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My trip to Texas

To answer a few questions-

Melody-my degree is a non-thesis program so I did an oral defense of basically what I've learned. They got to ask me anything they wanted to. I think a thesis would have been easier to defend. And thanks much for your kind words.

Donna-The greenhouses were fantastic. They 8 of them-two were off limits as they are strictly for the maintenance crew for TTU. When I went down there one of my committee members happened to be working with some of her students so she gave me a whirlwind tour. One greenhouse holds all of the "mother plants" for their interiorscaping classes so it was all house plant material. Everything was in truly lovely shape. I felt like I wanted to shop! The other held mother plants for the propagation classes and yet another the experiments that the students were working on. There are classrooms between greenhouses complete with all new audio visual equipment. Then there is a lab where, for example on student had sets of onions growing in a chamber where they got more CO2 to see if they grew faster than onion sets without them. So far, they were not, which is a mystery they are working to solve. The gardens were neat but of course pretty bare as yet.

The campus is enormous. According to my advisor and several others it is the largest college campus in the U.S. with the exception of the Air Force Academy and that's only because they have their own runway.

I spent a large amount of money on sweatshirts and t-shirts with the TTU logo. LOL! Truly-if I had my choice I would have done the degree on campus. I feel like I missed out on a lot but I am glad I got the opportunity to go and see it all. I truly had a good time even with the stress of the defense. None of the trees or shrubs there are native I found out since Lubbock is located in short grass prairie land. Hard pan clay soil. Not what I would consider a gardening friendly environment but there were many nice plantings around campus.

I stayed with one of my class mates that I met online. She and her husband live literally only 10 minutes walking distance from the Plant and Soil Science building. They too were the nicest people. Older than me, so also non-traditional students. My class mate does her defense in July so she learned a lot from my experience I think.

Apparently it is tradition for the "defender" to provide refreshments for the committee. So, my advisor took me to the store and I bought bottled water, veggies, fruit, and Mexican pastries (yum). One of my committee member (the one from the greenhouse) pushed the veggie tray towards me and asked me what they all were. So then we got onto the subject of what parts of the vegetable we eat. She made me get up and draw a bunch of celery on the whiteboard. I had to tell her what part of the celery we eat. I said stem-I was WRONG! I finally figured out it was the petiole. Who knew? That was one of the easy questions of course. They kept me for about an hour and 45 minutes and then sent me out of the room. I only had to stand in the hall for a minute or so and then they called me back in and my advisor said Congratulations! So, of course they all hugged me and I wanted to fall in the floor just from the relief. My advisor asked me later if I got the point of bringing food. She laughed and told me the committee is so busy eating that they don't have the focus to just hammer you with questions. Worked like a charm.

So, what's next-I have to finish the two classes I'm in-Pesticides and my refresher plant propagation undergrad class. Then I get my diploma. And then I'm going to do what I said and read gardening magazines and trashy romance novels for at least a month. I'm done with school. done done done. So really I have no idea what's next. I'll keep you all posted!

Thanks again for all of the support and congrats and kind words. It means the world to me!

----- Original Message ----- From: "Melody " <mhobertm@excite.com>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 10:30 AM
Subject: RE: [CHAT] over the milestone

A: You are an amazing inspiration...take time to savor your hard earned
victory. I'm so proud of you...I know it's been a great deal of hard
work for you and this is a real cause for celebration. Do you mind if I
ask what you wrote your thesis on? I'm afraid you've probably covered
that at some time while I've been gone, but I really am interested in
knowing. :-)

Blessings in Christ's mercy,


Work for the Lord: the pay isn't much but the retirement is out of this world!

--- On Sun 03/16, Andrea Hodges < andreah@hargray.com > wrote:
From: Andrea Hodges [mailto: andreah@hargray.com]
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 19:36:36 -0400
Subject: [CHAT] over the milestone

I DID IT!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!! It's over, finito, done, and I PASSED!!!!!
I'll <br>send more details later, but in a nutshell, it was hard, but I
had the BEST <br>time. Everyone was so nice and so gracious and I DID
IT!!! Now just to <br>finish these last two classes and I'll get my
degree. THANK YOU for all of <br>your positive thoughts, prayers and
energy. I know it helped!!!<br>HUGS TO YOU
ALL!<br>Andrea<br><br><br><br>----- Original Message ----- <br>From:
"Pam Evans" <gardenqueen@gmail.com><br>To:
<gardenchat@hort.net><br>Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 3:39
PM<br>Subject: Re: [CHAT] Horticultural milestone<br><br><br>> Well lady
- hope your oral exam is going well. Sending you all the good<br>> (and
smart) vibes I can muster. I'm a planting fool today. Check in when<br>>
you get home!<br>><br>> On 3/12/08, Andrea Hodges <andreah@hargray.com>
wrote:<br>>><br>>> Well I'm looking forward to reading anything be her
when I get through<br>>> with<br>>> this. Thanks David!<br>>>

A<br>>> ----- Original Message -----<br>>> From: "David Franzman"
<dfranzma@pacbell.net><br>>> To: <gardenchat@hort.net><br>>> Sent:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 7:40 PM<br>>> Subject: Re: [CHAT]
Horticultural milestone<br>>><br>>><br>>> > Andrea good luck to you I
know you'll do well. Have fun with it. Nora<br>>> > Roberts is my wife's
favorite.<br>>> ><br>>> > David<br>>> ><br>>> ><br>>> ><br>>> > -----
Original Message ----<br>>> > From: Andrea Hodges
<andreah@hargray.com><br>>> > To: gardenchat@hort.net<br>>> > Sent:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 3:14:22 AM<br>>> > Subject: [CHAT]
Horticultural milestone<br>>> ><br>>> > OK all, I have to get up at 3:00
am tomorrow to get to the Savannah GA<br>>> > airport<br>>> > by 5:00. I
fly to Lubbock TX to do my oral defense of my degree. It's <br>>> >
on<br>>> > Friday at 2:00 pm central time. I need ALL the well wishes,
positive<br>>> > thoughts,<br>>> > and prayers I can get. I am trying
really hard not to be nervous. I<br>>>

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