Saturday, March 19, 2005

Busy Weekend / Graduation (Updated)

No sunset pictures tonight, just this one of my dad.  We picked him up several hours ago in the Arizona Shuttle Service lot, within easy view of my mom's old apartment window.  Dad is here for the University of Phoenix Commencement, which takes place ten hours and 24 minutes from now.

I've got to go to bed.

This weekend we've got three birthdays to celebrate: two belated and one coming up.  I want to take Dad to the model railroading hobby shop, and Austin's, and maybe Old Tucson, and the Pima Air and Space Museum.  Meanwhile, John has a cold after working overtime all week in his temp job.

My first instinct tonight on seeing Dad was to try to take care of him.  I grabbed his suitcase, started to speak for him at the hotel desk, and looked for a safe way onto the sidewalk near his second floor hotel room.  But that truth is that even at age 82, Dad needs no such amenities.  He lives in a three story townhouse, so he takes stairs every day.  He also works out every day.  He even just marched in a St. Patrick's Day parade back home, carrying his end of a banner for something like 20 blocks in a high wind.  And see that mark on his forehead?  He got that climbing around in his garage, diagnosing the latest problem with a malfunctioning garage door.

No, he doesn't need my help--thank goodness!


******* UPDATE **********

Graduation went well, I guess.  There was no commencement speaker per se, and I was the only degree candidate who walked into the hall with a big pink purse on her shoulder.  It just wouldn't be me if I weren't guilty of some sort of nonstandard behavior.

I wasn't especially excited until I hit the room in which the about-to-be graduates congregated before the ceremony.  One of my favorite instructors, Fred Lewis, was there, playing "marshall" to the BSB/ACC candidates.  Hollis from my very first learning team was graduating in the accounting program with me, as were the two Andreas from later learning teams.  Fred was great, and the five of us had a good time chatting about jobs and the CPA exam.

Then we were filing into the concert hall in the Tucson Convention Center, as the Fort Huachuca band played Pomp and Circumstance.  I started to get a little shaky with emotion at that point.  Fred led us around and into chairs at the end of one row.  I had trouble finding Dad and John in the stands at first, but then they turned up above me on the left, surprisingly close by.

The ceremony started, and I found I was in tears.  "I wasn't this emotional at my wedding!" I confided to Fred.

"This is more of an accomplishment," Fred said.  "Any fool can buy a license.  Not everyone can do this."

I guess there were several hundred people getting degrees today--not the actual diplomas, but prop diplomas, little notices on parchment paper that said the degree would be mailed if their records showed we were entitled to them. There were a bunch of groups of Masters candidates, in lots of subcategories of Business, Education, Nursing, Counseling, or I.T.  There were similar categories for the bachelors' degree programs, with fourteen people listed under "Candidates for Bachelor of Science in Business/Accounting."  I'd never heard of some of the people. One name I did recognize belonged to a former team member who used to get the answers wrong, and who took a break from school at one point.  I don't know where the other nine accounting grads came from when their names were called, because it seemed like just the four of us were there with Fred, before, during and after.

Some candidates whooped or waved, pumped their fists, hugged faculty members, or did a victory dance.  One group of newly-minted teachers formed a little conga line back to their seats.  We saw glitter confetti on the floor, and silly string in the air.  I didn't do any whooping or dancing, gesturing or littering. But I did accidentally knock my mortarboard to the gound at Fred's feet on the way out, and well, there was the whole pink purse thing.

So it was mildly interesting and emotional and worthwhile, even though the ceremony itself was a little lame, sounding more like a UoP advertisement than an inspirational sendoff. Some names were mispronounced, occasionally in creative ways.  When I heard the guy call a different Karen "Carrie-en," I got nervous about my own name getting messed up, possibly at both ends.

"I just know he's going to call me Blotcher," I told Hollis. (In case you've ever wondered, that's NOT how it's supposed to be pronounced.)  I couldn't remember whether there had been an opportunity to tell the University how the name should be said.  Oh, well, it was too late to worry about it.

But we had been given two index cards with our names on them, one to give to the photographer, one to the "reader" of the names. It wasn't until I was about to hand the first card to the photographer's assistant that I saw what was printed on the second one in large, friendly letters:

Karen Funk Blocher

Care'-en Funk Block'-er

Oh, yeah.  I did write that on the commencement application, didn't I?

And yes, he got it right.

Some people today had large cheering sections of family and friends.  I just had John and Dad.  They didn't whoop when I went up.  I didn't expect them to do so.  It would have been out of character. They didn't even clap, because they were both busy with digital cameras at the time.  But on the little AVI film John made, there is cheering and whooping going on anyway, immediately after my name is called.  Maybe it's for Hollis, but let's pretend it was for me.  Either way, I'm satisfied.

Karen Funk Blocher, B.S.B/Acc


alphawoman1 said...

Your Dad looks great for 82!  Something to say about working out! He should be a poster boy for exercise!  I imagine you all will have a great time together!  You going to let him look at your new camera?

jabarett said...

I wouldn't have guessed your dad's age from the picture. He looks great.

Hope the commencement goes/went well and that you have a great time with your dad.

shellys555 said...

Hey, congrats!

deabvt said...

Karen, I`m so proud of you. There`s just more meaning for the struggle. I love the Pic of your Dad taking your Pic! By the way, I think you mistyped! It says in your entry that your Dad is 82. The world to you, Karen Funk Blocher, B.S.B./Acc!

ryanagi said...

Yay! OMG...I am totally crying here. I'm so proud of you! And you look FANTASTIC in your cap and gown! The sash (stole? scarf?) with your honors is a really pretty color too! WOO HOO! YAY!!!!  (I would have whooped and whistled for you, if I had been there.) ;-)

cneinhorn said...

Wow many Congratulations to you Karen!  Well done my hat's off to you! I'm so proud!  

incidentally, where are the questions you were to answer for Paul?  I"m not finding them?


jeff466 said...

Congratulations on your graduation!  That is a wonderful accomplishment :)

I kept looking for you pink purse in the pictures!  Glad they got your name right-Jeff

plittle said...