Upgraded tank.

The other day Kevin and I went on a bagel trek to Frederick, MD- its about 18 miles from us.  For some reason the local Panera has closed. I have not been able to find real bagels other than Panera. I am not sure of the details of their closure but I wanted “real” bagels and I wanted to get out of this house for a bit- so off we went.

I know this probably was not an essential trip – though it was tied in with getting chicken feed and meal worms- and I really wasn’t keen on going so far for bagels but we did.  Wanting real bagels is not a real problem – i can hold out and eat toast or english muffins..but for me the bagels are just a way to feel some normalcy again. Get in the car, stop at Starbucks—get a coffee — grab some bagels from Panera– grab other essentials.  On Saturday AM when I realized the Panera closest to us was closed I was bummed because in my head when I woke I had that task in my head. We get to go get bagels. I needed to feel “normal”—so we went a bit further to Frederick to get them.

What is not normal is that when you leave your house you now carry a face mask, maybe protective gloves, you probably have hand sanitizer in your car and some lysol wipes or something like that.

Sometimes it can almost feel normal on the way to run an errand. .Kevin and I can chat and listen to music. We notice the lack of traffic but we can be in a bubble for a while that feels almost normal.  I love that feeling! But then we pull up to the shopping center and there is a line at the Aldi’s grocers. People stand six feet apart, donning masks (some gloved) all waiting their turn to get in because now we cannot just walk in to a store – there are limits to how many can go in- if you can go in at all.

At Panera a few doors down from Aldi- they are doing curbside pick-up.  It is convenient- but so impersonal. And it has to be for everyone’s safety. It sucks but needed. I thanked the young woman who handed over the bag of bagels to me. I had my mask on because she came to my side of the car. I tried to look grateful with my eyes as I told her to stay safe. I then complimented her on her mask fabric choice. It was cute…. but then I said “I can’t believe I am complimenting you on a mask”.  She said ” I know crazy , right?”  and we went on our way.

I am not sure if my funk began then because this is crazy-  or maybe it had been festering over these last couple weeks.  Things feel off for me.  Maybe it is because I am so over this whole thing – but I know this virus will not be over us for a good while.  We also found out my son in the Navy has been quarantined with his division because someone got Covid-19. My other two kids are out of work because of the shutdowns. Also, my horse is acting a bit off.  And I setup a new bigger fish tank and transferred our current fish- which were Navy son’s- and two didn’t live- too much shock. Such a small thing – I know. But flushing those two fish just made me feel crummy. Who knows what pushes us into the funk. I mean the virus is enough. Seeing the suffering is enough.  There is nothing I can do to stop this thing. Lack of control is scary.

I think maybe it is really dawning on me that the world as we knew it is now gone – and life has changed for good.  Like my life before and after my cancer – there is a definite division.  At least for a while things will be quite different for the world  in how we interact in public.

It is hard to watch the suffering every day. It is hard to feel at the mercy of something you can’t even see.  What will the toll to human life be?  There are so many ways  this virus can devastate us including death.  We see the toll rise each day.  And there will be a balance on how things progress to reopening – so we can hopefully live life again- on the other side of the divide.

So today I am in a funk. Some days it is just really hard….its normal to feel these feelings. This isolation takes it’s toll. The financial worries take their tolls. If you are feeling badly never be afraid to reach out to someone for help.  Even a chat with a friend can be comforting.

I do understand that this has happened before over and over throughout history – we have many before’s and after’s, the Spanish flu, world wars, natural disasters , 9-11…. We are human- and we adapt.  But it is jarring and a change – a new shift in what we knew as reality. So it is stressful and scary. And on some days very overwhelming- I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep- so I can forget for a while.

Instead, I write.





Above average is the new average 


Sometimes I think I’m so smart and I know so much about so much. For years I’ve been talking up college to my kids and encouraging (can be read as pushing at times) my kids to get good grades so the can go to college. “Get good grades so you can go to college ” should  be tattooed on my forehead for as many times as I’ve said it.

And I thought my kids were doing pretty well. I mean not as good as they could be. We all know our kids are geniuses and they don’t always work to their potential -another good tattoo “work to your potential”. But I really thought BC my kids had grades above average they would have their pick of colleges. But I found out different – I had no idea -and I thought i did.

Before I go on I will preface this by saying that my kids may opt to go to a community college regardless of what their averages are. It may make sense for them for various reasons -most of the reasons being they may not be ready to live away at a four year school – oh and money. We have also explained to them that they will have to help pay for their higher education bc a full ride is not coming from mom and dad. We are unable to provide that. So we have a great deal of research to do.

Also, though I have always told my kids they should go to college and have given them many reasons why having a college degree can be a very important asset when trying to get a job, I also realize college is not for everyone. And some kids aren’t ready for college when they graduate from high school. I want my kids to follow their own path and i hope that they will get to work at something they love. I just know that it is hard to know what that might when you are a teen. My daughter does know. At least she has a plan A. But her plan A could morph into plan B later i life. I went through a number of iterations when it came to my career.  Each shift coming at just the right time.

But since we don’t know at the start of high school what the end of high school plan will be: college, gap year,learning a trade, taking time off to work, etc. we have decided that college would be the thing we work for. So we have stressed the aspect of having a good GPA- and what I have found is that a 3.0 average limits the college choices!

We may have some options but I am finding that the options are less BC my kids 3.1 and 3.2 weighted GPAs aren’t considered above average anymore -they are just average. If you look at the website you can look up colleges and look at where the student measures up to their requirements for admission  – grades , test scores, eye color(ok that’s a lie ) and what I saw was a list of GPAs and next to them what percentage of freshman with that GPA range got admitted to that school and my kids GPAs were at the low end for admittance. Basically anything under 2.99 was toast. I found a few schools that accepted kids with lower GPAs but not the average GPA of 2.4 that I had.

If I had the GPAs my kids have back in my day -another tattoo “back in my day” – I would have been in heaven. As it was I was accepted into 4 colleges with my 2.4 and only 860 on my SATs.

When did 3.0 become the new average?

With college being big business masquerading as institutes of higher education (ok that’s harsh but kind of true -you can get a good education but look at the cost!) and with so may to choose from you would think that there would be more places for kids with GPAs in the 3.0 level and lower to go.

I don’t want to get started on the cost of higher education – but have you looked at it? It is so ridiculous!  I know we should have started a college fund years ago- and we had every intent of doing so. But with the cost of about six years of private school for all 3 kids we never got around to it then add in the bad financial years we have just encountered along with a serious illness tossed in – it never happened and the kids are in the middle of high school. So here we are- and I cannot get over the cost of school. Nor can i get over the amount of planning that goes into the preparation for college. There are the grades and the service hours and clubs and test scores. There is the college choosing process that requires attending college fairs and college tours. There is the application process, the financial aid/scholarship process, sorting out what school can be afforded after the acceptances and aid money comes in. Its a job!

Hard to believe in some countries higher education is free. Some here would argue that it comes with higher taxes and likely true but I am not going to lie- I would love to see free education or very reduced education costs in the US. I would rather not have my child strapped with debt at the end of the college years. Some states have incredibly inexpensive schools but the costs still add up when you add in tuition and fees, room and board.

I have friends who have multiple kids in college and that will be us in a few short years when my boys graduate high school we may have 3 in college all at once. I don’t know how people do it.

The other day my mother sent me an article about Germany opening their free universities up to US students. I asked my kids if they would be interested in going to school in Germany.

“No” was the unified answer. Really? No wandering spirit I guess!

But I might not have to worry about any of this because my kids might not have the grades to get into a 4 year college bc even though I thought they had pretty solid GPAs. Maybe this phenomenon has occurred BC today many more kids are going to college than they were  back in my day (see tattoo). So perhaps this has created so much competition that schools can choose the kids with the higher GPAs BC there are so many applicants to choose from. It’s kind of scary.

My kids have an advantage in that they are Asian. So that is a box we can check on the application that may be a benefit to them – I hate pulling the race card but we know that colleges have quotas they need to meet and they do ask it on the applications. Also there are scholarships for minority students and adopted students – which my kids are. If you look there are scholarship opportunities for almost everything under the sun. You just have to search them out- and as I noted above that is a lot of work!

When I told my son Luke that he needs to work harder to get his GPA up so he had more choices of colleges to apply to – he looked uncomfortable-

“What?” I asked him.

“It’s just so stressful” -Luke doesn’t like stressful. He likes Xbox.

“Welcome to life ” I said.

But later I thought about my days in high school and I remembered little about worrying about grades. I was on the “let me slide by without trying -and let me go to parties and meet boys plan in high school “(not a tattoo).  I had stress but not like kids do now. And I got into college and had a great time in high school (despite the drama) and I had a great time in college and I graduated and got a job and grew in my career and was able to support myself just fine.

Why does it have to be so stressful for my kid?   At this point at age 15 1/2 he isn’t sure if he really wants to go away to college (see above) so why push it when community college could suit him well and he can transfer to a 4 year school for his last 2 years.? I don’t want it to be uber stressful for him or my other kids. High school is supposed to be fun. Right? We are rushing our kids into adulthood but when they get there some stagnate and are slow to mature – maybe BC they never got a chance to just enjoy their time in high school and college BC the pressure to always be looking ahead and planning ahead was so great.

I’ve digressed I know -but I am so shocked that the B average of today isn’t the B average of my youth. And I wonder can my kids make the grades they need to go to a four year school if that’s what they want to do? Did I find out this information in time?

And does it really matter if they don’t make the cut? What will the outcome be? Maybe they will go to a community college and then a 4 year or maybe after a couple years they will opt to work -my daughter  will leave high school with a cosmetology license. She can have a career right out of high school.  Thank God for the tech center in our county public school system and those opportunities they provide.

What I want for my kids is that they can support themselves and a family when the time comes- that doesn’t have to mean a college degree but we all know that is now the norm- a BS or BA almost expected of our kids.  I hope that if their dream is to attend college they will get to do that. If they choose another path thats also great.  What really matters most to me is that they have as much love, joy, and happiness as possible on this crazy ride we call life. Because its a ride and a half.

(And I will always think 3.2 GPA is pretty darn good.)