Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Latest over at Crafting a Green World: Embroidery Spools and Satire

an April Fool's Day spoof about gardening Monsanto-style

This was one of my favorite weeks writing for CAGW. The DIY embroidery floss spools tutorial was quick to make and easy to write up, and I really, really like how the project turned out, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed writing satire half my life ago, when I wrote for my university's student newspaper (and ooh, did I burn it up! I used to get SO many letters from people offended by what I had to say! My editor was THRILLED with me).

I had no idea what I was going to do with myself back then. I was an English major because I liked to read. I held down two different writing jobs (one at the student newspaper, and one at the alumni magazine--wasn't I cute?), but I didn't do much great writing at either of them because I was too busy with the too many credit hours that I took each semester, because I also liked to study.

I graduated and I panicked. Just as I predicted in that TCU Magazine article that I linked to just now, I internalized my parents' work ethic to such a degree that I completely freaked out and began desperately, painfully searching for a job, any job. And oh, the jobs that English majors are qualified for are so, so lame! Because I was a terrible interviewer, I thankfully missed out on several miserable-sounding technical writing jobs. Unfortunately, I then read a book on interviewing, nailed my next interview, and accepted what was probably the stupidest glorified secretary/technical writer job for an organization that was basically an auto workers' lobby, working for the meanest, craziest, most bigoted boss who had ever started as a secretary herself and then married the company president. She spent her days talking to her friends on the phone, wandering off to the house that she was having built in one of those fancy gated communities with her new husband's big money, coming back to interrupt my work by telling me all about the "queers" who lived in her neighborhood (ooh, I hated her!), and blaming me for mistakes she'd made in her work by insisting that the work was really MY work that she'd given me clear instructions on how to complete.

One day, eleven months in, after I was way beyond my breaking point, I overheard her on the phone consoling her best friend, who had just lost her job. Right that second I wrote my just-in-case letter of resignation, and two days later I was able to hand it to her before she could finish firing me for the list of totally made-up wrongs that she had probably spent the last two days inventing. Her best friend was settled in my vacated job before the month was out.

I was so much happier after that, poor and adrift as I was. I started substitute teaching in the Ft. Worth school system, which was way challenging enough to keep me interested (and was WAY eye-opening, and highly influenced how I educate my children). Out of the blue, a former professor offered me a scholarship to take a few graduate-level classes at my old university, and these had me studying again, happy as a clam. Another professor suggested that, if I liked studying so much, I should apply to grad school. More studying?!? Sign me up!

Of course, an aimless college graduate who spent a couple of years outside of academics working random jobs does not make for the strongest grad school candidate. Only one graduate school accepted me, and so that was where I went. As soon as Matt graduated from our university one semester later, he joined me here, and began his own desperate job search. After a while, we decided that since we were living together, we might as well be married. After a longer while, we decided that since we were married, we might as well have a baby. We liked that first baby so much, we decided to have another. I liked them both so much that I didn't study as much as I should for my PhD exam, and so I failed it (it helped that my exam committee had written me off, too, apparently, and were the picture of unsupportive. I'm not famous as one who struggles through the odds and triumphs, it would seem). Matt and I figured that if I didn't have a PhD to study for, I could do my best work being a stay-at-home mom. My kids thrived so much with me as a stay-at-home mom, that we decided we'd better homeschool them. They thrived so much homeschooling, that we decided that we'd better keep it up.

And that's the story so far!

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