gave me this picture; I really wanted it because I remember it from my grandma’s house. ❤

This is from that time I wore a skirt as a top and played the cello for trick or treaters. …it was clearly a very dark time. 😉 

Halloween was fun last year.

Baseball season ❤⚾️

My husband’s promotion ceremony. I’m so in love with this man. 

So…there’s some stuff that I should have been blogging about but totally didn’t. 

I think next I’ll blog about my new workout. It sucks. You’ll love it. 😎

New adventures because electrons.

So…its been a hot minute and lots has happened. We moved, I started a business, I went back to school (again), The Sir is back in school (again), and I have another blog. Also, I haven’t been taking photos of my cooking or keeping track of my workouts or any of the usual stuff that I used to drone on about here. When I read blogs and the author says, “I’m really sorry for not posting more often…” I always roll my eyes. Who cares? Its a blog. So, dear reader, you get no apology. You do, however, get a lame-ass explanation, if you’re interested.

Yes-I-love-technology...

 

I graduated from Fayetteville Tech with an Associate in Science (this took me longer than the creators of “Community” ever dreamed. Sissies.) I’m now a chemistry major at the University of South Carolina. (Apparently, they are also good at basketball?) I’m finally at a big girl school and I have to tell you: I geek out on a regular basis. Like every. single. day. My school campus is beautiful and there are so many students and most of them are 12 and wear pajamas to class and use “f*ck” like a comma, but there’s also an observatory and laboratories and mass spectrometers and Starbucks. The library is 7 or 8 levels of air that smells like books and coffee and the tears of undergraduates. I transferred in with a ridiculous amount of credits, but only 109 count toward my degree. I’m listed as a senior(citizen) but I’m not scheduled to graduate until Spring 2019.

And I started a couple of little pages on Tumblr. Tumblr is weird and I’m still figuring it out but I do enjoy the memes, the swears, and the obligatory teen angst.

I started a bullet journal. I started a new workout. My husband got injured at work but he’s better now. We bought land. I am a LuLaRoe retailer. I listen to too many podcasts (Behind the Wires. Welcome to Nightvale. StarTalk. Nerdist. This American Life. The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry. Anxiously awaiting the new season of Serial. ).

Anyway, I’ll post some more soon, but in the mean time, here’s some new links where you can follow me (stalk much?) around the web. If nothing else, it should provide for some comic relief while I stumble around the world figuring myself out. …because at 41(!) I should, you know, like…start to figure stuff out.

Chemistry Mom  on Tumblr

The blog I started for my undergraduate research. (Don’t get excited; the research hasn’t started yet.)

The FaceBook page for my LuLaRoe VIP group. All the cool kids are there, yo.

Where I tweet, apparently. Because that’s what people do on twitter. They tweet. I am a tweeter.

Thanks for hanging around, dear reader. I hope to make it worth your while. 🙂

On glycolysis and drinking soap

My A&P professor is brilliant. Like…can teach anyone anything brilliant. And in class we’re talking about glycolysis and the nervous system and how wonderful the human body is. I was inspired by…perhaps an unhealthy dose…of scientific curiousity. I do not blame my instructor for what follows:

I got home from school and went for a run.

Since I hadn’t eaten for several hours, I was pretty sure I didn’t have much free-roaming glucose in my blood stream, so, I reasoned, glycolysis (freeing up stored glycogen from my liver) should follow pretty quickly after I start exercising.

No lunch. Just coffee to drink. It’s hot. It’s humid. I ran.

When a person is dehydrated and hungry on a good day, bad things can happen. When a person runs in the heat bad things can happen. Enter: My Scientific Mind.

I shall, I thought, make note of how amazing my liver is and happily report my findings to anyone unfortunate enough listen. …that’s not what happened.

What happened, gentle reader, is that when I got home from my hour long run, my brain was beset by too many photons of light and not enough energy. My eyes took forever to readjust to the relative darkness of my house and I was dizzy from dehydration. I stumbled upstairs to my bathroom, stripping as I went, to find-eureka!-a bottle of water waiting for me by my sink.

No. It was not water. It was white tea scented soap and it tasted like …soap.

After inventing new curse words in Klingon, and stumbling to the shower, I rinsed my mouth. I became a human bubble machine. I could’ve worked for Lawrence Welk. I looked like Cujo French kissing a car wash brush. I smelled good though, so…there’s that.

Justice, I suppose, for the swear words…

Anyway, folks, please eat and hydrate before you run. Glycolysis is great, and all, but it tastes a lot like soap.

 

I Got Called a Dependapotomus and It Doesn’t Matter

You can find the definition of dependapotomus here.

(I was going to post a picture but you can Google for yourself…the pictures are all very…creative?)

Here’s the scene:

I was sitting in a Starbucks on post working on my nuclear chemistry homework (OMG the brain cells…they hurts us, Precious) and there were two female soldiers waiting in line to order their drinks. One of them starts chatting with me about my school work and what I’m going to school for and what’s what about my life. The other one says, “You don’t even have a job?! It must be nice to be a dependapotumus, but I actually have shit to do all day.” and she laughed with her perfect teeth all over her perfect face. At which point I got all sweaty and nauseated and my vision went all wonky (adrenaline can be so inefficient sometimes) and I said something like, “You don’t know my history, or my spouse, and you should be more careful to whom you speak. And in some cultures having a fat wife is considered a sign of success and virility.”

(Seriously. Where is this culture? I need to move there.)

Then a CWO (Chief Warrant Officer. Respect them. Love them. Fear them.) politely asked the lieutenants if they would please accompany him to a “sidebar”, only he said it like if they didn’t go with him he’d murder their puppy twelve times before lunch. I don’t know much after that because I just stared at my chemistry book, trying not to cry from shame, and cursing my stupid brain for not coming up with a witty, soul-crushing response.  I’m sure I’ll think of something in the shower tonight and it will be epic.

I texted a couple of friends and made a Facebook post. Everyone is on my side and they are all sufficiently pissed off on my behalf. Also, everyone has wonderful retorts and I am going to write them down and keep them in my pocket like Mr. Collins’ keeps compliments. Folks are like “they are just jealous” and “what bitches” and “you are awesome” and “lets cut them” which leaves me feeling incredibly warm and fuzzy. Nothing says love like the prospect of violence on behalf of friendship.

The fact is that I am a dependent. My home, the food in my belly, the clothes on my back, the classes I’m taking, the children (who are clean, well-behaved, and brilliant, by the way) I’ve birthed are all dependent on my husband. I would have none of these things (at least not in their current, blissful iteration) without my husband and the work that he does. I am aware and I am grateful and I won’t spout off about “my role is just as important as his” because that argument makes me very uncomfortable. I am blessed enough to be able to study at a Starbucks…my life is pretty good. We are a team and the execution of our contract isn’t anyone’s business; he’s happy with the state of his life and I’m happy with the state of my life and we will skip off into the sunset together just as soon as the next FTX or JOAX or JRTC or deployment or PowerPoint Rodeo will allow.

I could defend myself with “I’m not fat” (but I could lose some jiggle, its true) and “we don’t have that many kids” (we have 3 and if it weren’t for miscarriages we’d have 5) and “I do stuff all day” (its school work so my house isn’t really that tidy and won’t be until after finals). Really, though, who cares? I’ll be the size I’m gonna be (and finish marathons, by the way) and have as many kids as we want to have (we’re Catholic…we should have a squad by now) and I really am busy all day (with three kids in sports and scouts and clubs-this is obvious to anyone with, like, eyes.) and I was studying fricking nuclear chemistry for Pete’s sake… “I am Spouse, Hear Me Roar” defenses are pretty hollow sounding.

I don’t know why that female thought it was funny but my guess is that she’s seen someone who fits whatever mold she thinks warrants the name dependapotomus and was looking for an excuse to use the word. So that’s fine; she’s entitled to her opinion and I’m grateful for her service to my country. I hope she can get to know other dependents and gain some perspective on military family life. I hope she grows as a person, sees the error of her ways ,and befriends a military spouse in order to appreciate the other side of the tracks. I wish her success in her career.

Also, in the cozy little cockles of my shiny, patriotic heart I kind of hope that CWO made her cry like the crusted over barracks bunny she probably is. 

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I probably shouldn’t have said anything or made a Facebook post or even written this blog post. But…what is technology good for if not rallying one’s friends for a bitch-lynching?

Sticks and stones, Love…sticks and stones…

Now, I have to get back to my studying for finals, laundry, making dinner, running 4 miles, organizing the garage, getting the oil changed, paying the bills, burying the family pet and consoling kids, getting kids to baseball camp, making everyone’s dentist appointments, electronic griping, preparing Cub Scout meetings, hiding my true emotions about family upsets back home, arranging the prospective purchase of our future home and farm, wrangling the teenager and all of her social contacts, cleaning out the car couch and preparing to get blasted on Easily Offended Military Spouse websites…

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