Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Key #1

I have a friend, Ms. Macknacracken, and she makes jewelry. For years, she has been known for her key jewelry: earrings, pendants, pins, even figures made from old skeleton keys. The "key people," as they are known, are meant to celebrate the "key people" in one's life. Nice, right?
Key #1 refers to things or people that are key to my life, my sanity, my well being at this junction in my life.
Well, as my current journey has taught me, I have some key people of my own. I may not call some of them my "best" friends (a term I think is best left to elementary school aged children), but I do like to call them "My Peeps." In no particular order: My Jenny, Red, Tha Doctah, My Favorite Local Celebrity (who is no longer a local celebrity, but Nurse Betty-in-Training), Ms. Macknacracken, My Favorite Shiska, Bersday Granddaughter, Fast Jessica, The Devil (who also no longer fits her original moniker- maybe I can call her The Clown Wrangler?), and of course, all of my virtual facebook friends.
Many of them do not know about what's going on in my life right now, nor do they need to. All they need to know is that I am grateful for their friendship.
I came across a Hebrew word this morning that is so perfect: AHAVA.
It means "love" in Hebrew, but it also means "I give." So when you speak of "ahava," and express "ahava" for someone, you are really saying that you are giving to that person, they are being given the gift of love. Giving is a condition that creates and sustains love.
I'll repeat that: Giving is a condition that creates and sustains love.
So to all My Peeps: ahava. And thank you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Is No News Good News?

The old saying that "no news is good news," do you believe it? I mean, I guess in some cases this is true: test results from the doctor come to mind. But what about other things- isn't no news disconcerting? Like, if you're taking board exams for your law or medical degree, or for the SATs or MCATs, wouldn't you rather know ASAP if you've passed or not?

With the advent of instantaneous everything these days, does the notion of waiting for anything- news, money, movies, purchases- elicit more of an anxiety or excitement response for you? I tend toward the anxious, but not to the point of harassing phone calls and/or emails. I mean, I'm the kind of person who, just when she decides to make the phone call & leave a message of the "Where in the world is my ___?", the UPS guy or mailman shows up with it at my door.


I guess the No News rant here is more about feeling in limbo, the uncertainty I think we all feel from time to time. I just hate the prolonged version of that feeling. I don't appreciate the long way around, and would rather get on with it, whatever "it" may be.

I know its been a while since my last post, and I know this post is less than happy, but so much is up in the air right now, I'm struggling to maintain the everyday optimism I usually carry around. Check back in a week or so; I promise to change my tone! :o)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Survey says?!"

Yeah, so I borrowed that line from the late Richard Dawson. And I know I haven't posted anything in a long time. Like, a really, really long time. But, man, I've been Busy.

As this is the first of September and all, and my world thus far in life has always been about new classrooms and new pencils this time of year, I thought I'd post about the changes Summer 2010 hath brought.

Summer programming at work: We did a take-off on Top Chef and Iron Chef, with the kids cooking tons of food, and competing against each other in weekly food challenges. We ended the program with a special reward trip to Mackinac Island, complete with lunch at The Grand Hotel . Schwanky. Yes, I have the theme chosen for next summer already; no, I won't tell you what it is; your only hint is that it is both a book and a movie. Hmmm...

Daughter #1 has packed up and moved out to be a co-ed cutie on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison , and yes, I was already told that I was NOT allowed to purchase and/or wear the shirt that says "Good Girl Gone Badger."

Daughter #2 is starting 9th grade this fall, and I think she's going to do just fine. There was a time when I felt she was in need of more attention and stronger guidance from me, due to her less-gregarious nature (read: she's her father's daughter), however, I have since learned that just because she's quiet around the house, doesn't mean she's necessarily quiet elsewhere. Also, she has a dirty mouth. I don't know WHERE that comes from!

Graduate school is moving along, with three classes down (well, almost three) and only 7 or 8 more to go. My current class is a bit off-putting, as the instructor is presenting each week to about two dozen online students (like me), PLUS a room full of live students on campus. The format is less than ideal, to say the least, and I for one feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick. I can't wait 'til evaluation time.

So on to the title of this post, right? I'm posting a question, and hoping to get some responses.
Q: When you have had a difficult decision to make in your life- no matter the decision, no matter your age or life situation, no matter any of those variables- what was the impetus for finally doing what you've been trying to make a decision about?

Did that make any sense? Hope so. Have a great week, friends.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Definition of Insanity

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." As the kids like to say: Tru dat.

How many of us fall into a routine because of its comfort or familiarity without really examining what it does to us on a personal level? How often do we (un-) knowingly enter into something, and once we're committed to it, think to ourselves, "This seems like something I've done before..." It's like deja vu all over again (apologies to Yogi Berra). And yet, we can't seen to break away from the cycle. That comfort level, that friendliness, that warmth is all too enticing. Or we are too bothered by the possibility of change that we fall back on the familiar out of habit.

Remember, friends: habits come in both "good" and "bad" flavors.

So it goes with me lately. I've been especially introspective lately, and I've noticed that I have a routine, my active life has a routine, my work life has a routine, my relationships have a routine. These routines cycle with the seasons, cycle with paychecks, cycle with what's on sale at the grocery store. I've always done what I've always done, and its worked pretty well, even though I'm sure I've missed out on new experiences because of my set ways. But with this introspection comes Doubt. Yes, with a capital D.

What if I changed my training habits? Will I really be able to run a faster race? What if I change the way I respond to relationship issues? Do I risk damaging the relationship, or do I realize things that were always present in a new light? You don't know what you don't know, and you won't know until you know; it just happens itself upon you. Man, that sounds like a lot of psycho-babble (or Yogi-isms), but if you've ever been in the Doubting Place, you get what I mean.

So with Spring, I've been ready-ing myself for change. It fits the season. The timing feels right. I have a new-found enthusiasm for new-ness. I've read about things that interest me, not just what I need to read for school or book club. Its pretty liberating.

I'll leave you with another quote, and wish you a good week of discovery, however circular things seem:

"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 22, 2010

Growing Pains, or Every Sunrise Brings a New Day

Hello, Friends! I know its been awhile since my last post, but as the title of this post may suggest, things have been hectic around here. The biggest change has of course been my foray into graduate school. What a trip so far! I am absolutely in love with learning, and my online class has been nothing short of stimulating for my mind. In addition to forcing myself to be a more disciplined person in several areas of my life, I am forced to re-think my stance on some issues in education, or at the very least finesse them.
On the physical development front, I have been following (sorta closely) the P90X program. Tony Horton is the goofiest cat I've seen in an exercise video. The workouts are "extreme," as they say, and have kicked my butt on more than one occassion. I'm slowly but surely gaining strength,and it won't be much longer before I can do a pull-up. Maybe.
Other than that, I'm registered for two marathons this year (so far!): first up is the Green Bay Marathon on May 16th, and then there's the Chicago Marathon on October 10th. In between the two races are one high school graduation (Daughter #1), two weddings (sister Abbie and sister Katie), and a very exciting theme for my summer program at work! Yes, I have most of the summer planned out; no, I won't tell you what the theme is yet. I'll give you a hint, though: it is based on two television shows. Hmmm...
And so with that, dear readers, you can see that I have indeed been experiencing Growing Pains, and I must remind myself that no matter what comes my way each day, the sunrise will bring a new day, a new opportunity to get things right, another chance to learn something new and another way to challenge myself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guess What?!

Okay, friends. I'm not the kind of person to brag, but I am very excited about my latest venture: graduate school! Yay, me! Today marks my first session as a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , and even though everything is online, I've still got some "first day of class" butterflies.

When this is all said and done, I'll be super-duper smart. You want proof? Well, my degree will be a Masters of Education in Educational Policy Studies, with an emphasis on Diversity and Equity in Education. Phew! That's a mouthful!

That's my short post for the day as I'm really trying to squeeze in as much as possible these days. More on that later. Have a great week!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Its About Time!

I know, I know, I know. Its been two long months since my last post. It was the frantic holiday season! I was swamped at work! I had issues at home! I had another marathon to run! out of excuses. Whoops.

But lets get down to business, shall we? Season 7 of Project Runway started this week, and thank goodness this batch of designers has some personality! Last season was so blaaaahhhhhh, and I really didn't care for the way it ended. Icky. But now we have pizazz in the personality department and fantastically diverse design views. I think its going to be a good season!

And (of course) I called the winner and loser of Week 1 via text with Tha Doctah. *pat on back* I know I'm the only one keeping score, but I have to tell someone!

The dress that Emilio designed was so pretty- the details of the construction were amazing, and I'm really looking forward to what else he shows. Other designers that I liked this week? Well, let's just run down the whole gamut:
Jesse- No. Just, no.
Jay- the three flower puffs are bad. What woman wants those in those spots?
Christiane- there's a reason she went home. Bad fabric, poor construction, poor taste.
Ben- Meh. I like the "comic book" design okay, but think the fabric choice was wrong.
Anthony- Ick! Old lady fabric plus that extra hip? Bad bad bad.
Janeane Marie- I like this outfit and styling a lot. I think she did great for starting over completely in the 11th hour. The crybaby act, however needs to stop.
Jesus- a leather full-length evening gown with halter neck piece? Let's call it "S & M Lite."
Jonathan- Love this dress- the bodice, back, and belt are fantastic, but the skirt is a bit on the short side for me.
Amy- Strange poofs of fabric, plus that weird boob thing. No, thank you.
Maya- another big poofy thing attached in an unflattering place. WTF?
Mila- nothing exciting, just some nice separates with a bit of retro flair.
Pamela- hot pink mess of volume meets poor styling choices. And the back of the dress was all wrong.
Ping- I like this outfit quite a bit. Would I wear it? No, but its interesting and unlike anything else going on.
Seth Aaron- punk/rockabilly? Um, no. No.

Last notes: I'd really like the big ruffle in various shapes and sizes trend to go away. Four different designers had these fabric appendages, and none of them made them work. Oy.

In other news, I received notification that I was accepted to the graduate degree program I applied to. YAY! So, now I'm a grad student at the University of Illinois. Tuition donations can be sent to my PayPal account...

And lastly, my New Year's Resolutions (because I make lots of them every year, hoping that at least one will be accomplished): 1) learn to play golf (seriously); 2) run faster; 3) get rid of clutter; and 4) cook more for family & friends. I also promise to keep my blog updated more frequently than I have in the past few months, okay? Have a great week!