Thursday, January 30, 2014

A (Fun) Fake News Lead

Just a little creative fun. We're taking an intro to media writing course and sometimes the instructor makes us try to come up with fake news leads based on a heading...and so we thought we'd "exercise".

Humor. It saves.

"In a twist of fate, two religious solicitors were shot dead in a Midwestern home when two men entered the house under false pretenses and wielded a Bible claiming it was a weapon of God. Reports indicate that a Stand Your Ground defense will be used, as the homeowners feared the life they love was being threatened."

(seems like in the right state, these days, that would be enough)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meaning and Words, and A What The Fuck Moment

That awkward moment when you have friends and family fill out a Johari Window model for a class...and your Dad describes you as 'loving'...and your husband does not.
This blog entry is going to be many things. First, a brief explanation of what a Johari Window is. Second, a quick discussion on the meaning of words. Third, a bit of a rant.

First things first, a Johari Window (found here: is a model exercise on mapping personality awareness used in fields of Interpersonal Communication. A "disclosure/feedback model of self awareness" (for a more in-depth description and history go here:
This assignment was for our Interpersonal Communication course.

Who doesn't want to know what the people closest to them thinks about them in five to six concise descriptive words of less...
You're right, nobody.

So, this weekend we sent off the link to Mother, and Father, and James.
Then today, in class, sitting at the back of the room playing on the internet when we should have been, oh, paying attention to the Interpersonal Communication lecture, we decided to see that the results were.

Then came the What The Fuck Moment. Which we'll get to in a bit. (It's not what you think.)
We decided we needed a few more people in on this, flesh it out a bit, so we sent the link to friends who, while all but one we met online, we have also spent anywhere from a couple of meals, to several days, with (thank you Kerry, Alison, Lush, Jesse and Jodi. xx) in Real Life.

Second. One topic from last week's Interpersonal Communication class was about words and their meanings and how meaning is not in words, rather meaning is applied to words. Seems pretty obvious if you think about it. The word 'sick', for example, has more than one meaning depending on how it's used. i.e. "I feel sick", "You're so sick", "That's so sick". Your parent telling you "You're so sick" will probably have a different connotation that your best buddy saying the same thing. Also, you might have traveled back in time to the 90's, because do kids still even use that slang today? Then there's the classic evolution of "gay" - gay was happy, then it was homosexual, and now it's lame (but it's still homosexual, and people who use it to mean lame should learn some new words).
You get the point.

So, on this Johari Window there's 55 adjectives to choose from:
able, accepting, adaptable, bold, brave, calm, caring, cheerful, clever, complex, confident, dependable, dignified, energetic, extroverted, friendly, giving, happy, helpful, idealistic, independent ingenious, intelligent, introverted, kind, knowledgeable, logical, loving, mature, modest, nervous, observant, organised, patient, powerful, proud, quiet, reflective, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, self-assertive, self-conscious, sensible, sentimental, shy, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, trustworthy, warm, wise, witty.


The common theme of the 55 adjectives is that there is usually an opposite of which you really can't be both. For instance, introvert vs extrovert, self-conscious vs confident, dignified vs silly.
You get it.

You're thinking...wait...where are all the overtly negative adjectives?!
That's over at the Nohari Window (, an optional assignment, and far less appealing in nature. Needless to say, we opted out of it.

Okay, so we got a total of 5 participants to "describe Frankie in five to six adjectives", and it was...more complete, but it still didn't erase the nagging agitated feeling from the What The Fuck Moment earlier in the day.

The What The Fuck Moment is when one person's descriptors were clearly based on...well, there's no real prudent way to put it, either fallacy or confusion...or an inability, a case of being absolutely hindered from separating one's own religious ideals, one's own self, when analyzing or considering others. Realistically, Self and Other should be separated, to do a person justice you should not compare them to you, but analyze, judge them, if you will, on their independent merits, or lack of.

We're into the ranting now, if you hadn't guessed. 

No, this idea on how people do/should/shouldn't scrutinize each other has not been covered or discussed in class, nor in the textbook so far.
This realization came from hours of thinking about the different possible reasons why the word "seeking" was used, out of fifty-five possible adjectives, to describe us, any one of us. Trying to rationalize it. Thinking of the many meanings that can be attached to that word, and a few of the others. This realization, then, was birthed from a What The Fuck Moment.

So, was he meaning we're "seeking" because he thinks somehow we're actively looking for, say, oh, God, because we're lost in his opinion? "Seeking", to us, being the opposite of "religious" on the Johari model.
It really stuck in our craw.
All day.
How dare that be an adjective he chose because he has some idealized idea of who "I" should be in reflection of himself and his desires. Also, sorry, but we're not "seeking" anything, except more knowledge. We are not "lost", we chose the path away from religion based on an extensive amount of consideration, logical thinking, belief and reflection. That's almost the opposite to "lost" in this case.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the "he" in questions is The Father.

It became more confusing when he also used the words "loving" and "self-conscious".
Not one single person close to us in the last, oh, more than ten years would be likely to use those adjectives coupled with our name.
Which led us to wonder, which one of us has he been spending the little amount of time we've spent with him over the last few years, with? 

It took some contemplation, thinking not simply about how one sees their self, but how people see each other, attach adjectives to describe people, sometimes based on comparing that person with who they are, or what they want to see. How, perhaps, a lot of people who are unable to be objective see or assess each other based on their personal motives and desires surrounding the person they are assessing. They are trying to find a reflection in the other person. A sort of reverse-reflected appraisal, or reverse-social comparison*, if you will.

Correct or incorrect, it was an eye-opening hypothesis.

We were in a tail-spin throughout the day about words and what the meanings were being applied to them and what that means when people think about each other. To pick at the same Daddy scab**, the use of the word "self-conscious", holds different weight and meaning depending on how it's applied. One is an awareness of self and the acts one performs (more of a philosophical approach to the word), the other is insecurity or a fear of embarrassment (more of a negative connotation). Two very different meanings, if not more, can be attached.

Bottom line is, we clearly have some sort of concern about what Father thinks of us and this situation manifested it into a What The Fuck Moment. It's certainly not stemmed from a desire to appease him in any way. Maybe it's a sense that despite all the candor over the past few years he still doesn't really know us or have a sense of who we are.

*reflected appraisal is the theory that a person's self-concept mirrors the way the person believes others regard him or her, and social comparison is evaluating the self in terms of how we compare with others.
**for the record, we do not have "daddy issues", we moved past that stage in life

Now for something not so completely different.
How ridiculous is it that we're trying to map personality awareness. Think about it. [Marisa/IamtheCrew (and other DID/MPDers), you know what we're getting at.]
We can't possibly do an adequate job of it for a class. But we have attempted it out of necessity. The link to it is up there somewhere at the top, and it was integral in getting our life back in some sort of order, relatively speaking.

If you want a know how the people who know us best see us, and what a "working" Johari window looks like, this is the most recent screen-shot from the model assignment:

Yay! 100% think we're intelligent! The ruse is working! Bwahahaha!!!
Meanwhile...sensible? dependable? WITTY?

Also, apparently "introverted" has a range of meanings, including "marked by interest in or preoccupation with oneself or one's own thoughts as opposed to others or the environment." which sounds...terrible. We're totally interested in other people. That's not to say we like many of them, but people are fascinating to observe and analyze. Personally, we used the word to describe ourselves because we attached a meaning to it that was based on, overall, preferring solitude.
If some of the words had included clear definitions, we would not have chose that one, and possible "idealistic"...or maybe we would.

Words words words, words have meanings and meanings have words and words have power and good communication is complicated, because people are complicated and full of meaning and words.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Nights Are Not For Homework

To be honest, most nights aren't (for homework) around here.
*takes a drink*
Having all of our classes compiled into Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in varying amounts, means all day Tuesday and Thursday are for homework (meaning: reading, reading, reading...and more fucking reading)...and anytime spent on workout equipment that doesn't make our eyes cross at the campus "fitness center". Tocqueville's Democracy in America is too heavy to hold on to [it's over 800 pages!]...aim for the light the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.

What we're saying is...
*takes a drink*
Wait. What were we saying?

Oh, Friday nights aren't for homework.

Also, the internet has been digesting the remains of our soul.

It's actually almost full body consumption.

Some heathen fare, at that. (it's fucking cold, we could do with some Hellfire)

So, put down that homework, and pick up a drink, (no homework? Just drink) and let's take a trip around the internet universe with Frankie, shall we? (If you follow us on G+ or Facebook, some of this may be "old hat") The highlights, anyway.

*takes a drink*

First stop: Reading!

5 Facts Everyone Gets Wrong About Depression
by Mark Hill
(If you don't laugh at least once, please have your funny bone checked out by a professional. Also, he's spot-on)

Odd Jobs: Turning Your Ashes Into a Vinyl Record
By Eric Spitznagel
(Press us into some records, scatter the rest)

*takes a drink*

Second Stop: Music!

Blalock's [no idea who "he" is] Indie Rock Playlist. Yeah, we're those kind of people (eeek, music hipsters!)...sometimes. And actually, we found this website because...uh...we totally have never illegally downloaded thousands of playlists, albums and/or songs using torrent sites. Nope. Never. Except...that once. And it was yearsssss ago. But it got us thinking. Were there more of them?
And then we found the mecca.
You can totally download playlist after playlist of [indie] music via .zip files. No torrents! (unless you want them) Or even stream the playlists and purchase the best ones (from Google Play. What? You buy things from iTunes?! WITCH! WITCH!)
And yes, we actually purchase ones we really's the right thing to do. *sigh*
But we also bought this gem recently (among others), and she's apparently singing in the Grammy's this year (which we wouldn't be caught dead watching), but still...IT PROVES WE'RE NOT HIPSTERS (right?!)

*takes a drink*

Last Stop: YOUTUBE!

This week in things that will anger theists...


You love cartoons. And making fun of things, while being enlightened. No? Well, then what the hell are you doing on the internet.
Just kidding. (but seriously...)
Can't remember how we stumbled upon this YouTube channel, but sure glad it happened...because it led to others...

(Click Play, You Know You Want To)

...others like...
The Bible Reloaded!
Which makes up for lack of cartoonage with hilariously chosen pictures while they commence with their very entertaining "Bible studies".

So, the point is, Friday night is not for's for letting the internet consume the remains of your soul while you laugh hysterically, or wish you could exist inside of a record now, OR...become a music hipster [the true sign of no soul...]. Or maybe continue being balls deep into that social media stuff (yay, balls!)
It's also, sometimes, for writing completely random blog posts to feel relevant, and promote awesome things.

To Friday!

*takes a drink*

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On American Exceptionalism

The first week of classes is under the belt.
All the syllabi have been distributed, so we know what we're up against.
A shit-load of reading, mostly.

This week in Political Science (the class is called American Political Thought), and no doubt this coming week, it's all about "American Exceptionalism", or more apt, "Why America Thinks It's Special". [The guy who coined the phrase and theory of "American Exceptionalism" was a French politician and historian named Alexis de Tocqueville, in the 1800's]

Sure, America is special. Every country is in its own way. But this is the exploration of the why, not just a bold overreaching declaration of America's divine uniqueness.
Okay, there will also be no declaration of its divinity in this.

We didn't need to read the "stacks" of articles, to know that America thinks it has some pious self ascribed role in the world - or, as the PoliSci teacher describes it, "A mission to remake the world in its image."
Sounds like a God complex of the nth degree.
We didn't need to read a backlog of essays (though we had to for the class) to know why America isn't as special as it thinks it is either, or that it is inherently fearful of its decline. All it takes to understand that is some reading and rational analysis. And acceptance.

Many of our family members are so very fond of proclaiming that the United States is the best country in the world. Most of them haven't been farther than a few states over, so it's hard to say what they are basing it on. Surely America is "pleasant" enough. It's home. It's large in landmass, it's varied in geography, even though it takes awhile, sometimes, to get to a change in topography. It's got diverse culinary offerings. It still has diverse cultures...for now. It's got some...qualities, for sure.

But, America unique...

Freedom of Speech? That's our favorite one.
However, other countries have it. For example, the freedom of speech for citizens of Japan is protected under Chapter III, Article 21, of their constitution, not to mention the forty-seven countries "granted" Freedom of Expression via Article 19 of the European Convention on Human Rights(1). Albeit, Europe's is set forth with consideration of a balancing of freedoms, i.e. you are free to express your opinions, but not to harass and thereby alienate a person or people(s). Some might argue that its definition is restrictive and lacks the wild-eyed unabashed freedom afforded Americans under the First Amendment (and if you truly believe in unrestricted expressive freedom under the First Amendment, then maybe you should lower the dose on those medications, dear). Others might argue that the protections afforded by Article 19 are more sophisticated, mindful of protecting the rights of people to live happily, free of torment and ridicule.
P.S. If you think torment and ridicule should be protected...may we suggest you back away from this blog.

So, it's not really exceptional because of free speech rights then.

Religion? Well, sure, America has religion. A lot of it. Of course the religious people think it's pretty long as you're part of "the right one". Plus, if you pay attention, religion doesn't really play in the same sandbox as actual freedom. Can't really be that then.

Some might say individualism and personal freedom, then, is why America is so awesome - but what about the pressure to deny gay people the right to marriage, or women the right to choose, or the attempts at continued repression of women and other groups, and the staunch hatred for people of different ethnic backgrounds, with non-Anglo-Saxon religions, whose first language isn't English. (Ya'll gotta speak English, ya hear, this is 'Murica!). And, actually, the intolerance of anyone not like "you".

So far, America is Exceptional, if you're white, male, straight and Christian...and don't forget upper-middle class or higher...and born in America...and speak fluent English [exceptions for Southerners, of course].

What else is there.

It's certainly not the education system(2), bloated military spending(3), financially inflated healthcare industry [third most expensive in the world(4)] with the complex systems that have always governed it (*cough* manipulative capitalism).
It's not the increasingly corrupt and convoluted political system, or increasingly corporate controlled...everything.
It's not the high homicide rates and rates of imprisonment(5) [for a developed First World country], or relatively high infant mortality rate(6) and plentiful poor people for such a big impressive developed country...
Or maybe it is.
One might say that the level of suck-dome when it comes to those key factors certainly makes America "unique".

Sadly, the things that really make the United States/America special are things that many attempt to take away, to overturn, to prevent, as mentioned previously - separation of church and state, the veritable cornucopia of ethnic groups and diversity, all of the human rights that have been amassed over so many years, like advancements in overall civil rights, and a woman's right to make decisions about her own body; and personal freedoms on the precipice of national inclusion - like the rights to gay marriage. Yeah, sure, and the loosening of marijuana laws too...

Instead those people wanting to restrict actual personal freedoms, the things that make a person an individual and free, desire to crawl back under the quilt of a repressive history.
Freedom and repression do not go hand in hand. If it is freedom that makes America "exceptional", then the perceived exceptionalism declines through freedoms being systematically stripped away, and the country's uniqueness will become naught.

These things mentioned are rights, and are attributed to an evolution of humanity where people can make choices about their life - they are an alignment with compassion and tolerance, falling in step with the collective freedom to be human, and be happy, and be oneself. By restricting these things, claims of freedom and equality become a lie

Ugh. Let's see...what else...

Guns. America is unique because GUNS*! Fantastic.

You get it...(hopefully).

The point is, the more a country screams about it's greatness, waving giant flags, the more they wrap themselves in it, clinging to idealistic and blind patriotism, denying truths, and proclaim they are infallible and demand everyone love them, the more it seems like they are trying to prove something, the weaker they appear, and the weaker they become. And the emptier their claims look.

If anything, America is relatively average on most counts - all countries have their inherent flaws; and there's nothing wrong with admitting it. At this point, maybe being able to accept the bad things, and appreciate the good things, and be open to criticism, is what would really make America "Exceptional".

*though citizens in several other countries are allowed guns, but the gun control is just a little better [and there are a lot less gun deaths per capita because of it (7)]

1. European Court of Human Rights, Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, and
2. U.S. Education Slipping in Ranks Worldwide, Earns Poor Grades on CFR Scorecard, Council on Foreign Relations, June 17, 2013
3. The U.S. Spent More on Defense in 2012 Than Did the Countries With the Next 10 Highest Defense Budgets CombinedPeter G. Peterson Foundation, April 12, 2013
4. The World Fact Book: Country Comparisons - Health Expenditures, 2011,
5. Five things everyone should know about US incarceration, Heather Schoenfeld, Aljazeera, March 26, 2013,
6. The World Fact Book: Country Comparisons - Infant Mortality Rate, 2013,
7. How Australia And Other Developed Nations Have Put A Stop To Gun Violence, Walter Hickey, Business Insider, January 15, 20123,

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Black Sheep

There are family members asking where "I" am, apparently. Why "I" left Facebook. (still, even though it's been years since we closed the account we had, and only in the last year opened a new one that we never really use). They always seem to be asking where we are.

It's like they think it's unusual for us to disengage. It's not.

One of our cousins, close to our physical age, got married last weekend. We found out about the engagement in October, at one of the few family events we regularly attend, if we find ourselves state-side. Everybody else knew about the wedding, the date, etc. We mentioned that this was new news, and that we had gotten no invite. A couple weeks later one magically appeared in the mailbox. Of course we were not going to attend at this point.

Truth be told, since the age of about 16-18 there have been very few times we've seen the majority of family. We moved around a lot. Nobody came to visit. Nobody kept in touch. We lived in another country for seven years. Surely the only things extended family knows about us has been relayed by Father, or maybe by Angry Brother in some drunken cousin admission. We know how he is, when his loose lips are lubricated by alcohol. We only know of one uncle that knows that we...well, he knows we have mental illness issues...he has been updated to the most recent one.

Honestly, we have so little in common with our family that is can painful for some of us. It's like they all have a connection that...we can't...understand. Sometimes it makes us very sad. Most of the time we are indifferent and we distance ourselves. Their lives are so alien, we struggle to communicate with them. What do you say when you are surrounded by people who talk about bad situations being equated with "God testing" it's a good thing.

We had a long drive today, had to go into town to have more dental work done (it's about a 40 mile drive), and since we had made the drive we dropped into the campus gym for a workout (where we started reading Benjamin Franklin's autobiography for a class - by page 20, we'd say it's highly recommended).

Long drives and working out are good for thinking. While driving we remembered Father always saying to us, as a teenager, that "God is always watching". It was his way of trying to control us through fear, because his fear was that once we left the house we could be doing any number of things and he would have no control. We understand that now.

We realized that, unfortunately, what he did not consider that was if "God is always watching" there was was very little he could do about it, we understood this fact because if God was always watching then surely he stood by as we got repeatedly abused, physically, mentally, and sexually...and did nothing. So Father's "threats" were never real enough to us. And the rest is stories of its own, but it shaped how we feel when we are in the presence of our very devout Baptist family.

So, when we sit at tables at family gatherings, listening to people talk about God in all the ways they do (and they do)...unable to really speak our mind,...because what would they say?! They would just call for prayer, they would try to rationalize. They wouldn't even understand. It was be beyond awkward.

Where are they, we, those you never hear from, that family member who constantly disappears, for years at a time? They are living a life, based on a life, that you wouldn't understand.

It's because they are a Black Sheep, and they know it, they understand it, and they cannot communicate with you without physical and mental struggle. And they've dealt with enough of that. They probably miss you from time to time...but it's just scant memories pulled up from the darkness.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Could have finished a painting tonight, if not for amazing amounts of pain (mostly back and neck) and a wicked headache (no doubt all related). Do you ever just move and sound like a bag of popcorn? Ugh.

It's a strange thing to think a lot about, but yesterday I worked on planning out the garden for this spring. While it produced a reasonable amount of produce, last year's garden was late getting in and had too much empty space due to poor planning. Best to get a start now...there's no telling how much time anybody else in this brain will put in it's planning once classes start, and then work again...and before you know it it will be the end of May and it'll all fall apart. So much distraction birdbrain. Who even knows where the time goes.

Have you ever considered weeds? We've been thinking about weeds a lot lately. What are weeds good for and why do they persist, season after season, despite diligent efforts to pull them up and kill them? They aren't edible. What's the purpose? Even wild animals prefer the plants that grow foods humans eat, so that can't be it. It can't simply be a case of CO2 production, after all, weeds or food plants, they all die in the Fall and have the potential to return in the Spring. Why can't something edible be that easy to reproduce?

Weeds...they don't seem like a practical part of theoretical intelligent design, but then again, very little does.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Two repair men are coming to the house tomorrow between 10 am and 3 pm.
One to calibrate the television. One to fix the elliptical machine.

This is not something that should feel so stressful...but it does.
It's making us all squinty and blinky and scrunchy.

On the upside, next Wednesday by this time the first day of classes will be over. Since we got to drop the earliest class we have less credits, which is fine because the workload appears to be insane (all the books, 16, for just 4 classes!)

There will be strangers in the house tomorrow...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Transcribing Crazy

We had been searching for a short story we wrote in 1995 for several years. We mentioned some of its content once in a blog post in February of 2011 (Franks First Love).
A couple of months ago Mother returned two plastic totes of stuff she'd had in storage for lord knows how many years. Stuff we hadn't even remembered we had, reeking of musty moldy old paper.
They turned out to be veritable time capsules, which included a 1999 screenplay adaption of a 1984 book called Virgins by Caryl Rivers that we did for fun - it had been a favorite book at the time. (We had even contacted her back then, she wouldn't give us "rights" to do anything with it, claiming she was writing an adaption herself. Still remains to be seen).

Anyway, in all these musty belongings was the story. Fifty cursive written pages of the first, and only complete, short story we ever recall writing.

Surprisingly we weren't as eager to page through it as anticipated, instead flipping to the back pages where we remembered that people who had read it in those days had written short "reviews". Raves of "excellent", "couldn't stop reading!" "very impressed" "gave me shivers".
Eleven people had read it and liked it.
Apparently it was easy to impress tenth grade high school students.

The story was so transparent in nature that a few of the readers knew exactly who the male character in the story was based on. Perhaps that's what made it more titillating to them.

Anyway, four months ago after being reunited with the document, we left it on the coffee table...and then put it in a drawer...or so we thought.
Somehow it had gotten misplaced the last few months while we were engrossing ourselves in University classes. It took quite the search today, which resulted in accidentally cleaning parts of the house, (Oh, the horror of accidentally cleaning!) but we finally located it.
Sitting down with a mug of coffee we started typing, cleaning up the horrifying grammar, the atrocious use of language, the repetitive sentences...and that was only into the fourth page...where we had to stop.

It seems that a page at a time, with breaks in between, will have to do for now.
Turns out we were fucking crazy, like, darkly fucked in the head. It's supremely disturbing that at the age of sixteen we wrote this story. By the fourth handwritten page the female protagonist had two vivid "hallucinations" about wanting to kill the boy that she had loved. The fuck. She totally makes us look sane.

Honestly though, it's also not written very well. Okay, it is written well for the first story of a sixteen year old. Reworking it a bit will help. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY! (haha!)
Perhaps even expanding on it would be a fun task. One of the common themes in the reviews was that many who had read it would have liked a different ending.

Of course, since the man who the main character was based on hasn't been a complete stranger over the last few years, it could easily turn into a short novel at this point.

It still doesn't change how disturbing it feels to be transcribing the manuscript. Maybe it'll be a good drinking activity.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


The nice thing about drinking (alcohol) is that our skin doesn't hurt as much when a finger is ran over it.
It's not always a problem, but when it's a ridiculous amount of pain for such a light touch.
This is all we have to offer today. Short...not so sweet.
(Trying to get back into regular levels of blogging - no, it is not part of a New Year resolution)

Thursday, January 2, 2014



It's not what you think. Wait, what were you thinking?
Never mind.
We received news today that we will be officially admitted to the Communications program at the University we are attending. Currently the status is pre-communications. In an pre-study one must take certain courses, pass them with high grades (at least a 'B', usually), all while maintaining an overall cumulative grade point average set forth by the department. Once this is done the student gets to choose a faculty adviser to help them plan the rest of their studies and gets to officially declare a major. Or something like that.

So now we get to choose an adviser who will help us plan the path to finishing the degree, and ultimately to employment in our chosen field of study.


So, here's the thing.
While we know this is the right field of study, communications...we're...not confident.
To be specific, we're totally confident in our abilities in most all of the areas of emphasis we could choose...we're not confident in picking the right one.
And we're not confident in actually getting paid to use our education - which doesn't have anything to do with the job market, or the employment outlook for different tracks we can take with the degree (there are many). It's...something else. Something we can't put a finger on, a word or simple phrase to.

This year this body we inhabit will celebrate 35 years of existence (old!).
In all of that time we've been in the work force (since the age of 16) we've been fairly low-wage workers. The time's when the work was "high-skilled", we were either in a traditionally low-wage industry (professional cooking, which we have an education in), or just still paid very low (because it was for a nonprofit organization).
To add, our employment experiences have been...unstable (mostly consistently employed, but with a lot of jobs).

Well, we've been sort of online job searching in geographical locations we'd consider moving to, even though there is a still a year and a half or so to see what's out there, read the job descriptions, the levels of pay (easily 3 times more than we've ever made)...but we can't imagine being a well paying job...that we'll be able to keep for more than a year.

That's the main crux of it.
Does that make sense? Does that sound weird?

So, we're already nervous about meeting with our adviser in a couple of we tell the person about these fears? Or is it normal...?

In any case, we're officially being admitted into the department. And that's a pretty exciting thing.
*has mental breakdown*