December 9, 2011


An event just sort of snuck up on me. I knew it was coming, and for a long time there I had myself convinced that it wouldn't matter so much, but now it's here and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

The time as I write this is 11:05 p.m., December 8th, 2011. That's more or less exactly the time on this day 10 years ago that we decided to take a little drive over to Willamette Falls Hospital.

Fast-forward to 1:25 a.m. on December 9th, 2001 (yes, a mere 2 hours and 20 minutes later). Look out world... Damian Richard Ford is born!

I've been doing a lot of reflecting over the last few days. Because I cannot believe that ten years went by so quickly. Heck, I'm not even supposed to be old enough to remember ten years ago so clearly, am I? But then I remember that I'm actually 29 (or "almost thirty!" as Damian likes to state it), and that 10 years is actually more like a third of my life than the half that it feels like it ought to be. Where does the time go? Seems like yesterday I was sitting on a hospital bed holding a newborn baby and laughing with Sammich so hard that my sides hurt (I don't remember what was funny, but I remember laughing). I was 19 (barely), had been married not quite six months, and I thought at that point I was a real grown-up. Fast-forward a decade and I'm a full-time working single mom, and I just finished packing my fourth-grader's lunch for tomorrow and cleverly figuring out how to get the birthday card to fit inside his lunchbox without actually folding it in half.

Really, though, my kid is awesome. And just to prove the point, I figured I'd hit a few highlights of his already illustrious career as a human being.

Mere matter of days old: Teaches Mom not to underestimate his capabilities. When placed a good couple of feet from the edge of Grandma and Grandpa's king-sized bed and left unattended for approximately two minutes, manages to pitch self onto floor. No lasting harm done (except to Mom's nerves), and Mom learns the origin of the phrase "bouncing baby boy".
2 weeks old: Sleeps through the night for the first time. Makes Mom very happy.
5 months old: Still thinks sitting upright unassisted is for losers, but dislikes being horizontal for any reason other than sleep.
7 months old: Decides to give sitting up a try and masters it.
8 months old: Decides to give crawling a try and masters it.
10 months old: Has walking while holding onto couches, tables, etc. down to an art form. Mom leaves him at Grandma's while she goes to work one day, and when Mom comes back, Damian is standing holding onto the couch in the living room. Mom says, "Hi Damian!" and walks past him into the kitchen. Damian lets go of couch and follows her in. Walking. Mom says to Grandma, "When did he start doing that?" Grandma replies, "He's been doing it all day. I assumed you knew about it."
Around 2 years old: Begins repeating the word "key" over and over. It takes Mom and Dad a couple of weeks to piece together that he says it when he sees the cat, and he's actually saying "kitty". Regardless, it's his first word. The first of many, because once this child decides to do something, he doesn't go halfway (see sitting up and crawling).
Toward the end of second year: Mom is helping Damian put on his socks. He looks at her and then says, "I have two feet. You have two feet. That's four feet, Mom." At this juncture Mom realizes that he will be better at math that her probably sooner rather than later.
Three years old: We take a trip to Mexico. Damian dislikes Mexican food, we learn. However, he is full of fun in the airports. During an 11-hour layover in San Francisco, Mom takes Damian out to the end of one of the terminals so he can watch the planes taxiing around. A plane passes very near to the window and Damian begins to jump up and down and point excitedly, "Mom! Mom! Look! I can see the piglet!" "The what?" Mom asks. Exasperated, Damian says, "You know, the piglet! The guy who flies the plane!" Several hours later, boarding the plane, we are standing in line in the jetway, just about to step through the door of the plane itself. There is about a three inch gap between the end of the jetway and the door of the plane, and you can see down to the ground, which is quite a ways away. Damian, standing there and looking down, announces in a loud voice, "Man, I bet if we fell down there we'd get DEAD!" much to the amusement of the other passengers standing nearby. On the return trip to the States (another layover in San Fran), immediately after disembarking from the flight from Mexico City to SF, Mom (who has been speaking Spanish for weeks now), tells Damian, "Vamos a buscar un baño." Damian puts his hands on his hips, glares at Mom, and says, "Mom! We're in America! Speak English!" To this day, Mom has no idea how the heck he knew that we were in America, especially given that everyone around us at that particular moment was Asian. But seriously, the kid is THREE. How does he know we're in America, much less what the difference between Mexico and America is or that one should speak English in America and Spanish in Mexico????
Somewhere in the fourth year: Mom and Damian are driving in a car. Car trips tend to inspire Damian to deep thought. Out of the blue, Damian says, "I think I like living with you better than I would like living with my dad." (We separated shortly before Damian's first birthday.) Mom asks, "Oh really? Why's that?" Damian replies, "Because at your house you have rules. Dad doesn't have any rules at his house, and that doesn't seem very safe to me." And again, Mom is blown away by a preschooler's capacity for deep thought.
Kindergarten: Damian brings home a worksheet from school on which he is supposed to find shapes in the picture and color them a certain color (triangles blue, squares yellow, etc.) and then count how many of each shape and write the number on a line. Mom is watching over his shoulder as he colors the squares yellow. The squares happen to be windows on a building in this picture, and there are four rows of four windows. Damian silently taps the first window on each row with his pencil, then writes "16" on the line. Mom goes, "Whoa! Wait! How did you do that?" Seemingly exasperated with Mom's slowness, Damian taps the same four windows again, this time counting out loud, "Four, eight, twelve, sixteen!"
Later that same school year: Mom has a friend over from work. At this point Mom is working at Damian's school with grades K/1, and the coworker is working with grades 4/5. Damian's latest project is writing songs, and he has a spiral notebook full of lyrics he has written. He asks the coworker if she would like to hear his songs and she says, "Sure!" so Damian drags out the notebook, flips it open, and starts singing his lyrics to an improvised tune. Coworker is very impressed and asks Mom, "Do you even realize what he's doing? That's some high-level thought he's got going on there! I wish I could get some of my fifth graders to do that!"
Also that year: In the car, Damian is complaining that all the kids in his class are pairing up and that Yoselin is is best friend AJ's girlfriend, and that they want this other girl to be Damian's girlfriend, and Damian says, "But I really don't like her that much!" Mom says, "Well you know what? You guys are way too young to be worrying about all that boyfriend-girlfriend stuff anyway. You don't have to have a girlfriend if you don't want to. In fact, you can just tell them that your mom said you're not allowed to have a girlfriend until you're sixteen." Damian brightens noticeably. "Really?! What a relief!!" 
First grade: Teacher complains to Mom that Damian is talking in class to much, but admits, "I think it's because he's done with the work. The problem is that everyone else isn't done, and he keeps them from getting done." This seems like a no-brainer to Mom, who says, "So... do you not have some extra worksheets you can give him? Because he'll do anything you put in front of him. Give him as much work as he can handle! I don't care!" Same teacher complains that, while Damian's reading skills are excellent, his comprehension skills are practically non-existent. Mom laughs this off because she knows that he's reading and applying information gleaned from Pokemon Strategy Guides at home, and he just doesn't give a crap about penguins or whatever the teacher was making him read.
Second grade: As early as the second week of second grade, Damian refers to first grade as "a massive waste of my time." He likes second grade much better, however, and by Open House in late September his second grade teacher (who clearly catches on quickly) has made available to Damian a box of things he can work on when he's done with whatever was assigned in class. Later on in second grade, Damian conducts his first and only test of mom's "two-for-one" rule (Mom told him the first day of Kindergarten that she had a two-for-one deal with his teacher - "you get in trouble at school, you get in trouble at home!"). He puts this rule to the test by getting in a fight with another kid on the playground "because Jeremiah said something I didn't like." He will not say what Jeremiah said, and thus Mom is not convinced that it was worth getting into a fight over (Mom concedes that some things might be worth fighting for, but something Jeremiah said probably isn't one of those things) and suspends all "electronic entertainment privileges" (computer/TV/DS, and pretty much anything else with a screen) for a week. Damian has yet to test this rule again.
Third grade: School work is finally catching up with Damian's ability level, thank goodness. One day in the car, Damian says, "Mom, I have to tell you a secret... there are, like, six girls in my grade who find me attractive!" Mom sighs... it has begun. But Mom can't complain too much, because she had her first completely fake boyfriend when she was Damian's age.
Fourth grade: So far, so good. Damian has a male teacher this year for the first time, and it seems to be working out really well for him. He's in an extremely challenging reading/spelling group... some of the words that show up on his spelling list, Mom has to look up to know how to pronounce properly. After a somewhat rocky start during the first trimester, Damian finally got it together on the spelling and has done very well on the last few spelling tests, including a 100% on the first spelling test of the second trimester, which was also his first letter-graded assignment ever. So far that's a 4.0 GPA, right? ;-) His primary interest at the moment is designing his own card games, which involves hundreds of index cards all over my front steps most of the time.

Despite the fact that he has grown up with me, my son is an intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and caring individual... all while retaining his boyish fondness for fart jokes. He's undeniably the ringleader of the kids he hangs out with in our apartment complex (ranging in age from 4 to 12), but not because he's bossy... it's because he's just that charismatic and he has the most fun ideas. Neighbors have remarked to me on how well he plays with younger children. Said one, "I was watching Damian sword-fight with one of the younger kids and I could tell that Damian could have just totally beaten the snot out of him, but he didn't... he was letting the little kid do well and was giving him pointers." (My son has an extensive collection of fake weaponry... he's all boy.) His closest friends, however, tend to be several grades older (middle schoolers that he meets at his after-school program). He has intelligence, depth of thought, and vocabulary beyond his very-soon-to-be-ten years and the sort of creativity and desire to learn and grow that television has mostly killed off in his generation. In other words, my kid is epic. My kid is small for his age, has no siblings to fight with, and probably can't beat up your kid, but my kid will probably never need to beat up your kid because he gets along with everybody.

Damian Ford: Bringing more awesome to the world every day since December 9, 2001.

October 14, 2011

We are the 11%!!!

I think today I have been subject to more political discussion than I have since the last major holiday on which all my male relatives were in the same place. If you know me at all, you know I hate that (political discussion, not having all my male relatives in the same place). I'm never posting anything on Facebook that could be misconstrued as me making a political statement again... strictly entertaining fluff from now on. I'm not gonna talk about politics in this blog entry either... I'm gonna talk about common sense, along with some of my own opinions that are kinda political (but I'm not about to go about holding signs and protesting on their behalf).

First off, let's be real here. If you live in America (and all but a few of my friends do, so that's probably you), you're not "the 99%". You're probably in the upper 15% of the world's wealth, in fact. (I wonder if the rest of the world will gang up and picket our borders holding signs proclaiming that they are the 85%? Nah, they probably can't afford to make the signs.) Not so sure about that? Check out this thing right here....  There you can enter in your own personal yearly income and learn where exactly you rank in the world's percentages. I'm at the 11.4% level, and most of my friends who read this are likely to be higher. Also I am the 682,571,530th richest person in the world, according to this site. I find that less credible (because really, how do they know that?), but still interesting.

Let it be known that I have no great love for the American political structure. Sure, it's better than some, but I don't love it with great patriotic fervor and I don't necessarily think it's the only way to go. And a few of you flag-wavers are going to say that I'm free to leave if I don't like it. Well, no I'm not. My custody arrangements with the ex say that I need court approval to move more than 60 miles from him, elsewise I'd have bailed in 2005. And it's not because I hate America. I don't hate it. I don't love it either. I just was born here through no fault of mine. I am neutral like Switzerland on the subject of America, how's that? I do, however, think that we Americans have created a political structure in which is is completely essential to be corrupt in order to rise to the level of serious candidacy for any of the higher-ranking offices. Therefore, anyone who is up for election I will not be voting for. (Really, I think we should put the "servant" back in "public servant" and make all politicians work for free. That'd get rid of the ones who are in it for the money and make way for the people who actually care about the people of the country and want to serve.)

Here, in a word, is where I think we went wrong with the economy: credit. People said, "Well, I want this but I can't afford it. Loan me some money and I'll pay you back." Maybe it was even something they needed, but I've found people have sort of a distorted idea of "need" anyway. (Food, water, air and shelter are needs. Anything else really isn't. And in most parts of the country, breathable air is still free.) The banks said "Okay," and gave the people money and charged them interest. The banks thought this was great because they got their money back plus some. The people thought this was great because they got to buy stuff they couldn't afford and pay for it "later". More and more people did this, and suddenly the banks went "Whoa! We don't have any actual money left! Pay us back now!" and the people said, "But we don't actually have any real money! That's why we spent the money you gave us!" Meanwhile the government, perhaps taking its cue from the masses, spent trillions of dollars it didn't actually have with the idea that they'd just tax it out of the people, who appeared to have lots of money because they were sure buying a lot of stuff. Except the people didn't actually have any money either. Oops.

Here's a simple fix, America: Stop spending pretend money. Real money is that green stuff you can hold in your hand. Some of it comes in coins. That stuff you can spend. Oh, and try to stick to buying stuff you actually NEED. If you want to buy something that you just want, make sure you're buying it with the green stuff, and make sure you have enough green stuff left over to buy the things that you actually need. (Again, people, "needs" are food, water, shelter and air. Healthcare may also count as a need. In this day and age, transportation probably counts. If you want to have a job, a phone probably counts. Computer/internet is still not a need, I don't care what you say. Neither is television/cable.)

And no, I'm not perfect. I have credit card debt. I have student loan debt. And I have recently resolved not to accumulate any more of either, and I'm actively working toward paying those off. But I recognize true needs as opposed to wants, and any wants that I really cannot afford have been rather aggressively eliminated from the budget.

On another note, I'm currently most of the way through my first listening of the new Evanescence album, cleverly titled "Evanescence", which I bought with the green stuff after tending to more pressing needs like "being able to see" (I paid out-of-pocket for an eye exam and contact lenses today because my insurance apparently thinks I only need to see one out of every two years). But back to the music, so far I'm liking it (I'm on the next-to-last song on the album). Much better than 2006's The Open Door, which was the vehicle for the most depressing song of all time, "Like You". Overall, Evanescence is heavier than both The Open Door AND Fallen. I consider this a good thing. And in the continuing spirit of musical goodwill...

Song o' the Day: "What You Want" by Evanescence. First single/video from the Evanescence album. See/hear it here.

October 1, 2011

Confessions of a 29 year old makeup idiot....

I realize it has been quite a while since I wrote anything. My apologies for having a life. :-) But I thought tonight, since the Chamaco is spending the night with my mom, I'd go ahead and conduct an experiment I'd been wanting to try. And I thought I'd document it with pictures.

The first step was to dye my hair black. You here in blog-land are a little behind the Facebook times... my hair hasn't been black in quite some time. It has actually been the natural color, plus some blonde highlights. But I have a deep fondness for black dye... it's almost like black is my power color or something weird like that. And I was missing it. So black to black again for me. And then I decided to see if I could save myself $15 by cutting my own hair. Mostly I wanted the bangs cut because they were getting in my eyes. So I did that, and it wasn't horrible like last time. And on the advice of the last person who cut my hair, who told me when I complained about how thick my hair was that she would thin it and that, "If you want you can get your own thinning scissors and do it at home. You can't really mess that up too badly unless you go way overboard," I procured my own thinning scissors and had a go at that too. Lots of hair in my sink, but still plenty on my head and what's on my head feels much better now, so I think I did all right.

Believe it or not, though, this is not actually what I wanted to write about tonight. You see, here's the thing... biologically I'm female. I've given birth. And even then I wasn't completely convinced, but these yearly checks of my anatomy that are oh so much fun would seem to indicate that I most likely am actually female. Most females, seemingly, begin experimenting with makeup sometime in middle school and by the time high school rolls around they pretty much have it down. Maybe it was my gender confusion taking hold, but I sort of forgot to do that and somehow made it to 29 with only the most tenuous grasp on how eyeliner and mascara work and really no clue about the rest of it. Sure, I've accumulated lots of bits and pieces over the years that I always intended to learn to use properly, but somehow there was always something else to do that seemed more important. You know, like watching rugby. (The Americans are not gonna make it out of pool play in the world cup, just so you know... go New Zealand!) But I decided tonight that I was going to find myself a decent tutorial on how to do basic rocker-chick makeup. Because how can I be a rocker-chick when I grow up if I can't even get the makeup down?! ;-)

 Anyway, I've been listening to a good bit of music by The Pretty Reckless lately (along with the Poxy Boggards, which is sort of an odd combination, really), and it just happens the lead singer is a rocker-chick with makeup that didn't look too complicated. It's a color scheme I understand and often apply to clothing: black, black, and blacker. And of course there are tutorials available on YouTube specifically geared toward said lead singer, who happens to be Taylor Momsen. The video I was using you can watch here if you're really that interested.

It was quite educational. And the first thing I learned is that this Jessica Harlow chick goes WAY too fast. I hit pause a lot. I also learned the vital importance of either having a separate brush for your black eyeshadow or making sure it's REALLY clean before you switch over to your "champagne" shade. Maybe this seems like a no-brainer to you, but I'm a makeup idiot, remember? Anyway, I got about half done and it looked like this:
Guess which eye has makeup on it! Half done!
 I apologize for the poor quality of both my face and the pictures of my face that I took in my poorly lit bathroom with my iPod.

Anyway, doing the second eye went much faster and I think I actually did a better job. But I guess you can be the judge of that. :-)
Both eyes done! And I have eyelashes! (my own, not fake)

Then I thought, hey, while I'm messing around with it, might as well put on foundation. So I did. And then I thought, well, I should put on some red lipstick too... might as well go all the way, right? But did I actually have red lipstick? Yes, it turns out I do, and I have no idea when I bought it. And it seemed to me that I should probably be using lip-liner before applying red lipstick... but did I have any? Yes, turns out I did. Did I have the foggiest idea how to use it? No. None. Did I even know where my lip line was? As it turns out, sort of. The top was pretty easy. I think I may have faked the bottom a little bit. Also apparently I have had a stroke or my mouth is uneven... lol. But I did get red lipstick on, and here you see the final result:

These pics taken in my bedroom, where the lighting is slightly better, but not much!

Having had my fun (and realizing it was midnight by this point), I decided it was time for this stuff to come off. Then I learned something else: red lipstick loves you, and it does not want to let you go. And in a somewhat whimsical moment, I had a flashback of that scene in Mulan where she wipes the "bride" makeup off of half of her face. (And let me tell you, it does not come off that easy in real life!) But I decided to take such a picture, so here you go.
My apologies for the strap slippage... this nightgown is too big. Also the colors are a bit different because I actually took this picture with my cell phone, not my iPod.
So now you know what I look like both with and without all the "fancy" makeup, and you can let me know which you prefer. Though in the future I think I will probably skip the red lipstick in favor of a nice gloss in a milder shade.

And in keeping with my own traditions....

Song o' the Day: "Make Me Wanna Die" by The Pretty Reckless. See/hear it here.

June 30, 2011

The end-of-June update...

I haven't got a single profound thing to say, I'm afraid, so I'll give you this instead:

I. Am. Bored.

How's that?

No, seriously... I don't know what it is about this year that's different from all the other years, but this year I have officially decided that unemployment SUCKS. I seem to remember I used to kind of enjoy the summer down-time, but this year after about four days I was done and ready to go back to work. To that end, I've been trying to find a summer job (or a year-round job to replace my other job that leaves me in this state in the summer). Had an interview a couple of weeks ago that didn't go anywhere, despite them sounding all very enthusiastic at the time... perhaps they said those nice things to everyone? (Or maybe it's just that 10% of the state is unemployed right now and competition is fierce... who knows?)

My good friends over at the Employment Department have been giving me the usual run-around about my translating job for the school district and debating if they should have to pay me at all, and if so, how much they should have to pay me. I'm tired of playing that game, so I won't be returning to work for the school district in the fall. (If you're from the MRSD and reading this and you were shocked just now, sorry. My annual fun and games with the Employment Department are not the only reason for this decision, trust me.) Don't know where next month's rent is coming from at this point, but I'm not too stressed about it... I always figure something out. God provides. And if nothing else, I can just go through with the bus driver training.

Yes, that's right, I got the e-mail yesterday. My primary job, which has been harping at me about not having a CDL for almost two years now even though I had already gotten my CDL permit and was just waiting to be trained, has finally scheduled my behind-the-wheel training to start on July 11th. I had really been hoping to get out of having to do that by getting the other job I interviewed for, but looks like no dice. See, when I was hired I was told that getting a CDL was a requirement of my position that I had to fulfill within 90 days and training was done in-house and I said okay. I got my permit, took the 8 hour CORE classes, and waited for them to schedule my behind-the-wheel training. 11 months later my CDL permit expired. So I renewed it. Then my DOT physical certification expired. So I redid it. And I got a nasty e-mail from HR reminding me that holding a CDL was a requirement of my position and I would be expected to complete it within 90 days (this nearly 2 years after my hire date). I sent back a nice little e-mail reminding Mrs. HR that I had done everything I could possibly do on my end, was waiting for behind-the-wheel training, and she should probably tell the transportation director to get off his butt and schedule it if she was all so worried about it. (Not in those words exactly, but it was implied.) Next thing I know, the transportation director is asking me if we can schedule it during the summer. Apparently I'm being punished for my competence. This is all particularly stupid because the center I work at doesn't even have a bus... we're self-transport, and many of the kiddos live within walking distance. So HR is flipping out because I don't have my CDL and can't drive the bus that my center physically DOES NOT HAVE in the first place! Gotta love administration. But maybe I can make $85 bucks off of them so I can have my car's registration renewed before the end of August when it expires.

I've noticed something lately about Oregon... all my friends are moving elsewhere or making plans to do so. I would really like to move elsewhere as well. Perhaps I should start checking for jobs in other parts of the country? Because I don't think it's very fair that apparently a lottery was held to determine who would get to leave the state, and not only did I not win but I wasn't even notified it was taking place so I could participate. I'm thinking someplace warmer and drier. Arizona. Or New Mexico, maybe. (Or maybe even the old Mexico... I could totally see myself living there.)

Really I just wanna move. To Oregon City if nothing else, but I've started to hate this place. That means it's time to move on. Because I know from past experience that more than six years of living in a place I hate makes me generally cranky and unpleasant to deal with, and I've gotten rather accustomed to not being such a horrible *BLEEP* all the time... just some of the time. ;-)

Song o' the Day: "Fur Cue" by Seether. (From the new album that came out on May 17th, which I still have in pretty heavy rotation over a month later.) Hear it (but not see it, no video as of yet...) here. My money is on this song and "Tonight" being singles 2 and 3 from this album. #1 was "Country Song", which is worth a listen and the video is hilarious. See that here.

Oh, and I've been finally making some progress on the guitar playing and I'm thinking I'll have to learn to at least play the electric part from "Country Song", if not the twangy little acoustic riff which actually looks harder. :-)

SIDE NOTE: If anyone was curious enough to wonder what happened to my Dishwasher, he's off sudsing up some chick who spells her name funny. Ancient history.

June 1, 2011

Wow... been a while, hasn't it?

Happy New Year about six months late! Okay. Exactly six months late. Shut it.

Sorta forgot I had a blog for a while there. It's been an eventful six months... not so much professionally (other than having been really busy) as personally.

Somewhere around January 1st, I got it into my head that I was going to have another go at losing weight. Around the same time I joined a gym and started being fairly strict about what I eat. Now, six months later to the day, here I sit... 28-30 lbs. lighter than I was in January (depending on which day I weigh), and with a distinct lack of clothes that fit well. I figure I'll worry about that when I'm  DONE losing weight... still like 90 lbs. to go so whatever.

2011 so far has been the year of the boy. As in me being boy-crazy. I guess eight years of single was enough for me... not that I'm not still single, 'cause I am, but I've been putting myself out there more I guess you'd say. So far, though, it's been a series of near misses. There was a guy a few months back that I was interested in that I thought was interested in me, but I misread that one and later decided I wasn't interested anyway. There was another last month that was interested in me but I was, shall we say, less than enthralled. And now I've met and am communicating with a third that I am undecided about. I realize this all doesn't sound like much, but that's more action than I've had since high school, all packed into only 6 months. So for me, that's high traffic!

2011 has also been the year of Seether FINALLY putting out another album. It just came out last month, it's called "Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray", and despite the cumbersome title it's quite possibly their best ever (though the last one, "Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces", is still high on my favorite list). Hopefully we won't have to wait 4 years for the next one, because they just keep getting better. My crush on Shaun Morgan is renewed.

I'm also currently super-excited for ASBA, which is starting up again THIS SUNDAY!!!! This year I get to be the villain for a change, which means I get to be the pirate queen (holler!). It also apparently means that I only have about 2 lines. If I get to refer to Abby as my minion, that might help me feel better. Still trying to decide if I'm doing over-the-top evil or more of a sultry evil (while still church appropriate, of course). I'm leaning toward the latter, but I guess that'll be finalized at rehearsal on Saturday.

So anyway, I'll try to remember to put something here occasionally from now on. I was finished with work last week, so I should have more time until the end of August (or until I find a summer job).