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17 April 2017 @ 12:58 pm
So behind, so behind...  
I didn't mean to fall off the map for so long there! I'm still trying to get caught up on all your news in that time, those of you who haven't fled LiveJournal since the last Nyet Offensive from Russia. :(

Our daughter came home for her early Spring Break, and we had her for about 5 days before she flew off to D.C. Only one of her friends was home (the non-UC colleges had spring break later, i.e., last week), so we got to spend lots of time with her. Low key, but really nice. :)

Our son got his college admissions info back. He made it into UCLA, but not Berkeley. We were really hoping for Berkeley, as it's within driving distance and he could come back on the occasional weekend (or would be easy to visit). But no. He's going to UCLA, so both kids will be in Southern California. We think he'll have a great time there, but still kind of a bummer for us!

His friends fared very badly in the admissions lottery, and that has been extremely disappointing. These are kids with good grades who are all in an advanced high school program, and they had good SAT scores (one just 10 below our son). But they got rejected even from their safety schools, and it has made us really grumbly again about higher education in California. Too many slots are going to kids from out-of-state (and out of the country!), because the universities can charge them more. But it's residents who pay the taxes that fund those colleges. And college is astronomically more expensive than when my husband and I were younger (way beyond rate-of-inflation increases). What are they spending the money on, apart from maybe coping with reduced federal funding? Actually, if it's anything like lower education in California, they're funding administrators (system and school-level) rather than teachers/professors/classrooms. :(

I had a couple of weekends free from the office insanity, so I did our taxes. SO much more to wade through now that our oldest has been in college an entire year. Those 529 funds are a great way to save, but the paperwork! /o\

I hope those of you who celebrate Easter had a lovely day yesterday! I haven't bought any half-price Easter candy today, but I haven't forgotten that it exists, either. :O

Still vaguely hoping to have an Idol story done by tomorrow, but we'll see. Last week's was more work than expected. The idea and the "events" in the storyline came quickly, but setting it up coherently without revealing too much? Days of effort on that. Crack is not as easy as you might think. ;) This week's idea is not crack (probably?), but taxes came first on the agenda...

Hillary: Batsxlovebecomesher on April 17th, 2017 08:19 pm (UTC)
Congrats on your son getting into UCLA!

I don't know why but I'm struggling with this week's topic even though last week was the harder one for me to come up with an idea.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
Last week's prompt was one where you knew the category of stories you could easily tell, if nothing else came to mind. Mostly horror-type stuff.

This week's seem like it might tilt into maudlin territory, and that's not something I ever feel motivated to write. One week, it was "Twitterpated," and I so very much didn't want to write about love for that. I had to force myself every step of the way, and even though it was more a comic story than anything, I still wasn't very happy with it in the end. Mostly, not happy with feeling like I'd been boxed into writing it!

Edited at 2017-04-17 08:29 pm (UTC)
Hillaryxlovebecomesher on April 17th, 2017 08:46 pm (UTC)
The only thing I seem to be able to write for this is maudlin heartbreak! But I have to write something or I'm not going to get this done in time!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Lovehalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2017 09:12 pm (UTC)
:( Sometimes you just have to go with what will finish on time!

You could write about your angry aunt, if nothing else comes to mind. She strikes me as someone whose heart was stitched together poorly, with a mix of fabrics that do not all work as the should.

Rants tend to get people's attention, especially if they lean toward humorous or snarky. :O
Hillaryxlovebecomesher on April 17th, 2017 09:44 pm (UTC)
That's a good idea! She does have a poorly stitched heart! I have to think about if i can make something out of that...I already wrote half of what I was going to go with but if I can make something out of the idea tonight, I will. I wish I had time tomorrow to write.
Direst Ryl: Tuatha de Danaanryl on April 17th, 2017 09:02 pm (UTC)
Ha! "Twitterpated." I remember that. I wrote about making a hat out of a dead bird.

I have an idea for this week but no motivation to write yet. That's what last-minute panic is for. >:D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2017 09:14 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHAHA! Now, that's an excellent approach to the topic!

I think my favorite entry from that week was the by person who wrote a bunch of randomized tweets as meta on the topic. He unfortunately included "brought a knife to a gunfight" as a failure example in that story, and it became a prompt a few weeks later...
pkoceres: highwaypkoceres on April 17th, 2017 10:10 pm (UTC)
Congratulations to your son! (although, what a bummer for his friends) I had no idea college admissions were so competitive in California!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2017 10:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

They are pretty fierce, here. I knew Berkeley and UCLA and UC San Diego were really competitive, but unless you want to go someplace soul-killing like UC Merced, it is hard to get into a good, desirable school. Our daughter went through this too, though our son's SAT scores were better (she could only get so far with her math score).

He got accepted at UC Davis, too, but none of his friends did. One made the waitlist, and another (who had a really ambitious major and a terrific set of high school extra-curriculars) got an out rejection. We have been depressed for weeks over how things settled out for that boy, because that is just so wrong. Looks like he managed to obtain some scholarships to a private school. The school has a lesser rating than he would have liked, but is at least a step above his fallback plan-- community college for a couple of years and then a transfer to a UC.

The message for quite a few years is that if you work hard and get good grades, it still won't make much of a difference. That is just so sad. :(
pkoceres: Umbrellapkoceres on April 17th, 2017 11:03 pm (UTC)
got an out rejection
That's awful. :\

My experience with college was the exact opposite- the art school entry process was a breeze, but the cost was prohibitive and the dropout rate was pretty high. I'm glad I wasn't trying for something like an ivy league; I've heard stories similar to yours about just how extraordinary you have to be in both academics and extracurriculars.
Portdesertport on April 18th, 2017 05:06 am (UTC)
Congrats to your son! UCLA was nearby my own school and I always loved the campus, so different from my tiny little private college. He's going to have the time of his life there!

It's disheartening to hear about his friends, though. This sort of experience can give you a complex; I hope they know it's not them, it's the economics of higher ed. :( From what I've read, applications from foreign students have dropped significantly because of that bastard Trump, which is probably going to weaken the whole system, since they pay full tuition. One of my adjunct friends who teaches ESL is thinking of moving abroad to weather out the drought he sees coming in his field.

Anyway, glad your daughter got some time with you all too! That must have been nice. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2017 07:02 pm (UTC)
When I think of that one poor boy, who had a challenging and ambitious major in mind, possibly being relegated to community college just because he didn't apply to the more mediocre colleges (how would he know?)... it's just so sad. I hope his private college experience works out for him. With scholarships, the cost should be similar to a regular UC, but I hope the education is good as well. He's a great kid, and it's so disappointing.

All of these kids were aiming for some type of engineering, too, and they had the grades to back that up. :(

I would rather see fewer foreign students, and better use of the money that comes in (and I'd be willing to kick in more in taxes for universities to educate more of the students from our state). This was a pre-Trump thing. There was some scandal over this a couple of years ago, as the better California public colleges were admitting something like 20% of non-resident students, including some with lower academic records than residents who had been rejected.

UC San Diego, where our daughter is an undergrad, has something like a 30% graduate degree population of Chinese nationals. Not Asian students who are U.S. residents, actual students from China. And that seems terribly, terribly wrong to me. :(
riverotter1951riverotter1951 on April 18th, 2017 02:47 pm (UTC)
Congrats to your son. My mom graduated from UCLA in 1942.

Sorry to hear about your son's friends. It is so sad when a kid can't get into any college including the safety ones.

Most of the local kids go to the community college and transfer OR take one of the various certificate programs.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2017 07:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I think he'll have a great time there.

But my husband's parents both went to Berkeley, as did my husband and two sisters, and now neither of our kids can get in? With those grades, test scores, and extra-curricular activities? Things have gotten really tough for the current generation.

We have a lot of local kids who go to community colleges, sometimes because they can't afford the full 4 years at a university-- so they clear out the GED requirements and transfer. It's a clever solution.

But this isn't the situation you expect for ambitious, high-achieving students who honestly would have been shoe-ins at any of those UCs some 20 years ago. :(
riverotter1951riverotter1951 on April 19th, 2017 02:24 pm (UTC)
Exactly. My son graduated high school in 2001 and applied to the UCs. He got into Davis but ended up at his first choice, a private college called Harvey Mudd.

I remember hearing, when I was in high school in the 1960s, the top 12% got into the UCs and the top 1/3 into the Cal States. I wonder what happened that these kids can't get into the UCs.
adoptedwriteradoptedwriter on April 18th, 2017 03:02 pm (UTC)
I hear ya re college acceptance being more like a business than serving our kids best. We see this in Ohio too. Assume nothing just because you're in state.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 18th, 2017 07:07 pm (UTC)
Much like the lower education, the quantity of money thrown at education compared to the results is just maddening.

Teachers have to buy their own classroom supplies or beg for donations, and yet we have high schools with 2-4 VICE principals and the state-level education bureaucracy is bloated with administrators who do very little to actually improve (or solidify) education for our students. Unbelievable.
Murielle: Chocolate Good!murielle on April 19th, 2017 12:39 am (UTC)
I apologize for my muddled brain. I read, and believed I had commented, hours ago.

Congratulations on your son's acceptance UCLA. My late uncle taught at UC San Francisco for many years. California has so many wonderful schools.

It's so good to have you back!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 19th, 2017 05:42 am (UTC)
Thanks for the nice thoughts!

He'll have a wonderful time at college, without question. We were just hoping for the one that is 1 1/2 to 2 hours away instead of the one that is 7-8 hours away (California is just huge).

And while she doesn't know what awaits her next year, the cat would have been much happier to have her Therapy Human living closer. ;)
Murielle: Chocolate Good!murielle on April 19th, 2017 06:13 am (UTC)
Aw, poor kitty! Maybe he could phone her? I'm serious. Really.

Edited at 2017-04-19 06:14 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 19th, 2017 06:55 am (UTC)
We'll probably give that a shot-- and maybe Skype. But if she's like most cats, it'll just confuse her and she'll ignore it.

I think many animals rely on sense of smell far more than anything for identification. She would recognize his voice (she's on high alert for it most of the time right now!), but it would not smell like her boy. :)
cindy: jared's dogs are love (by bunnymcfoo)tsuki_no_bara on April 19th, 2017 09:21 pm (UTC)
i'm totally thread-jumping, but when i was in college, sometimes my mom would put the dog on the phone - because that is totally the kind of person she is - and when i said "hi, rc!" he would lick the receiver. so skype might work for the kitty. sort of.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Halloweenhalfshellvenus on April 19th, 2017 10:55 pm (UTC)
If she realizes it's him (down the road), I can totally see her rubbing her face all over the phone. The phone would be LIKE the Boy, in some mysterious way, and she would need to love it. :)
cindytsuki_no_bara on April 19th, 2017 12:52 am (UTC)
congrats to your kid! ucla's a good school. his poor friends, tho. that's so disheartening when in-staters with top-notch college applications are passed over for out-of-staters who might not be as qualified, just because the out-of-staters will pay more tuition. is the uc system that hard up? do they just need a lot of money for stupid surface shit? (shiny new academic buildings, new sports arenas, etc.) bah.

i bet it was good to spend time with your daughter! sounds like you mostly had her all to yourselves.

i may or may not have spent some of my lunch hour yesterday walking down to the cvs and buying a half-price chocolate bunny and a creme egg, but you can't prove anything. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 19th, 2017 05:48 am (UTC)
I don't know where all the money is going, for the UCs. I have the feeling they're wasting it on administrative overhead and sports. That eats up a lot of money in our state. Housing-wise, it looks as if he'll be stuck in a triple his freshman year, which is an arrangement that would have been considered unthinkable in MY day.

His friends... ugh, what a disastrous outcome for hardworking and directed kids.

Chocolate bunnies always tempt me, even though they're made of low-grade chocolate. They taste like my childhood!
cindytsuki_no_bara on April 19th, 2017 09:18 pm (UTC)
if it makes you (and your son) feel any better, when i was a sophomore, one of my friends lived with two other guys in what was supposed to be a double room, because there were slightly more students than there were places to put them. fortunately it was a decent-sized room, and someone's dad built a kind of platform floor, so they all slept under the platform and thus had a little more floor space.

it's a lindt bunny! they had dove bunnies too, but the dove bunnies were solid and the lindt bunnies weren't, and i wasn't really feeling it for a solid block of chocolate. (weird, i know.)