luciab: (Default)
I just read my D'land comments from Aug 30-- D'land doesn't tip you off when you get comments so you have to go look every time to see if anyone said anything, and I never think to do that. Why would I keep going back to my own diary? I know what I said. Anyway, I had a particularly heartening comment from Celynen. She says "If [the desired grad degree is] in the Humanities, I can tell you from being on an admitting committee that they won't care what your math GRE score was..." Whew! That makes my heart lighter. And my daughter, who knows me really well and is one of my most highly respected advisers on her own merits, tells me to not study the day before the exam, which is today. Hrm. I was going to ignore that bit and review math some more, and maybe take another practice test on the computer, just because I don't really get test anxiety but I have noticed that I forget what I've brushed up on if I don't keep brushing it up. (Perhaps I should review the writing part of the verbal, with special attention to run-on sentences.)

Celynen goes on to say, "You want to score high on verbal and analytical, and that shouldn't be a problem for you." Thank you! I have been consistently upbeat about the verbal part. The analytical, however.... well, that's one of the reasons I hate getting into political debates. I am just not good at thinking on my feet, analyzing what the other person said, and pulling cogent responses, complete with examples, out of my hat. And unlike some people, I particularly don't want to pull responses out of any portion of my anatomy. The good thing about the essays is that they allow 30 and 45 minutes respectively for writing, and there's no one blasting you with rhetoric while you're composing. I realize that as part of the analytical thinking you're supposed to try to pick holes in your own arguments, but I don't get all pissy with myself while I'm doing that. If I'm going to talk to myself, I am determined to maintain a polite discourse.

The day stretches ahead of me. I think I'll walk up to the library to drop off some books and to the grocery to get some milk. My car gets good gas mileage, and they are both extremely short trips, so the gas is really negligible, but the walk is an extremely good idea. Perhaps some straightening around the house- put up some of that Pennsic stuff. And maybe a long tub soak, murder mystery in hand. I think I'll just squinch in a teensy bit of review in between those activities, though. Just a litle.
luciab: (Default)
I took a practice version of the GRE CAT tonight on my poor old computer. It has a program installed that wants to update from online... every minute or two. No kidding, I actually checked the clock. I click "No, never" and it comes back again, interrupting the test every minute or two. Believe me, I said some really rude things while I was clicking the mouse as hard as I could... as if that would make the stupid program understand that I really meant, "No, never." Because, you know, yelling really does make your meaning clearer to those who didn't get it the first time. It wouldn't make any difference if I told it to go on and update, because that computer isn't hooked up to the internet. Sigh. Oh, well, maybe that'll make the test seem easier when I take the real one-- not having to click an annoying "no" button every two minutes for two and a half hours. More time to work on answers and all that.

This is the second time I've taken the full thing on the computer. It's kinda silly to take the first two parts, since they're essays and there's no way to grade them. I'm glad I did it the first time, though, because I was seriously disoriented by doing the essays first. This time it didn't bother me so much. And this time I only missed two questions on the verbal! Woo hoo! I improved on the math part, too, though not as much. (I wish...) I'm at least getting more willing to take a wild-assed guess and go on if a question completely stumps me, and that seems to be a good thing. The books keep saying that leaving questions unanswered takes off more points than missng questions does.

Mother called today, just out of the clear blue sky, to tell me she loved me, and is proud of me, and will be praying for me on Friday. She says she's already praying for me to do well on the test, but it sounds like she's organizing a whole group to do so on Friday during the test. Wow. I'm not so much on organized religion myself, but the thought of her doing that is so sweet it makes my eyes prickle. My ex-brother-in-law is so opposed to religion he'd be pissed as hell if he thought someone was praying for him. Now that's just stupid. Why not? What have we got to lose? And if they're right, then maybe there is something to be gained. Even if I don't get blinding revelations on hard questions on Friday, I know that people are hoping the best for me. How bad can that be? Duh.

I've been trying to balance study with doing other stuff. A very little of that has been cleaning, some of it cooking, plus some errands, and sometimes I just break down and read a book, unrelated to anything helpful at all. Except in the sense of letting things seep through the brain unhindered, maybe. I hit a spell of picking weird books at the library, but I'm back on track now.

Miranda just climbed up in my lap and is sitting on my arms while I type. She's purring madly. She has a short attention span, though... she's already gone. I do miss Nic lately. As sweet as the girls are, they don't gravitate to my shoulder and deliver that deep purr that can be heard across the room. Oops-- Miranda's back. This time I managed to extricate my arms to pet her, and she wrapped her paws around my arm to pull it to her head for a good ear-mooshing. She's settled down in the crook of my arm now, so I'm typing one-handed. Go, us. She's got that This is the way life should be look, so I guess I'm doing okay. Too bad my arm is going to sleep.

That's about all the news for now. More exciting stuff about studying, test-taking, and cat-petting later. I know you're on the edge of your seats.


Sep. 1st, 2005 09:53 pm
luciab: (Default)
I'm feeling more sanguine about the math stuff. Can you tell I'm studying words in my spare time, too? Until recently, I thought "sanguine" was negative-- like saturnine, I suppose. Then I wondered if it had the same root as "exsanguinate," so I looked it up. Yep, it does. Turns out sanguine used to mean "having blood as the dominant humour." Having an active cirulation was supposed to mean you had "cheerful and hopeful spirits" along with your ruddy complexion.

Anyway, I've been working today in the Kaplan Math review book. The general Kaplan book is most unhelpful in regard to math; there's little or no explanation compared to the Arco guide. The Math review book, though, is great. I guess they figure if you're scared/desperate enough to buy a whole separate book for just math, you must need to be reminded about everything. It also has many more test examples, so you get to practice more.

I figured out something weird today. I volunteered at Ten Thousand Villages this morning, and they asked if I could come back for an hour this afternoon. Bring your books and study here if it's slow, they said, so I did. Silly me, I forgot to stick a pencil in my purse, so I used a pen there to do problems with. Turns out a pen is good for me... if I have a pencil I erase and hesitate and erase some more; a pen seems to make me more decisive. I guess the old subconscious is thinking, Might as well just go on and do it.... or something. What strange things we learn about ourselves.

Enough navel gazing. Off to bed with a mystery. Preferably without exsanguination.


Aug. 31st, 2005 08:45 pm
luciab: (Default)
I just had a very productive session of test practice. I dunno whether this was just an easier test or whether I'm starting to catch on to this... we'll go with the catching on theory right now, I think. Heh. Anyway, I had only been getting about 2/3 of the way through and this time I got 27 of 30 done. And I got a noticeably higher percentage right, too! I even made progress on the problem solving ones, which are my worst nightmare. There's definitely a gap in that part of my brain-- cause and effect, analysis, you know. Not so much with that. That's going to be my biggest problem on the writing part, too. I can grammar the heck out of whatever I write, I just usually have a problem coming up with coherently stated reasons to bolster whatever position I have to take.

I went out for a haircut this morning. I swear, I must find a better stylist that I can afford. I have a guy that I love, but he charges over 5 times what the cheap place does, so he's out of my price range right now. The woman I keep getting at the cheap place, though... clueless doesn't begin to cover it. If it's not on a page in her book, it's not doable. I finally settled on something just to get it over with, but I ain't thrilled. It is better than the last one, though. At least this time I might be able to live with it while it grows out a bit, and then find a medium-priced cut somewhere. (Okay, median between those two extremes.... AAAAARRRGH!! Help! Get me out of test mode!!)

I've just today really paid attention to the results of Katrina. It's incomprehensible. I remember the dazed feeling I had after Fran, and I still had my house, my husband and cats, and all my belongings, for the most part intact. Today I was unfortunate enough to turn on the TV to CNN just as Shrub gave his little pep talk. I had just read Marn's diary and I could feel my stomach turn when I saw him. It was a completely visceral response. His speech was, of course, immediately followed by news of the rising gas prices. What with one thing and another, I was in dire need of comfort and fled to the kitchen to make pudding. (I started to write, "I was so upset I had to go make pudding" but somehow... it just didn't sound right.) There I stood, stirring away, feeling guilty as hell for not being able to do anything and worrying about taking a test while all those people are homeless, and will be for untold lengths of time. And I kept thinking of songs about New Orleans.

Surprisingly, it was after that long sojourn into reality that I did so well on the practice test. Go figure. I was lucky, though, in that Tuneless Boy didn't start "playing" whatever the hell instrument he plays until after I finished taking the test and reviewing the answers. He was sounding better tonight, though. It's a miracle, praise be.

I'm going to go in the other room (away from the "music",) take a migraine pill, and crawl into bed with a mystery. The kind I can enjoy, not the kind with X's and Y's. And maybe Miranda will sit in my lap for awhile. She's actually done that twice today, for the first time in forever. Teenagers, you know.

slog, slog

Aug. 31st, 2005 09:10 am
luciab: (Default)
I finally managed to get the tests from both study guides installed on my decripit PC. I didn't realize how decripit it was till I tried to install these things. It took forever.

Last night I had given up on getting them to work on my computer and went to L's house to do them on her computer. Alas, 'twas not a happy thing. When I am studying and have just finished a whole section of square roots in fractions or some damn thing, it's still fresh enough in my head that I can muddle through. Give me time to forget, however, and my brain will happily slough off anything so esoteric.

The bad news is that I only got about 2/3 done with the math test I took, and got half of the questions I answered wrong. The good news is that I got half of them right. What I did find reassuring, though, is that the test just kept plugging along and never once put up windows with flags flying and people pointing at me laughing because I screwed up. I knew I got one of them wrong, however, when it sent me the same question back with different numbers. This is the first computer adaptive test I've taken, and it's a bit unnerving. I keep wishing I could skip the question I don't know and try to come back to it later. (As if, in the meanwhile, the heavens will open, trumpets will sound, and angels will unfurl a banner showing me the right way to do the problem.)

I had a "click" moment last night (that would be an epiphany for those of you who prefer exactitude to jargon) when I said somsething about "the only chance I'll have to take the test" and L said "The first time." And looked at me hopefully, waiting for me to get it. I stared at her stupidly for a moment. What does she mean, the FIRST time? Like I'm going to have to take it AGAIN? And then it hit me. I've always been a good test taker, and passed even the four-day architecture exam the first time. I mean, that's what my teachers at UK expected me to do, and that's what I did. I expect to be able to do that with everything academic and test oriented. Facts and reality have nothing to do with inner expectations, and no one's ever as hard on me as I am on myself.

So, I'm off to review the basic stuff again, hoping it sticks long enough to actually use on a test. Especially the real one. I may have to carry a brown paper bag to breathe into until the test-- you know, during those random anxiety attacks. This'd be a good time to have that old T-shirt I used to have.... "Free-floating anxiety." Heh.
luciab: (Default)
Oh, well, maybe not TOTAL gloom and despair, what with the news from yesterday about the money situation. But, damn... I've registered to take the GRE on Sept 9 in Durham. That's a week and a half away. I am reviewing math (again) and becoming more unhappy by the moment. Yesterday I flat out panicked and every time I looked at anything that had a number in it my brain froze, not to tmention the accelerated beating of my heart. I finally gave up, did some random stuff around the house, took a sleeping pill and went to bed. (Believe me, the sleep she does not come to me without the pill, with this anxiety level.) Woke up much refreshed and got busy. I've worked for several hours so far today and hadn't felt panicky. I just did a section of a math practice test and missed a huge number of questions. Some were simple mis-reading mistakes but most were major examples of not approaching the problem correctly. I'm still not panicky but I'm getting a leaden feeling around my heart.
luciab: (Default)
Amy noted that the practice tests on the CDs that came with the GRE study guides are a really good resource and that I should take them, "even if you have to go to someone else's house to take them, because they're for Windows." Sigh. I hadn't gotten that far yet-- didn't want to take any until I've at least finished reviewing one of the books. (I got two books; Kaplan got very good reviews but the Arco one had a lot of really good basic math stuff in it that I knew I'd need.) So I'm working on the Arco book. I'd about decided to go on and take one of the tests just to see where I stand so far but didn't want to camp in someone else's house, on their computer, for the three hours or so I'd need. Guess what... I still have my old PC, sitting in my studio. So I shoved everything off my drafting table and set up the PC. I'm missing the keyboard-- guess I threw it away. It was so old the paint showing the letters was worn off the keys. Not really a problem for me, since I am 95% a touch typist, but it drove the hunt-and-peckers (so to speak) that I know crazy. Anyway, I hooked everything else up to make sure it was okay, and it was. Now I go get a super-cheap keyboard and I'm set.

Very weird... I just got a phone call from a long distance number I didn't recognize. When I answered there was a long pause and a tentative, Hello. Nothing else.

Finally I said Who are you trying to reach?

I am calling long distance.
in a heavily Indian-accentend English.

Yes, you are. Who are you trying to reach?

After a couple more tries at a coherent conversation, he said I am in India and I dialed the country code for India and a long distance number. I don't understand how I got you. And he didn't hang up.

All I can suggest is that you try again. Good luck! and I hung up. If I had mistakenly dialed India, believe me, I'd want to get off the phone as soon as possible to avoid paying a gazillion dollar phone bill. No idea why that didn't occur to him. What time is it in India, anyway?

I finished the last Doc Ford book. Despite the telegraphing, his friend is not only still alive but has now done a bit of research work for the agency that wanted him killed. I guess I'll be able to read the next book after all, if it sounds good. This one was pretty silly, though. Disappointing to see the deterioration of a good series. Almost like someone else started writing it.

Back to matters of earth-shattering importance, the GRE. I'm going to temporarily pass over the really confusing stuff and go on, if possible. I'll save up all the questions to ask my math-friendly friends at once. No need to make a trip for one issue.
luciab: (Default)
I would be embarrassed to ever show my face again if I sank so low as to whine, "Math is hard!" but I swear to god, my poor brain is spinning around like the kid's head in The Excorsist. Except faster. I've had a really productive evening but when I got to fractions that have radicals in both parts, I lost it. I had to resort to reviewing language stuff for a while. I still don't think I'm up to that, at least by myself. Those suckers are going to need either a good night's sleep or outside help.

And to make things even better, the ring tone on my phone is so annoying I want to hit something. It's a sequence of notes that sticks in my head every time I hear it. I found alternate tones on the thing, but I can't figure out how to make them the ring of choice.

Michael's called to set up an appointment for an interview. Insert mixed feeling face here.
luciab: (Default)
So last night I studied till I couldn't comprehend what I was looking at, then read my msytery for a while, then back to studying. I've got to find out.... can you use a calculator when you take the GRE? (That's a real question, BTW-- if you know the answer please tell me in a comment.) If not, I need to be doing multiplication flash cards or something. I know how to do a lot of this but it's taking me for bloody ever to do the calculations with pencil and paper. Yikes.

The mystery with which I rested my fevered brain is the latest Doc Ford novel by Randy Wayne White. Frankly, I'm more than disapapointed in it. The first books were extremely informative about Florida's ecosystems (gotta love that in a murder mystery!) and I liked his attitude toward women and about violence (distinctly NOT related.) However, in the last couple of books the protagonist has gotten a lot more comfortable with his "true nature," which bursts into violence a few times each book. I am so not impressed. I liked it a lot better when he was a marine biologist with a past life (working for some super-secret gov't agency) who could call on the knowledge gained in that life if required, but he wasn't so damn thrilled about it. Now he's turned into super-spy and has taken assignements to "eternalize" three people already, and I'm only about 3/8 of the way through the book. (Okay, the GRE fractions section is messing with my head.) Plus the fact that one of the assignments he has refused is to kill his best friend, who is one of the best characters in the series. Said character has a feeling he won't live much longer, so it's obvious he's going to kick off one way or another. If this ends as badly as I suspect, this might be the last Doc Ford story I read. Sigh.

I'm now off to apply for a job at Michael's. Nia has been encouraging me to apply for any and every job... she's given me info about seasonal mail carrier positions, library staff assistant (those sound really good) and housekeepers at NCState. The mail carrier thing is well paying, and lord knows the walking would be good for me. Down side: Not sure I could carry the weights they say are required, plus I sure as hell wouldn't be able to go to KY the week before Christmas when my daughter and new hubby will be there. That would be a major bummer. Obviously, the job at Michael's would be the same. Sigh. Up side of Michael's... I could work there while looking for other jobs. Same with housekeeping, for that matter.

This is a whole new world for me. I have been fortunate enough to only have had cube-farm type jobs all my life, except for working the circ desk at the college library. One dose of reality, coming up.


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Susan Arthur

February 2011



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