Teach an Old Dog

Updated 9/3/2016

Your regrets aren’t what you did, but what you didn’t do. So I take every opportunity.
-Cameron Diaz

When my kids suggested I do something with my life,  they unwittingly (or not) triggered a sort of general dissatisfaction. I started with cross-stitching and now I’m on this crazy quest for knowledge and purpose.

What the hell…

Divine Discontent

Being dissatisfied with your life isn’t always a bad thing.

“[A butterfly] lived what seemed to him a very long time as a worm – what we call the humble caterpillar. …He lives on a green leaf in the forest, and that is about all he knows. Then one day [he] finds certain strange stirrings. …The old green leaf no longer seems sufficient. He becomes moody and discontented, but – and this is the vital point – it is divine discontent. He feels the need for a bigger, finer, and more interesting life. His instincts tell him that where there is true desire there must be fulfillment. And so the wonderful thing happens: the butterfly emerges beautiful, graceful, now endowed with wings, and instead of crawling about on a restricted leaf, he soars above the trees, above the forest itself – free, unrestricted, his own True Self.

Emmet Fox, “Around the Year With Emmet Fox”

Wake Up!  You’re Gonna Be Late!

Now that I’m all discontented and mid-life crisis-y, I’ve decided to go back to school. The way I see it, the four or, ya know, ten years that it takes to get a degree are going by whether I do anything or not. Yes, I’ll be joining the ranks of those who share every test score and finals-exam-anxiety-attack on Facebook! Cue Eye of the Tiger. Non-traditional students, they call us.

Working full time, I was leaning toward online colleges. Danger, Will Robinson!  Google “online colleges” and almost immediately you lose control over the whole process. I was inundated with phone calls and emails from countless institutions, all concerned about my future. It was too much!  So I applied to Boise State University, home of the blue and orange. We’re the ones with the blue football field.

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Yes, that’s in Idaho; no, it’s not in the middle of the country, that’s Iowa; yes, it is the potato state; no, I don’t know Bruce Willis. One week of anticipation and viola!  I’m IN!


…The confidence you get from feeling smart and tackling something like mathematics. [it’s] a challenge, right?  Math is hard.

-Danica McKellar


Math IS Hard

The admissions lady (I can’t remember her name or title) suggested I study for the mandatory math placement test. She recommended an online course to help me. It has everything math, from kindergarten to multi variable calculus. I’ve GOT this!

Here’s how it works:

You choose your desired level, answer the problems if you can and select:

Check your answer,

Show me hints, or

I haven’t learned that yet

I chose algebra to begin. My answer to the first problem:

I haven’t learned that yet

A little ambitious perhaps so I back up to pre-algebra. First problem:

I haven’t learned that yet

Backward to arithmetic. That sounds kind of familiar. First problem:

Show me hints

Progress! Then:

I haven’t learned that yet


I must go further back…

Harry walked to school and picked up 6 apples on the way. Sally gave 2 pears to Andrew and had 3 left. How many pieces of fruit did the children have all together?



Dang… that was stressful…

Just 5 More Minutes, Mom

I don’t know about you, but I have an insidious voice inside that takes every opportunity to let me know I’m not good enough. It says, see, you’re not smart enough, it’ll be too hard and you’ll quit, anyway, look at all the years you’ve wasted already, you’ll never succeed. Sometimes I can silence it, sometimes not. Life can be difficult and it’s easy to quit. Sometimes I do. What’s wrong with Netflix, anyway? Even so, I try. I do try and I will try. I may fail… but it damned well won’t be because I didn’t try.

Will I struggle in math?  Probably. I dropped out of high school when I was a sophomore, so it’s a safe bet I’ll be signing up for the lowest level math class they’ll allow me to take.

That’s ok, though, because sometimes it’s helpful to admit, “I haven’t learned that yet”

Thanks for visiting!  Please share any of your successes or struggles. I’d love to hear from you!

Original post: October 2015

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