When you figure it out

I’ve been a college student for the last few years, finishing a degree I started back in 1995. I know, that’s a long time ago. It’s been a wild ride from an architecture student at a small art college to a social science degree to a humanities degree at a huge university. I was 31 credits from finishing my degree until this morning. Now I’m 46 credits from finishing as a double major.

That’s right, with only a year left I decided to switch majors and do two. I am now officially earning an BS in Psychology. It has been a decision that came to me last week, but in reality one I’ve thought about for quite some time. I’ve always felt helping people understand their emotions and feelings is something I’m good at. I’m a good listener, not judgmental, and like helping people to find out why they do things and make sound choices.

I’m 43 and I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. My current track will now put me into graduation in summer 2022. This still allows me to take only three classes each for fall and spring terms and two in summer. Once I complete that, grad school to get an MS in Psychology and become a therapist or work in that field.

It is slightly crazy to change your mind in your last year, but it’s the first thing that I can (realistically) see myself doing. As much as I’d love to be a full time author, it’s not terribly practical, nor easy to get into.

It feels like a deep sigh to have figured out what I’d really like to do. Becoming a therapist is still years away but it feels good to finally be on the right track.

Finding purpose

There are few things more frustrating to me than having a plan change. I am a person who likes a plan. I like a plan like my dog likes a nap (which is all the time). The plan I started forming back in September was that I’d enroll in a viticulture certificate course online through Washington State University.* I’d heard the enology certificate was generally at full capacity with a long waitlist. Plus it involved chemistry and compounds and all those other chemically scientific things I don’t really understand.

dscn3037Viticulture –  (from the Latin word for vine) is the science, production, and study of grapes. It deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. It is a branch of the science of horticulture.

I’m a behind the scenes kind of gal anyway, so viticulture seemed more my speed. The support crew of the wine making process. I’d rather learn about the soil that grows the vine, and the vine that grows the grapes, than actually learning how to make the grape into the wine.

Sign me up for the viticulture certificate. Deposit paid to join the certificate waitlist ($50). Classes would start February 2017.

With that enthusiasm for the process, and the idea that once I completed the 18 month certificate, I’d try for a job at one of the hundreds of wineries around Seattle. There’s even a tasting room 5 minutes from our house in Seattle. With a certificate I would at least have some knowledge of the wine industry, even if all I ended up doing was working in a tasting room pouring wines and discussing the nuances of the cabernet sauvignon or resiling.

Dreamy times, my friends.

That was until Tuesday evening when I received an email saying that they had filled the certificate course from the waitlist. And I would be kept in the queue for the certificate class in 2018. High demand and all that.


I’ve been interested in this program for years, and interested in anything in the wine industry for quite awhile but I became very intrigued after The Husband took me to Sonoma 5 years ago (?). I couldn’t get enough, of not just tasting wines, but learning about the process. At that point I’d already decided in the future I’d earn the certificate.

Now I feel a bit lost as to what to do. I’d been looking forward to this course, terrior, getting down and dirty (so to speak), plant diseases, and the best fertilizers, and pruning. I was excited about all that.


I’m interested in lots of things, history – especially anything revolutionary war era, mid 1500-1900’s England, civil war and reconstruction, I’ve even started watching lectures on the middle ages {and I am finding it weirdly fascinating}. I even did two classes on religion {and am about as unreligious and skeptical as they come}. I even read most of the books discussed in the American Novel Since 1945 class as well.

All of these are lectures you can watch via Yale Online, for free, whenever you want, for no credit. The viticulture certificate would have given me an official piece of fancy paper that would show I took the classes – papers, participation, tests, wine knowledge weekends and all – with proper grades and merit and all of that, rather than just something I had been doing for fun. {and I know how weird that is to most people, furiously scribbling notes about the middle ages or the American revolution while watching college lectures by choice. my dearest wish has always been to get locked into a bookstore or a library for a night. maybe I’m beyond weird?}

It would have been something I could build a second career on. I am still on the waitlist for the next session in 2018. 2018? That’s a long way away at this point, and who knows where I’ll be then, especially since there are several required winery learning weekends in Washington you have to attend.

I’m feeling restless, and rather down about the whole thing. Yesterday I watched this documentary on Gerhard Richter, a fantastic German abstract painter. I think today it’s time for me to finally break into my oil paints and get creative on a piece of canvas. No more nice little landscapes. Today might be time to create a good piece of abstract expression.

Death on the Vine perhaps…. What are you up to on this cold December Thursday?



*this is after I was enrolled in a BS degree at WSU for English/Art History, which was to start last summer. deposit (non-refundable be the way) paid, classes selected, advisor talked to. at which point in trying to decide my classes for fall semester my advisor let me know they really weren’t running the art history classes/major. they didn’t have enough interest. which sucks since that was why I was going to go to school there. so when tuition came due – $6,500 for 3 classes – I decided not to go forward. I was going to finish my degree for me, so what’s the point of spending ALL that money if it would be in a subject that wasn’t what I wanted? plans change.

The College Years: Revisited

It seems I don’t need to update my wardrobe from its woefully misguided college-ish look. That’s because I’m about to be in college again. Yep, I’m embarking on the journey of ‘that wasn’t fun enough the first time’ and I’m striking out to get a bona-fide Made at Northern Kentucky University degree. In journalism. The ultimate dying art seeing as digital is what the world is all about and no one’s dumb enough to pay for news these days. 

Crap, did I just say that?

Oh well.  For me, newspaper writing is the ultimate art form. I’ve been lucky enough to write for The Motherhood Muse magazine since last September. Very lucky. Now its time to put a degree behind my writing and see if I could actually make a career of it. Considering the tuition while not killer expense, yet not like change I’ve got floating around in the car, I’m certainly hoping this will pay off. I’m also hoping to land a spot interning (the ultimate of unpaid low totem pole jobs) for either Cincinnati Magazine or the Enquirer. But that’s down the road. 

The first step is chatting up the advisor and seeing what I have to take again (please don’t say math and science, please please please).  But for now, excuse me while I strap on my backpack and head back to school. I sure hope my PeeChee folders and Trapper Keeper are the latest in style.

It would be so awkward otherwise.