Today is the first Saturday since late August that I haven't started my day studying and doing homework. I just completed a college course on Technical Communication which involved a lot of writing, studying and test taking.
I took this course online through a local community college and it was, overall, a great experience. I enjoyed the class, and it was fairly easy for me because many of the lessons were about business writing. Since I've been working in corporate America for 20+ years I have lots of experience writing for business. For example, one assignment was writing a "thanks but no" letter to a job applicant. Working in HR for the past 15 years meant that I could write the letter in just a few minutes since I've done it many, many times. I did learn a few new things though, and the book will be a great reference tool that I plan to keep on my bookshelf.
So, why now? Why am I, in my late 40's, choosing to spend my Saturdays studying when I could be doing so many things? Good question! The answer is simple - I have a personal goal of attaining my college degree. Do I need it? Maybe not. Will it have the impact it would for a recent high school graduate? No, I don't think so. Even still, it's something I've been wanting to do for a long time and I'm excited that I'm finally making progress towards that goal.
I did attend college right after I graduated from highschool. This photo was taken when one of my colllege girlfriends came home with me for a weekend, probably in the spring. Oh, so YOUNG. I'm on the left, and my girlfriend on the right is Bonnie.
When it was time to choose a college I can remember my parents and I standing at the kitchen table looking at a map of Minnesota. I know many kids choose their college based on the majors offered, the college ranking, or maybe the percent of graduates that find a job in their field. I took a different approach. As we stood looking at the map my question was, "which college is the furthest away from home?" The answer was Bemidji State University, 4 hours from my hometown. Just like that the decision was made. I grew up in a very small town where everyone knew everyone else, and the thought of going somewhere far away was super EXCITING.
So I went to BSU and had a great time. No, I mean a GREAT time. I made some really, really good friends that are some of my closest friends to this day. We didn't miss one social event offered on or off campus. I can't say the same about classes . . . we missed lots of those. Were we serious students? Heck no. My GPA at the end of the year was 1.86 (as a reminder, a 4.0 GPA is an A). Needless to say, it was decided that I would not return for Year #2.
So, now it's 30+ years later and I'm back in school. Believe it or not some of my credits actually transferred but it took a lot of nerve to contact BSU for a transcript. I finished my first class last week with an A, so clearly I'm a bit more serious this time arround.
I'm a strong advocate for going to college right out of high school. You are with kids your age, you learn to be independent, and you don't have a fulltime job or a family that competes with your time. However, for some kids it just isn't the right time. I clearly wasn't focused enough nor did I have good time management skills. It's much easier for me now, and sometimes that's just something kids need to figure out for themselves. Lessons learned.
Many people have moved to electronic storage of addresses which can make additions, deletions and changes much easier. However, if you are like me there's nothing like putting pen to paper, and there's something really great about having address in your own handwriting even if they include crossed out addresses, phone numbers, or maybe even spouses. Hey, it happens.
When I was engaged to be married back in 1984 my mom found an idea in a wedding planning book to store addresses on index cards in a recipe box. The idea was to write addresses using pencil so if one of your contacts moved you could easily update their address. This idea went even one step further, suggesting that you keep track of gifts and thank-you's sent on the index card along with the addresses. My mom thought it was a great idea and purchased a recipe box and a pack of index cards for me.
This is the recipe box my mom purchased for me. If I'm being honest, I've never liked it. The good thing is that it's YELLOW which has always been my favorite color. The flowers? Not so much. I probably didn't plan to keep it long so I never even bothered to completely remove the price sticker. Twenty-nine years later I'm still using this box to store my addresses.
Back in 1984 I sat at the kitchen table with the wedding guest list in front of me and typed - on a typewriter - an index card for each guest (by family). This card was for my Grandpa Olaf who passed away in 1992. You can see that I typed his name and address, along with a place to record the wedding gift I received and to mark when a thank you card had been sent. There was also a place to write down the number attending once the RSVP was returned (not sure why I never filled that out). When my Grandpa moved I wrote his new address and phone number on the card, but I couldn't bring myself to cross out his old address on Trott Avenue - the home I had visited for so many years. I also kept track of the years that I sent Christmas cards, written in a variety of colors.
When my daughter was born I set up a card table in the family room and sat there writing thank you cards while she was napping. One afternoon my sister-in-law came over with my niece and nephew to visit, and while we were chatting my niece, who was 3 at the time, sat at the card table, pulled out index cards and tab dividers from my address box and "decorated" them. She attached address labels, used white out, and drew all over them. She had a great time! I still laugh every time I pull out one of the tab dividers that she decorated (not a problem) or the address cards that she decorated (a little bit of a problem since they became very hard to read after she decorated them).
Over the weekend I sat down at the kitchen table to address Christmas cards. As I've been receiving cards in the mail I've been looking at the addresses and saving any envelopes that had return addresses I didn't recognize. Before I started writing on my envelopes I went through and updated addresses. Years ago I quit using a typewriter on index cards and starting using pencil which makes updates much easier. As I did that I thought about how handy this little box has been over the years. I still think it's ugly (sorry Mom!) but I just can't seem to part with it.
Nearly 30 years later this is still a handy idea for people that don't want to use an electronic method of storing addresses. I think it could be a great bridal shower gift, especially if you have many of the addresses that the bride and groom need. Tab dividers and index cards are easily available at office supply stores, and I bet you could even find a CUTE recipe box!
Here's a look at the final project our group completed as a "make and take" on a recent scrapbooking weekend.
This project involved using paint pens to decorate martini glasses. So easy and fun! A set of these painted glasses would be a great gift for someone! The glasses were from the Dollar Store. We each received a glass and we used the paint pens to make a design on our glass. Six of us completed glasses and they were all so different!
I should mention that once we used the paint pens to draw our design the glasses were placed in the oven but I don't have details about the temperature or the length of time they were heated. I do know that once that was done we were able to wash the glasses and have a fun drink! If you are interested in the details leave a comment and I'll contact my friend that organized this project and provide you with more information.
December is here and life is busy. The tree is up and the house is decorated; the Christmas card photo has been taken and the cards are ordered; but no gifts have been purchased. I do have lists, so I need to get shopping so that I can have a few things wrapped and under the tree. I contemplated doing December Daily this year (with Ali Edwards) but I feel like I have enough going on and don't want to spend December stressed out about completing an album. Maybe next year.