Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fond Farewell

Tomorrow is it - the big day.

The last day.

Yes, tomorrow is my final day of cosmetology school. It feels almost surreal. I've been so busy lately that I have hardly had time to process it all. Plus the last few days I've been preparing an enormous meal for 150 people.

I'm catering a wedding dinner for a friend for a little extra cash. Hey, I'm an entrepreneur now, remember?

Being so busy has also helped the time go by quickly. From the little bit of buzz I've been picking up at school this week, sounds like there may be a little send-off from the gang.

Yes, I'll probably cry a bit.

These months I've shared alot with these girls and guys - their heartaches and joys, losses and gains - that it is hard not to be sad in a way. Likely I will never see them again after this.

But yet I'll also be running off and starting employment in the next few weeks once I get my temporary license. Then it is off to Topeka to take my practical exam and obtain my full-fledged license. After a few years of working hard, hopefully I'll get to open up that long-dreamed-of salon.

In the meantime, I'll savor my last few hours with the girls tomorrow. Let us eat cake!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nine Months Down

Check off another milestone in nine months of my schooling.

Today I completed the remainder of my final tests in anticipation of my graduation next week from cosmetology school. After having already completed and passed my State Board written examination, it almost seemed redundant.

But I still aced it!

It seems so strange to think that nine months ago I started this journey. Now it is nearly complete. At first, it felt as if the idea of nine months was going to drag on and on forever. At this stage, it seems almost surreal that I'm almost done. However, this week things have begun to drag again in anticipation of that 1,500 hours mark.

Gee, I wonder what next week will feel like???

Monday and Tuesday I'll be putting in whole days (booked solid, by the way). Wednesday morning I'll put in two and ahalf hours. Then it is off to packing up my stuff and loading up the bus.

Several girls have already gotten a little teary-eyed when we start talking about next week. Others keep saying they wonder how it will feel when I'm no longer there.

Hopefully it will give them incentive to make it to class everyday so they too can be missed soon.

For me, I'll be off tackling that first job in my chosen field. Then onto my future dreams of salon ownership.

Can hardly wait!

After all, look how quickly nine months have passed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Sweet Refrain

I'm so proud of my son!

That seems to be a common refrain of late. :-)

Today we received the first confirmation of a scholarship to his chosen college. The vocal music scholarship is now officially in the bag. He's very pleased.

I'm so excited - and relieved.

For years I've had funds set aside to help him with college. Not much, but something to assist him so that he doesn't have to live the first ten years post-college saddled with a bunch of debt. However, during these last few years of layoffs and my own school endeavors, the kettle has become quite dry and depleted.

So this scholarship is a HUGE answer to prayer, as it covers all of his tuition and books. There will also be some fees, food, and gas money to consider, but he still has his small savings that I set up for him a long time ago. When he used to get an allowance, he was required to save half of it and then he could spend the other half as he saw fit.

That's where most of his Legos came from. Once he realized the value of a dollar, he'd save his spending money until he had enough to buy something for his collection.

Over the years he's socked away about a thousand dollars. That, plus his small academic scholarship and (hopefully) a small local business scholarship that he's writing an essay for during spring break, will cover the additional fees and give him some spending money for food and gas. Thank God we live close enough that he'll be able to commute and save on living expenses.

The only thing I keep thinking about is how guilty I'll feel if he gets the other scholarship as well. Then he has to turn one down. Ouch!

Oh well - life is about the choices we make, even when those choices are a bit difficult. The choices we make will hopefully make each of us a better person in the end.

I know that's the case for my son.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hair in My Pudding

Even though the past two months have been enough to make me go bald, the good keeps on getting better.

Monday night I arrived home from school exhausted, more than tired, and feeling just plain ill. Then my son piped up, "Hey, Mom! I have to be down at the Board of Education meeting at 6:30 tonight."

Huh? When have we ever attended a BOE meeting, much less been invited?

Turns out my son was being honored by our local BOE for being in State Choir. Imagine that! He received a certificate and will have his picture in the local paper.

Not too bad of pickings for a quiet kid from a single parent household.

The last few weeks I've come to realize - this is what can happen when a parent puts aside themselves for the sake of their children. For eighteen years now I have placed my son's needs ahead of my own.

Yes, I've had "well-meaning" family, friends, and even a pastor tell me they thought I've been wrong not to remarry. Now all I can say is that the proof is in the pudding.

My son's successes are the pudding of my life.

Just hope I have hair left by the time he leaves the nest. :-)

Friday, March 11, 2011

One Big Thing Off My List

Today my son had two scholarship interviews with an area college.

The interviews are in two separate fields but could be worked together in his choice of careers. I expected we'd be there for a couple of hours.

We arrived just before noon and left just before 4:30. I'd say that means they went well, wouldn't you?

The first interview/audition was for a vocal music scholarship. The lead professor was quite busy rushing here and there getting a couple of ensembles finished up and ready to leave for a contest over the weekend. She managed to squeeze a good hour out of our time and was impressed with my son's ability and resume.

Then onto the second interview/audition for a radio/TV/film production scholarship that lasted from 1:30 to nearly 4:30. I think it is in the bag also - the professor pretty much told us so but couldn't officially tell us so, you know? Wink-wink!

The second was the one I was most nervous about. You see, my son has an incredible ability to film and edit all sorts of video scripts and stills and write his own work. Then he ties it all up with music and vocal overwriting (or whatever it is called) - and all of it is done with simple equipment and programs he has on his computer.

The other interesting thing about it is that he's had no formal training with any of it - he's virtually taught himself everything he knows over the last few years. The past few months he's been asked to put together lead-in videos and clips for church from youth outings and warm-ups to the youth sermon. A man at his church who owns his own production company has taken notice and worked with him a bit, even offering him use of some of his old equipment. This man is so impressed with my son's natural ability that he plans to hire him to work on some video projects for his company this summer.

The communications professor was also impressed with my son's ability. He's very excited about having him in the program next year. As I sat down the hall during their initial meeting, I was hopeful when I heard loud belly laughs - not once but multiple times - as they reviewed his prepared DVD. Then after being invited into the meeting, I knew it was going well when they both started spouting off at each other first in Scottish accents then flipping over to Irish.

My son will be completely in his element in that department.

So now the big question will be which scholarship he'll accept and which to turn down, since he can only accept one from the Fine Arts department.

It's a good problem to have.

And now that his scholarship auditions and interviews are complete, that means I can mark one enormous thing off of my March "to-do" list.

While he's off tonight setting up for his band's gig tomorrow. His "to-do" list keeps growing - and as a young adult that's as it should be.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beware of the Ides of March

March is becoming crazier by the minute!

So if my looming graduation and employment search aren't heavy enough, let's see how much more we can toss into the heap.

My son has been frantic with scholarship applications/interviews/auditions. There's a few small, local scholarships that he's writing essays for, but the big ones are his vocal and video production auditions. Decisions will be made soon and we've got to find time to squeeze a few more opportunities into the schedule before they slip away.

Then there's trying to get my taxes done so that we can file for his FAFSA considerations before the April 1st deadline (don't you find it interesting that April Fool's Day is the deadline for financial aid considerations - hmmm). That's becoming quite an interesting bear in and of itself.

In order for me to be able to pay the bills and go to school at the same time, I've had to liquidate my investments and the majority of my retirement. Now comes the tax bill. Only once have I ever had to pay into State but never Federal. This year is changing that and scaring me to death.

But it's got to be done in order to have any hope of my son receiving grant money to help pay for college expenses in excess of scholarships. Now the question is how the tax man is going to get paid.

Another hurdle to overcome in this amazing year.

So with my graduation, my employment search, taxes due, my son's scholarship deadlines, FAFSA deadline, his graduation, etc., etc., etc., I'm really feeling the pressure this month.

Beware of the Ides of March!

Here's hoping I won't suffer the same fate as Caesar.