NOTE: Sunday 9/18/2022, this is what I’ve been working on. It’s unfinished; I’m tired of it hanging in the air. I’ll pick up the story Tuesday, after my appointment with my new gastroenterologist. He’s a DO. I like that.
Back in 2003, after 13 years of absence from higher education, I applied to and was accepted into the University of Central Florida. I’d earned. a BA in psychology from the University of South Florida in April 1990.
Back then I had the vague idea I wanted to earn a Ph.D in psych, and I had the vague feeling I wanted I wanted to earn that degree at the University of Oregon in Eugene. One of my psych professors earned his Ph.D at U of O. He was a cognitive researcher and that’s what fascinated me more than other psych research possibilities.
I truly loved psychology; I still do. But, when I graduated from USF I’d spent 11 long, stressful tears finishing that degree. It was hampered by my love of learning, and wanting to take any class I fancied. This resulted in lots of extra credits in the natural sciences, math (I took calculus as an elective), writing, and in my psych major.
I still had a love of journalism and I eventually added a second major in that field, which at USF was a mass communications degree, with the choice of multiple tracks, such photo journalism (yeah, I took extra credits in that as well. I even worked in the mass communications photo lab), visual communications, print journalism, and broadcast journalism. I picked the print track. Now, that track, I’m sure, includes internet journalism.
During that 11 year journey my alcoholic mother drank herself into a brain stem infarction, which put her into a coma, and certain death because the brain stem controls all the involuntary functions, such as breathing. The details are hazy, but I believe the reason she was kept alive for nearly a month on a respirator was due to some state law that mandated against bodily control by the family. Florida was redder than it is now, so it makes sense that state government would have such a ridiculous law. During this painful time, my education was put on hold, and my boyfriend during that time chose to be the biggest scumbag I’d ever dated by having a fling with a mutual co-worker, who also happened to be a mass communications major at USF.
In another tale, I verbally fixed their wagons while simultaneously embarrassing them in my own public shaming. Two of my proudest moments. Not kidding that much. I don’t hold grudges; I compartmentalize my loathing until an opportunity to express it presents itself. This, I’m able to not feel that loathing on a daily basis. This concept may tie into a later part of this post.
During that 11year education stretch wanderlust built to the point at which I knew I was going to not just travel from Florida, but re-locate out of it. I felt the pull of the American West.
By 1992 I’d met and married, Brian, the man I thought I’d grow old and gray with. We divorced in 2006, but are still good friends and I still love and care about him.
We both had a fascination with the West, and at one time he considered enrolling at the University of Washington in Seattle. In August of 1991 my dad died and I inherited his condo.
In January of 1992 I claimed my inheritance check and deposited it into my account. We paid off Brian’s new Volkswagen Fox and began planning our move to Portland, Oregon. We picked Portland because of my vague desire to go to grad school at U of O, and because one of my mom’s sisters lived there (my Aunt Rita) with her family, and one of my, “practically sisters,” friends lived in Gresham, an east side bedroom community of Portland.
After that first year living in The Rose City, graduate school was so far into the back of my mind because the wanderlust I’d been feeling finally burst out of its cage. Brian and I traveled anytime we could. We explored almost every park Portland, and Multnomah County had. We visited Mt. Hood, Bend, Multnomah Falls, the Coast, and parts of Washington state. We took, possibly, thousands of photos. We went on camping trips in our VW Vanagon with our cats. They loved it. I joke that I didn’t go o graduate school because I was distracted by Oregon, coffee, and microbrews.