Monday, October 8, 2012

Great Weekend

This is a rambling mess of things. It was originally three posts - now consolidated into one, because I'm trying to avoid drive-by blogging every time a thought floats through my brain.


What a great weekend!

On Friday, Hubby and I took a trip to Philadelphia to see the Reading Terminal Market, Yards Brewery and my school.

School, as in, after 20 years I finally stopped procrastinating.

See...back in the mid-eighties, I went to college. At 17.

Not because I skipped a grade, but because I started kindergarten early. This probably isn't the optimum scenario unless your child is a super genius, because mostly it resulted in me being slightly bewildered. Math in particular. It was odd, because I was in the advanced classes for reading and English, but math was just lost on me.

I chalked it up to maturity. It wasn't until I was an adult working in the real world that it all suddenly made sense. Especially algebra. When I began programming, it was truly an epiphany.

It went something like this: “I'm writing a program to add stuff. It might be cows and chickens, or it might be assholes and elbows. We'll leave it up to the user. So I'll just call these fields A and B. Holy shit! That's a variable!” Then my brain melted.

It wasn't a difficult concept, really, but no teacher was able to properly convey this to me.

“I don't get it. Why are why adding letters again?” I'd ask.

“They're variables. A and B. They represent something.” said Mr. (name redacted), The Meanest Math Teacher Ever.

“But what do they represent?” I'd plead, hoping I'd get a tidbit of information that would finally make it all click with my 11 year old brain.

“Anything. In this case, it represents A and B.” Gee, thanks. Unhelpful, as always. I was beginning to think Mr. Nastypants didn't know either.

Apparently I just needed a real world example.

Anyway, this was also back when schools didn't have tutors on hand, or a “sense of community” or whatever shizz the guidance counselors use these days to help the hopelessly clueless.

My guidance counselors performed three functions:

  1. Met with you (once!) during Junior year to see if we wanted to go to college. If you did, they forwarded the high school transcripts. Then they kicked you out of their office.
  1. They identified the troubled kids. Keep in mind, we didn't have “special education” like these days. They took all the mentally handicapped kids, physically handicapped kids, kids that had emotional issues, and the ones that just didn't feel like learning and would rather smoke weed in the bathrooms, and lumped them into one class.
  1. Smoke in the teacher's lounge and complain about the rat-bastard kids.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, career-wise. I went off to a local college not known for anything special except having a weird name and being affordable. After treading water for a couple years, I left and got a job. Which lead to another job, then a different position. Several promotions later, I had an unintentional career in IT.

Which brings me to my current story.

I had concerns. My college credits were really old and crusty, and not especially special. It was a long shot. I applied to a fairly prestigious school, and miraculously they accepted me. I'm into my third online class, and pulling a 4.0.

Since I was hoping to hit one of the Saturday on-campus classes this Spring, we made a trip to Philly to see it.

I always heard the it resided in a suck-ass section of town, so I was surprised to see how nice it was, and that I felt (relatively) safe. And old. Most of the time I don't think of myself as middle-aged, but damn. I felt like Methuselah.

Still, that didn't stop me from picking up the requisite swag from the school bookstore. Then we headed off to check out the Reading Terminal Market.

I've been there before, but it was a few years ago and it was more of a stopping point between the Liberty Bell and The Franklin Institute.

It is SO worth it. I would totally weight 1000 pounds if I worked in Philly and was able to hit this every day for lunch. There is every kind of food here. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Hubby and I were dying by the time we got to the market, so the first thing we did was get us some Philly cheese steak. It was heaven on a bun, with hot peppers.

Along with restaurant vendor food, there's produce vendors, fresh meat and fish vendors – I could actually do my grocery shopping here. Really, the prices weren't that bad either.

After an hour or so at the Terminal Market, we headed off to Penn's Landing to visit Yard's Brewery. We're able to get their traditional beers at our local Wegman's, but they have special recipes that are only served at their tasting room.

They're called Ale's of the American Revolution, and include the personal recipes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin. All were delicious, but the best was Jefferson's. Hubby bought a case to bring home, I bought the commemorative t-shirts.

We payed for it with Philly rush hour traffic – getting home took two hours instead of one, but it was worth it.

On Saturday, Hubby took The Teenager and me to the local rod and gun club for what he calls our quarterly re-qualification. That means target shooting, y'all.

Darling daughter fired an M16 (AR-15, I believe) for the first time. She popped two balloons at 100 yards out with her first two shots. She's an awfully good shot with a 9mm too.

We spent a couple of hours just enjoying the outdoors, watching all the geese fly South. Friday in Philly was 80 degrees and no humidity, but a cold front came in that night so it was only 50-something on Saturday. So time for the geese to leave. But the leaves were turning and it was a beautiful day.

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