Not bad for a fat girl


Throwback Thursday – College Applications

Since my son is in the throes of this momentous process, I thought I would take the opportunity to compare and contrast his experience with mine.CommonAppLogo-small1

First off, I applied to colleges in the mid-1980’s, long before not only internet, but personal computers. Every application was paper, and had to be requested from the university (or just arrived in the mail unsolicited), Each one had to be filled out in ink, either by hand (frowned upon) or by typewriter. Of course if you made a mistake, it would show, even if you used correcting tape or fluid. Accuracy was important. So was lining up the printed lines on the application with your responses. It was easy to make even the most carefully thought out application appear haphazard and sloppy.

My son has the luxury of using the computer for his applications. His responses are neat and clean, and there’s a common application that many of the universities utilize, so he doesn’t have to input his data over and over. He can also word process his essays, then paste them into the appropriate fields depending on the school to which he’s applying. I can easily look over his work, and suggest minor edits that he’s likely to implement, since they don’t mean starting from scratch.

Just like Dad's old typewriter, my friend from applications all the way through graduation.

Just like Dad’s old typewriter, my friend from applications all the way through graduation.

When I did applications, letters of reference had to be handed to my teachers, along with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes. Each university expected the letter to be composed on its own form, no photo-copies allowed. Test score reports and transcripts were handled in much the same way.

My son, on the other hand, just needs to login to the test score company to request score reports, and there’s another website that handles his transcripts. His teachers are happy to provide letters of reference, since they keep a file and copy and paste it as many times as are necessary. The whole process is fast, easy, and painless. Well, pretty painless. There are still costs involved, but the time and stress that are saved are immeasurable.

I wish all of today’s resources had been around when I was applying to colleges. I would have tried for more scholarships, for one thing. I would have saved a ton of time, for another. I’m glad my son has these resources. Now to sit back and wait for the results.

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Throwback Thursday – Comics

This weekend my city is hosting Comicon. For those who are unfamiliar with these events, it’s a convention built around comics. That’s the simplistic description, but really, it’s so much more. It’s a huge event with workshops, movies, parties, costumes, vendors, and more. 025Pikachu_SSB4I wouldn’t have thought it would be something I would ever attend, but I am, for the second time.

Last year my sweetheart discovered that there are many authors that attend these cons, and they give workshops and participate in discussion panels. The cost is way less than traditional writer’s workshops, and the atmosphere is incredible. Where else can you see Dr. Who rubbing shoulders with zombies, Han Solo, Pikachu, and Ninja Turtles?

I was never all that into comics as a kid. I did like the read the Sunday funnies, since they were printed in color. I always read Blondie, because it was the first one. I liked Garfield and Peanuts too, and the one panel comics, like Family Circus, Marmaduke, and Ziggy. Still, I rarely used my dime to buy a comic book at the store; I always preferred candy.

One summer, though, I got sick at sleep away camp. It was way up in the woods in Canada, and I think my parents may have been on a trip, but I don’t recall the exact details. I do remember that I was in the infirmary for a couple of days, and it was terribly boring. Richie-Rich-Cartoon-PhotosThe only way to pass the time was with the stack of comic books that they had.

During that infirmary stay I came to appreciate the struggles of poor little Richie Rich. I also looked forward to my teenage years when I would hang out with the gang, just like Archie. Sarge and Beetle Bailey amused me without exposing me to the real struggles of Army life, and Prince Valiant, well, he was just boring aside from his funny haircut.

There were no superheroes that I recall. I would have read Batman or Superman or Spiderman, but they hadn’t made it to that little camp infirmary in the woods of Northern Ontario. I’m still not much of a comic reader, but I do get nostalgic thinking about those long ago comic books helping me pass the time.

Are you a comic reader? Were you as a child? What are your favorites?

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Throwback Thursday – Cars, Expanded Edition

Not my actual car, but close.

Not my actual car, but close.

Yes, I’ve talked cars before, but this post goes into a little more depth about some of the vehicles in my life. My grandmother drove a sensible blue four-door Ford sedan, complete with a big pillow to elevate her on its bench seat. My other grandmother drove a kick-ass Pontiac GT with sweet bucket seats and a hideous olive green coat of paint. They both traded their cars in for more sensible brown cars in the later year. Too bad.

My father loved Fords, until the T-Bird. He had Fords for years, up until he bought a 1973 Thunderbird for my mother, complete with a Landau roof. It was the palest green color imaginable, and it was a lemon. It seemed like that car was constantly in the shop, and not just because our dog chewed up one of the armrests when my mother ran an errand with him one day. That car was just trouble, I could tell the first time my mother closed the door on my leg. Besides, who gets a two-door when they have kids?

After my father’s love affair with Ford subsided, he became an Oldsmobile man. At one time he owned three Toronados, blue, maroon, and my favorite, dark gray. I loved that car. My dad even put vanity plates on it with my name on them.

Several Oldsmobiles later, my father moved up to Cadillac. I’m not sure if that was his idea or my mother’s, but not long after he splurged and bought a Mercedes. It was shocking. My father had ranted and railed against Mercedes for years, however, he presented one to my mother for her birthday.

Personally, I’m a Toyota girl. After three hand-me-down Oldsmobiles (including my beloved dark gray Toronado), I finally got a car that was new just for me, a Toyota Camry.

Again, not my actual car, but close enough.

Again, not my actual car, but close enough.

That was a great car. We put 206,000 miles on that car over the course of 13 years. That car visited the Atlantic and the Pacific, more than once. In its final days it could no longer provide air conditioning, a must in my desert Southwest home. I was sad to see that car go, however, its final gift was $6,000 on trade-in. That car paid for itself.

I’m on my second Camry now, and at 135,000ish miles it’s going strong. Sure, it’s from the middle of the last decade, but it’s paid for and I love it. This one hasn’t been to the Atlantic, but it’s seen the Pacific several times, and it knows the way to Vegas too. I have no plans to replace it anytime soon. True, I like some of the new features that cars have now, but this car is terrific, and until it’s time to put it out to pasture, I’ll be very content with it. It gets me and family where we need to go comfortably and safely, what more could I really need?