Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School

Today was the first day of classes for Cale and I in our going back to school adventure. I have spent the last two weeks in math camp and orientation, while Cale has been scratching his eyes out with boredom.

Mondays will be easy for us. Our first classes do not start until 2:30pm. I only have one class on Mondays; Cale has two. Both of Cale's classes are freshman business school classes: finite math and business computers. My only class of the day is Public Management Economics, which was way more interesting than it sounds.

Things have changed since we were last at school. For me that was more than seven years ago and for Cale it was at least five. One of Cale's classes is a huge lecture hall that requires the students to have a clicker, which is basically an electronic way to "participate" in the lecture.

My economics class is presented by Prof. Ross in a pretty interesting way. He styles his class on instructions on how not to kill people and starts the lecture asking questions about whether or not seat belts should be on school buses and referring to the FDA as an effective killing machine. Ask yourself:

1. There are 531 billion barrels of known oil reserves in the world. Annually, 16.5 billion are consumed. When will we run out of oil?

2. Why do so many cities and towns run out of water in Southern California?

3. A valley is flooded. Houses in the plain are damaged, while homes higher up are not. Who, if anyone, should we feel sorry for?

Keep in mind this is an econ class when attempting to answer these questions.

Cale and I both managed to have articles of clothing that required Oxycleaning by the end of the day. Cale dug through piles of empty ammo boxes at the army surplus and filthed up his brand new dress pants. I was surprised by a slightly early visit from Aunt Flo. Thank goodness I was wearing my brand-new, bright-white underpants from Victoria Secrets.

< . Side Note >Can I just take a minute to talk about my undergarments?

<. Side, Side Note >People not interested in Sara's breasts or women's panties should probably skip this part. <./ Side, Side Note >

So its been more than two years since I bought a bra. The last bra I bought was over the internet from Target while in Samoa. I went to Samoa with about four bras and three sports bras. Several of them had been stored away in ziplocks to preserve the elastic, but even that wasn't enough. It's been so long since I have owned a new, appropriately stretchy bra that I forgot what they were like. Supportive. That's what they are like.

Sunday I went shopping for undergarments at Victoria Secrets. Aside from three pairs of panties purchased at the mall in Los Angeles immediately after our return to America, I have never shopped there before. Holy Shiznit! I have never owned such comfortable bras in my life! Usually, after a particularly strenuous day one of the first things I like to do when I get home is take my bra off. For get that. After school today, I wandered around the house without a shirt with just my new bra. That's how comfortable it is. Furthermore, I was always under the impression I had small, flat terrible, boobs. Apparently what I had was bras that gave me small, flat, terrible boobs. You know what I have now? Cleavage! I have never...ever...ever had cleavage. I just though it was something my boobs couldn't do. Shows what I know. My boobs are so spectacular is these bars if it wasn't for my belly fat, I would want to wander around outside without a shirt on just so the general public could enjoy my breasts as much as I am.

Also, I now own underpants that can be called panties. I usually have sturdy underpants. These underpants get the job done. They are no nonsense. They are Hanes-Her-Way. They can be washed on the heavy-duty cycle and come out is the same condition as they went in. They are underpants. What I got in Los Angeles from Victoria Secrets are panties. They are delicate. They have ribbons or lace. They do not react well to the type of washing that happens to clothes when you are backpacking around Southeast Asia. My new panties from Victoria Secrets are slightly more utilitarian from the last, but are still delicate and luxuriant and I have promised to wash them on the hand-washables cycle in the washing machine.

Enough on my undergarments
<. / Side Note >

Where were we? Oh, yes, the first day of school.

Cale got called Sir. I discovered I cannot seem to print on any computer on campus. We both came home to find piles of books shipped from Amazon waiting in our mailbox and on our front doorstep. What more could you ask for?

— Sara

PS. Do you know how tricky it is to add ironic html code into a blog entry when blogger supports html? it just hides all your ironic coding as if it was code. Unless there really is an html code for side note.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Name Game

Cale and I have this game, the goal of which is to come up with names that will fit into the rules. However, we don't really have any rules. You just know a name that fits when you hear it.

Venn Diagram

Vector Graphic


Do you see the trend here? First name Venn? Middle name Diagram? It is a thing and it could be a name. Also, the word that is the first name isn't so weird that it is unbelievable.

There is more to the game than that.

casE sensitive

casE is pronounced Casey. The capital letter is key here; making the name itself case sensitive. I know, you are amazed by the cleverness of this name.

Also, if you happen to be a French/German couple:

Reaux Beaux Kaup

You get it? Robo Cop. Another kid that will never resent his parents.

We also have ones that don't quite fit into that category. Like brothers Alpha Male and Beta Male. I suppose it sucks to be the younger brother. Or an entire family of boys: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan and Tamerlane Khan. I suppose this one would work better if Khan was your last name and not as first and middle names.

Cale, as you know, goes by his middle name. That's right folks, some of you out there don't even know Cale's real first name! Shocking. He likes the idea of kids going by their middle names (I suppose so they can suffer through first day of school roll call the way he did). Cale also happens to be named after his father and likes that idea too. So he has suggested:

Also Cale Reeves
and
Other Cale Reeves


Names I am sure that any kid would appreciate.

What about you? Have any names that would fit into our game?

— Sara

Friday, August 13, 2010

Country Living

McCormick's Creek
McCormick's Creek State Park. Only 10 miles from our front door.

I am a city girl at heart.

At least that is what I kept insisting as Cale and I slept outside on mats in tiny towns in Southeast Asia and Samoa, like this one.

Clem's Lunch Hut

Also, I do not camp.

Anywho.

I didn't grow up in a big city like New York or Chicago, but Indianapolis is still the 14th largest city in the country (population-wise). I think I might have gone to an apple orchard as a field trip in elementary school. When my parents took us to the state fair as kids I saw farm animals in cages. And that is about the extent of my country living in America. Even when I left Indy for college, I still moved to a respectably-sized town. Columbia has a population of over 100,000. My first job was in Evansville (a city I considered way too small) with a population of more than 120,000. Next on the list was Orlando, population more than 230,000 (metro area, more than two million).

However, outside of American Cale and I like to stick to the tiny towns. The entire population of Samoa is just slightly more than Evansville, Indiana. Our village, Faleula, had an estimated population around 2,000 (the smallest place we have ever lived). In Thailand, Bangkok was obviously too big (nine million people in the city alone), but so were Chiang Mai (just under 150,000) and Chiang Rai (62,000). We had to get out into the country in villages of less than 10,000 to be comfortable. Our favorite place in Cambodia had a population of less than 40,000.

Now we are in Poland for our first attempt at small town living in the States. Poland is unincorporated, so it is tricky to find population information, but it appears there are about 2,000 of us out here. In Samoa we were 20 minutes out of Apia (38,000). In Poland we are five minutes out of Spencer (20,000).

We've decided to approach our new lifestyle here with the same sense of adventure we used to explore the rural in other countries. We've already been to a county fair (take note that one of the top links on the site is hog wrestling), swam in a farm pond and burned our trash in our backyard.

Farm Pond

One of the benefits to living in the country is all your friends and family have huge gardens and are constantly insisting you take free food with you.

At Cale's Mom's Place

In the spirit of more food than you can possibly eat before it goes bad, Cale and I have decided to start experimenting with canning. Recently we turned about 20 pounds of tomato (and other ingredients) into seven pint jars of salsa.

Canning Experiments

I am also learning about maintaining huge tracts of land (actual farmers will of course mock me and my "huge" three acres, but it is immense to me). In the picture below, I am not driving a lawn mower (as you city folk might think). That is in fact a tractor. A surprising number of things in the country are tractors.

Sara and Manual Labor

However, this thing, that Cale is driving, is a lawn mower. Yeah, it confuses me too.

At Cale's Mom's Place

I quickly learned that my delicate hands aren't used to all this manual labor. Took the skin right off my thumbs after raking for only 10 minutes (there was much more raking in my future as well).

Sara and Manual Labor

Cale promises to take me to "the races" and fishing! Stay tuned for more country living adventures.

— Sara

Canning Experiments
Smack wanted to help can.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Guess You Get What You Ask For

I suppose it is a little contradictory of me to refer to our return to school as part of our continuing effort to not grow up and then complain about being treated like a child, but this is ridiculous.

{SCREEEECH} COMPLETE BREAK FROM TOPIC

I have noticed lately that when I start typing a blog entry, I usually start with the sentence that should probably be found halfway down. I have provided no explanation or set up for the above statement. It's just dropped out of no where. In previous entries I have gone back and cut the offending sentence from the beginning and moved it to a more appropriate place, but in this instance I am leaving it. I am not sure why my mind works this way, but its been doing it for a long time now. Back in my magazine writing class at Mizzou I did the same thing with several stories. We were asked to re-write a story our professor (and editor-at-large at GQ magazine) had written. My lede was a scene halfway through his story when the protagonist finds himself sitting in his backyard with his gun collection thinking about shooting himself. When I wrote a profile on one of the guys inside the Truman the Tiger suits, I started it with him on the steps of the basketball stadium with a bloody fist. I just like to start in the middle I guess. Either that, or it is a cheap gimmick to make up for the fact that I am not that great of a writer to start with.

{SCREEEECH} AND NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM

So things have been a little entertaining on the Cale-is-going-back-to-school-as-an-undergraduate front. First we had to be back in America in mid-July so he could attend one of those welcome-to-college days where fresh-faced freshman wander around with their parents in awe and sleep in a dorm for the first time. Granted his was specifically for transfer students and was in theory less geared towards 18-year-olds, but not by much. They still seem to assume you are 19 or 20 years old and transferring from a community college where you probably lived with your parents. There were sections on renters' rights and the dangers of credit cards. For all the jumping through hoops and presentations, all Cale really needed to do was see a academic advisor and register for classes, yet he wasn't allowed to simply do that. He was required to attend one of these welcome events. They don't seem to offer any sort of option for adults who are returning to finish their undergraduate degrees. It was frustrating enough for Cale, but I am trying to imagine what something like that would be like for, say, a retiree, who decided to go back to school. You're 65 and you have to watch 20-year-olds give you talks about managing your money and using the library.

Cale is going back to school for a business degree. Very few of his existing credits count toward this degree, but he has is electives totally taken care of. He joking refers to all his 300-level classes that are meaningless now. "You mean my credits in playwriting don't count for anything in the business school?" However, his life experience doesn't seem to count for anything either. Cale has run a million dollar restaurant, he was a corporate fixer who went around to failing franchises to set them straight and he was self-employed when he was making studio furniture, but there is no way for him to get out of the mandatory careers in business class.

Recently Cale received an email from school telling him he must complete a two-part, multi-hour online alcohol education course before he can register for classes in the spring semester. He even called to ask if he could get out of it. "I'm 30 years old," he explained. Doesn't matter. So Cale spent two hours watching videos of edgy teen-agers read from scripts about drinking, drugs and healthy relationships.

He was asked questions like:
"How likely are you to get in trouble with your parents for your drinking."
"How likely are you to drink more than four drinks in a night and be taken advantage of sexually"

And had to account for his living situation.
At home with mom and dad? Off-campus apartment with friends? Living with his steady girlfriend/boyfriend?

It seems surprising to me that there is not an admissions option for transfer/returning students over a certain age that would exempt them from all these requirements obviously created for teen-agers or people living away from home for the first time.

Oh well, at least Cale is getting almost weekly reminders that he is currently successfully continuing to not grow up. Or possibly daily reminders that despite his best efforts, he may have inadvertently grown up — just a little bit.

Cale's response? "I'd better hurry up and buy a motorcycle."

— Sara