She’s back!

7 Aug

Well now THAT’s behind us! …. “That” being my insanely intense summer jam session quarter that got crammed into a work schedule that became highly pressurized due to recent changes in German Holocaust reparations law and a bike training regime that was made more complex by my inability to remain upright and un-broken while attempting to develop mountain biking skills, and all of that was made ever-more-maddening thanks to my unquenchable obsession with watching the Tour de France.

<whew! excellent run-on sentence there! … does a half-decent job of conveying how I’ve felt these past 7 weeks!>

Yes, the TdF ended way back on July 27, which meant that I “should” have returned to the blog, as promised, but that was precisely when I was reaching peak-level demand in my academic life. As soon as the final TdF podium ceremony ended, I did a deep dive into my text and notebooks to prepare for the cumulative, 100% recall / short-answer essay Final exam that was SUPPOSED to happen on July 31.

Recall and writing exams are tough for anyone (I think, right?), but these abilities were (are) even more remote for me. Transferring loads of new info into long-term memory and then trying to get it back OUT again take a truly Herculean level of effort. If I had to take a such an exam last year, I probably would’ve needed to drop the class (or be ok with getting a C — not really an option!).

Luckily, the fates have been kind to me. They saved this performance challenge for the end of my initial “pre-req” academic interlude. To my great delight and surprise, I’ve made consistently good progress with building my learning and memory skills over the last 1.5 years that I’ve been in school. Thus, I felt reasonably up to the challenge of taking a 100% recall / short-answer essay Final exam on July 31…

But then UCLA got flooded on July 29, which meant that class (our last substantive lecture) got canceled that night.

ucla-flooding-1

Looks like fun, right?  It wasn’t.

My professor, whom I nick-named “Fletch Clavin” because he is a whack-job combo of a Fletch (i.e., Chevy Chase) spoof-character and the know-it-all wisecrackery of Cliff Clavin from “Cheers” — anyhow…. My professor issued the following emergency message to us:

We have to make a choice on the missed class: Do we go directly to the final on Thursday without covering the last section in class (and de-emphasize that material on the exam), or do we make up the cancelled class on Thursday and reschedule the exam for Tuesday?

Apparently my classmates transformed into a TROOP OF FRIKKIN MONKEYS because their collective response, which was entirely contrary to my own, caused Fletch Clavin to issue the following rejoinder on Wednesday morning:

After polling the class, it appears that almost everyone wants to makeup yesterday’s class so that we can cover the [material] missed. So I’ve asked the main office to extend our quarter and set up next Tuesday for the final. … To be clear: lecture tomorrow, final next Tuesday.

Are. You. Freakin. KIDDING ME?!?

I have spent DAYS studying for the exam that is supposed to be tomorrow! The amount of preparation and repetition required to actually Etch info into my Sketch® brain cannot be exaggerated. It also cannot be sustained. I will have to repeat this learning/cramming thing ALL OVER AGAIN for an exam that will take place 6 days hence.

<sigh>

PLUS you are jacking with my plans to have a rip-roarin’, rollicking time up at my sister’s new country estate (3 acres with chickens and goats and organic produce bearing trees and scrubs and a river runs through it!) over the weekend. The weekend that was SUPPOSED to be my “Yahoo! I’m done with finals, let’s celebrate” weekend of total fun and relaxation.

Fletch Clavin can suck it.

And the blog can suck it, too.

I didn’t study (or write) at all while I was up at my sister’s house/farm.

Reasons?

1. SHE LIVES ON THE SUN! No one can think when their brain is being baked/fried.

IMG_0972

2. I was too busy crashing myself into rocks on my mountain bike. Yes, that is my left hand. And, yes, I am left handed. That = Not Good.

3. Flying over Lake Tahoe with my sister’s father-in-law seemed like a MUCH better way to spend a Sunday morning!

4. I had more than enough of a challenge trying to eat all the bacon-based treats that my sister and her mother-in-law made for me (including a BACON PIE!)… and then trying to keep pace with the beers!

IMG_0996

How’s a girl supposed to study with all that going on?

She doesn’t.

Instead, she just crams like a mother-plugger as soon as she gets back to her own home on Monday afternoon after dragging her sorry arse 438 miles across the surface of the sun.

She then works (literally fighting Nazis) all day on Tuesday and then battles crazy rush hour traffic to take her exam Tuesday night.

She is, for the first time in her entire academic career THE LAST person to finish the exam. It was not easy.

She collapses into bed at 10:10pm that night (after enjoying a lovely glass of pinot — because that’s what 41-year-olds do when they complete their finals) and functions like a zombie all day on Wednesday until she sleeps 12 hours that night.

And today ….

Today she finally feels (mostly) normal.

And she got to ride her bike.

And she doesn’t have any splints on her hand any more.

So she is finally writing to you.

And if you follow her on Facebook then you already know all of this stuff, but most of you are non-FB followers, and you need to get caught up.

Tomorrow I will catch you up on the 5-day “Positivity Challenge” that I accepted while in the midst of all the aforementioned chaos. I’m told it makes for good reading. And it allows me to be a lazy-yet-productive blogger.

Your girl is back.

Everybody wins.

Parting Thought: Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken. ~Johnathan Swift

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