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Homework Assignment Meltdown.

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For my last semester at the Community College, I needed to take a "Capstone" course. The theme of the section I chose is "Metapatterns." In less than a month this class is having me do stuff I really have never done for a class since returning to college and is completely pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. In a way, it's nice to feel like I'm actually learning something. On the other hand it's completely freaking me out.

For my next assignment I have to:

Read and consider the points and illustrations offered in Deborah Tannen’s book, You Just Don’t Understand. Note that throughout the book, Tannen refers to symmetry and asymmetry in interaction. Begin this assignment by thinking about this notion while in conversation with others.

Select an example of interaction from your own life. You may select any occurrence of interaction that interests you. For example, you might record a family gathering or a discussion among friends or acquaintances. You should be a neutral observer of the interaction, not an active participant. Record (video or audio) the interaction. You will submit the record of the interaction with your paper.

Study the record of the interaction. Select one section or chapter of You Just Don’t Understand as the basis for your analysis of the interaction. The idea is to match the interaction with a segment of the book that illuminates patterns of communication that you might not have viewed the same way before reading this book. You are not expected to apply the entire book to your example.

Using the segment of the book you select, analyze the interaction with sensitivity to patterns of the interaction and the symmetrical or asymmetrical nature of your example. Although Tannen focuses on gender differences in communication in her book, you are not limited to gender and communication if another identifiable cultural construct, such as regional or ethnic convention, is more evident in your example or is of greater interest to you.

The problem I'm having is the "Record a Conversation" part.

I have a very small family, and there are no family functions coming up. I really don't have people over to my house due to space constraints. I hardly have an opportunity to go anywhere without my son and I work in a very small office where spontaneous conversation is brief and typically work related.

Of course I have to ask permission before I start recording anyone, and my life situation leaves me with perfect strangers. Now that means I have to approach random individuals and say, "Hey you look like you're having an interesting conversation. Would you mind if I recorded it for a school project?" Seriously? I'm having an absolute panic attack right now. There's no way I can do this. I don't have the time or the self confidence required to keep being shot down in an attempt to get something usable.

The assignment is worth 40 points. So I really don't want to take a 0, but I'm not seeing many other options here.


Survey Time - Research Paper Edition.

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Dear LJ F-List,

As some of you may know, after having Bean, I decided to go back to college. One of the classes I absolutely had to take as a degree requirement is "Composition Writing II." The main project of this class is a 10 page research paper.

For my thesis, I'm attempting to prove that it costs companies more to treat their employees like shite, than it would if they'd actually invest in them.

A mandatory section of this paper needs to include an "Expert Interview."

I really didn't have any one particular person in mind, and really thought the best person to ask would be you, the general population.

So... My Request:

If you are currently employed, and have a minute or two, please click here: Brena's Research Survey to take a short 10 question survey. It's set up to be anonymous; with only one question asking where you live, which would help me see if working conditions are worse in any particular part of the country.

Thanks in Advance,

~ Brena

PS: The website I used limits "free accounts" to 10 questions. If I had more availability, I totally would have gotten into the unemployment crisis. I had to limit my questions and really try to streamline them. I may develop another survey, which would be strictly aimed at America's displaced workforce. Thanks Again.

Day Care Drama

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When I was pregnant with Bean, I shopped around for a day care I could trust with my six week old baby. I looked and looked and found that another problem I had was finding one that opened at 6:30am instead of 7am. So, I finally found one that I liked that opened early enough and decided to suck it up as far as cost was concerned. Because, really, I knew day care was going to be expensive, and he was only going 2 days a week. The cost for Bean to go to this day care for 2 days a week is $147.98 a week.

Brett and I have been having a lot of financial problems. Most of which revolve around the fact that he doesn't make the same amount of money weekly, and his pay is dependent on the type of jobs he does. The time period from April - July is the "slow season" at his job. With his checks being minimal, and our bills being... um not, we've kind of been drowning. Which is like a whole other story that I'll probably get into later.

Since business is starting to pick up heading into the "busy season" Brett was given the option of working 6 day weeks. He has been holding off on this as long as possible because 1) he hates his job and 2) Monday is his alone day with Bean. I was okay with this because of these concerns, and was hoping that his 5 day check would start compensating for the hardly anything it has been. Well, unfortunately that hasn't happened. I've been taking out of our savings account for months and it just hasn't been getting any better. Finally, two weeks ago when his car wouldn't start, I had reached the end of my rope and said, "You need to start working the extra day. We're running out of money."

Enter Day Care Drama

I told the day care I was going to need to start bringing Bean an extra day since Brett would be working on Mondays. I told them this last Tuesday. It wasn't until Friday morning that I received the email with the new rate... and had a melt-down. The new rate for three days is $209 a week. I don't know why I was thinking I would have been able to afford the extra day, but I had convinced myself that with Brett working an extra day, plus over-time, it wouldn't be a big deal. I realized in that moment that this day care is bleeding us dry.

I made a few calls and decided that I was going to figure out the logistics of changing day cares to the one Brett's cousin uses for his son was the way to go. They only charge $36 a day for infants and a few other people I know that use this day care love it. The big difference is that it's not a brand new building or a large corporate chain. The parents have to supply a pack & play for them to sleep in, cribs aren't supplied and the toys on hand are well-loved. I sent my mom over there on a field trip since I couldn't get there on Friday and needed to start this ball rolling.

I know this is going to be better for us financially. Obviously it's going to save us $400 a month or $200 a month on what we've been paying. But I can't help but be scared. I'm worried that he won't like it there... or he'll miss the other place. I don't want to traumatize him at such a young age. Plus, Brett's a little annoyed that he's going to have to start going in to work later, since this day care (like all the others) opens at 7am. Plus, we both feel like we've been striving to give him the best... and now we just can't anymore. So I feel like I'm failing him as a parent. Ugh. I don't know. I know he's so tiny, he probably won't remember... I'm just afraid. I've always been afraid of change. And I'm really not looking forward to telling the people at the current day care that I'm giving two weeks notice... It's like, "Hey, thanks for looking after and taking care of my newborn son... but I can't afford you anymore..." I just hate this feeling of helplessness and failure.

This too shall pass... right?

Thanks for listening.
~ Brena
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While scrolling thru the F*List I found this little ditty. Very easy and lots of fun!

Three songs that make me A) shriek, B) run screaming from the room, or C) smash radios

Videos Under Zee CutCollapse )

Exchange Bingo

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Click the banner to be transported to the Exchange Bingo Hall

Sign ups are May 27 - July 2
Be there and be square - A bingo square, that is!

***YOU do NOT need to be an Exchange participant to play E-BINGO --
though, in most cases you will need to join the exchange community to read R or NC-17 stories***

Rainbow Meme

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Your rainbow is strongly shaded yellow and white.


What is says about you: You are a contemplative person. You appreciate optimism. People depend on you to make them feel secure. You're good at getting people to like you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Patronus Meme

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Wow, this sounds perfect for me!

Um, ok?

Good Things Friday!!!!

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Installment #2!

1) Passing of the plague.

Last Saturday I was attacked by the plague. This plague brought a wonderful montage of runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, congestion and general crappyness. Even though I still can't really taste my food, I'm feeling much better. And plan on continuing to say FU to the plague.

2) Fangirl Squeeing for tomorrow.

I'm making the short trek to the home of dressagegrrrl tomorrow! We are planning on an entire day of SS/HG Exchange fic writings and general fangirl fun. I'm so excited!

3) Bristol Motor Speedway.

I'm totally excited about the location of this weekends race festivities. Bristol is also known as "Thunder Valley" and it's always an exciting time! Matt's second fastest in practice so far which I hope is a good sign for things to come!

4) Honey

My husband, who is wonderful and takes care of me when I have the plague, has been feeling secluded and cut off due to the crazy hours he works at his job. He also realized a few weeks ago that he was still harbouring a lot of depression and anger over what happened at his previous job. We've worked hard the last few weeks to "fluff him up" and today I kicked him out of the house. With only love in my heart of course. I made plans to hang out with my bff, jessikitty and he got home from work early. I said "Ummmm, can't you go do something?" He looked at me kind of confused, but I elaborated explaining that I already made plans and since it's such a beautiful day he should really go out. He actually listened to me! And he's on his way to hang out with some guys he used to work with. I'm so happy for him. It's so nice to see him hanging out with friends again!

5) Fic Rec

So, while suffering with the plague I scrolled thru my favorites list on Ashwinder. This was the first archive I found back in 2006 and where I spent most of my reading time for the first 2 years I was in the fandom. I re-discovered a really cute story that I know I've read a few times and really "fluffed me up". This was a very good thing of course!

The Incident In The Great Hall

Genres: Romance
Warnings: none
Summary: Winner of the Runner-Up position in the Pride Category of the Multifaceted Awards; Round Three ~ Severus Snape ! This story has been somewhat revised, but it is still AU; as it was written before the release of the The Half-Blood Prince. This is a tale of the building relationship between Severus Snape and Hermione Granger. The only thing standing in the way of their happy ending, is their untimely deaths. It is up to Harry Potter to go back in time and try and save their lives

Chapters: 21
Published: 11/22/2004 Updated: 05/21/2005
Word Count: 103142 Completed: Yes

So, if you've got time, check it out... :-)

Much Love,
~ Brena

5 Good Things... new for me.

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Hey everyone,

I think this is a really great idea that some people do.
So, I've decided to finally chime in with my very own.

I realize I'm a little late with the posting of this...
Maybe as I become more accustomed to doing it, it'll actually go up on Friday.

Anyways, here we go.

Matt Kenseth

As many of you may know I'm a huge Nascar addict. My favourite driver is Matt Kenseth. For the last two seasons he's had a really rough go of it. So far for the 2010 season there's been 4 races. He's finished in the top 10 in all 4 and is now 2nd in the points standings. I'm so, sooooo super happy/excited. It's heartwrenching being a real fan when things are tough. But, it looks like his new crew chief has really turned stuff around and I'm super excited for the rest of the season! (Go Matt!)

Olive Garden

Back in the day, when Brett worked for Verizon, we had a lot of disposable cash. We had a bad habit of eating out way too frickin much, and since then we've obviously cut back. But on Tuesday night I was feeling kind of down and called out of bowling. Brett and I ended up going to Olive Garden and having an awesomesox time. We always loved sitting at the bar to eat our dinner. It's really cozy and no-stress. Plus, it was so funny that when we sat down one of the bartenders knew what we were going to eat & drink. LOL. It was wonderful, and I'm so glad we went! The food, atmosphere and company (obviously) were exactly what I needed.

Exchange Fic (that eats my brain)

My SS/HG fic is almost done. Probably about 3 1/2 chapters left. I'm in awe of the support I've received and the wonderful feedback I've heard so far. This has just been an amazing experience and I'm so glad I signed up. The last few chapters are going to be slow going until I figure out exactly what I'm doing... but I've got faith.

Isssssssa Wayne!

When Brett and I moved into our first apartment we had a roommate named Wayne. He was like the most awesomesox roommie in the world. A year and a half later he moved to Kansas. So, in the last 5 years I've seen him twice, but thru the wonders of the interwebz have stayed in touch. I found out back in January that Wayne is moving again... This time back "home" to England. Of course I'm kind of depressed that he's not even going to be in the same country anymore, but at least if I ever do get to visit over there, I'll have someone to stay with. Anyways, so before making the trip over there he's going to stop in Philly and stay with us for about a week. I'm so super excited I'm going to get to see him again before he leaves. It should be lots of fun, if a little bittersweet.

Friends of Awesomeness

This last week has been full of instances of me leaning on friends or friends leaning on me. I just want to say that I'm so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people. Friends who want my advice and support and friends who let me lean on them when I'm down. It's just a wonderful feeling.