Some of my Favorite Things


Here’s some new things I’m currently loving at the moment:

Buddhism/Meditation

I tried to get into Meditating last year when a lot of stress was making me crazy (some would even say I was cray cray). And it worked; I cooled off a lot and found some peace within myself. But then life got crazy. I found myself single and then traveling in Europe. Then I did a teaching college internship; then I was in a new relationship. Now, I’m working on a Master’s Thesis and a new healthy lifestyle.

Whoahhhh. Slow down. Even writing that paragraph made me anxious and stressed.

It’s safe to say two things. 1) I got too busy and stressed to remember to meditate, and 2) stress is a major road block for me–daily/weekly. My brother Shawn has learned to not send me texts saying he needs to talk to me later because I freak out (this happened when him and Diane were getting hitched).

Remember this is my year of FOCUS and get things done! So, I did some guided meditations off YouTube yesterday and ordered a few books from the local Alsip Public Library. I also grabbed some books on Buddhism to read up on as I’ve been interested in the philosophy of Buddhism for a while as well.

Torchlight 5K – June 21, 2012

I am a sucker for a Groupon deal, and I couldn’t pass up the deal for the Chicago Torchlight 5K. The only reason I haven’t signed up for 10 races in the next year is the entry fee’s. I am a grad student after all. Just be glad I’m not eating out of a can of beans everyday!

I’m excited about this race since my last 5K wasn’t the greatest experience. I say that because I was sick and coughing. I don’t regret it by any means, but Stina over at Running in Chucks will agree, my coughing was not a pleasantry that day.

AND FINALLY…… DRESSES

Please, please. Everybody calm down. I know this is really difficult to accept. I’ve never been much of a girly girl. I’m a book nerd and no part of me has ever cared much for fashion or clothing beyond, “I’m cold, gimme that hoodie.”

But, I bought this beautiful dress for my friend Stephanie’s wedding. I’m excited to wear it and feel like a girl and get dolled up.

Funny story about Stephanie. I called her yesterday to change up my hair appointment. You see, Stephanie is my high school pal who does my hair and is responsible for me looking halfway decent for the last eight years.

I called to change my appointment to attend the Chicago Cultural Center‘s lecture/discussion: First Friday Lecture : James Joyce’s Ulysses, a Human Work for Humans. If you don’t know what that is, let’s just say it makes me a HUGE nerd.

So, we were chatting a bit and making decisions about hanging out and doing social stuff. Then, BAM, “Hey Col, I kinda gotta let you go. We’re sort of raiding right now.”

Nerds stick together.

~COL

Wanderlust


It may be counterproductive to my yearly theme: FOCUS. But, I can’t help but have the wanderlust stirring in me. It happened last year, and well, you all know what happened. I took my income tax return and bought a plane ticket for a five week trip.

I will say that it was worth every moment. I’ve decided that every other year is a travel year. I sunk my income tax return into a private loan, which also paid off that loan. I don’t regret the lessening of my debts, but I do fancy another trip some time very soon.

I’ve been researching some TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) programs. They aren’t super cheap so it takes a little saving so you can get the certification and get settled with a job. But, every person that I know who’s participated in one either hasn’t come home STILL (looks at Gavin Collier dramatically) or swears on their life that it was the greatest thing they ever did.

Seems kind of like something a crazy person would do. Finally finish a Masters Degree and disappear to teach English abroad (which doesn’t require the Master’s degree). Well take your nay saying elsewhere! This blog is about being positive and funny! The other option is to just travel on my own to Tasmania, Australia to see Ellen, or arrange a trip to Asia and meet Ellen there.

While either option is plausible, I do like to still think about and plan the TEFL route. (I know, this post is so far from my yearly theme of Focus but my head is in my clouds this crazy stressful week). It keeps me sane to plan and think about greater and more exciting things than I’m currently stressed about. So here’s the question. What program would I join? Well the options include multiple cities.

Prague, Czech Republic:

Madrid, Spain:

Phuket, Thailand:

Tokyo, Japan:

Kolkata, India:

Florence, Italy:

And to be honest, there’s more… many more. But these are the top choices. Honestly, I want to visit everywhere, so I really wouldn’t be disappointed if I ended up elsewhere.

It’s been a crazy stressful week, and I’ve got a 22 page paper due (draft due on Sunday). So, I needed something positive to think about. I tend to be overly negative when the going gets rough. But I’ll get through the end of the semester. Then, I’ll get through writing my thesis. Then I’ll have some good quality time to myself!

~COL

is the semester over with?


That’s a serious question. Can it be done now?

I may not have been specific enough here about where I am at with school. I am in the final stages of getting my Master’s Degree. I am taking my last elective class this Spring 2012 Semester and finalizing my research thesis in the Fall.

This final elective has been one of the best classes I’ve had in graduate school. My schoolmates are all very talkative and discussions are very productive and fun. So, that’s it. I got to write a 22 page final paper for this course and then buckle down on my thesis.

I’m this close to: ARE WE THERE YET? ARE WE THERE YET? ARE WE THERE YET?

I regret to say I’m not farther in my thesis because this elective course has been very heavy on reading and the total page count is rather high. But I’m so close, I can taste it. So what does a Master’s Thesis taste like? Absolutely nothing. I just made that up.

While I’d like to say that I’ve kept up on my health goals for the year, I cannot lie to my blog. Eating out at restaurants has become more frequent, and our meal planning way less strict. As for fitness, I’ve managed to keep a weekly strength training session (hardcore 60 minutes) and 1-2 runs a week.

I’m proud that I’ve continued this and will do my best til the end of the semester. But since things have slacked a lot, I plan to have Mayhem May Monthly Goals or some ridiculously named thing like that.

The stress of a school semester makes life difficult. There is so much going on that I feel like I’m missing out or that there’s never enough time during the week. Danny boy is a big help especially when my crabbiness is crazy from stress. I also got to chat with Ellen for an hour. She’s the Australian friend I made in Galway, Ireland last year.

Just the thought of visiting Ellen in Australia or meeting her to tour Asia makes me smile. I miss traveling and really can’t wait for the chance to do it again. I just need to remember the seasons in Australia are switched and their summer is in January! I’ve also gotten great news from a few friends and can’t wait to celebrate their happiness. But more on that later!

~Col

Ups and Downs of Wednesday


I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve blogged or done something new on here. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t. I’m approaching the part of the semester where I want throw my books into a big pile and start a blaze of glory.

Which brings me to introducing my new page! The Banned Book Challenge!

I’ve always wanted to put together a list of Banned Books and read through them like I haven’t already secured a spot for myself in hell. The idea came back to me recently while reading and preparing a class presentation on Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith.

I couldn’t commit myself enough to this challenge to give myself a timeline. If you want to know why… well, I’m writing a 40-50 page Master Thesis so bugger off! I just plan to read them and cross them off as I get to them. Some of the items on the list are crossed off because I read them previously.

While I’d love to continue on the subject of Banned Books, I can’t ignore this news story. It’s the story of Howard Morgan. A man who was shot by the police 28 times and lived. The problem is that Morgan was tried for Murder. He was acquitted of some charges and the attempted murder charge (because the police officers who shot him claimed he opened fire on them first) was deadlocked by the jury. So, the state recharged him and got a new jury that would convict.

Now, I am very deeply upset about the Trayvon Martin case that has been all over the media. But what about Howard Morgan. Evidence that would have been necessary for most jury’s to find him guilty was destroyed or never presented. It appears the state has found a way to charge a man even with lots of reasonable doubt, and the news media has hardly even discussed this. What’s more, he was legally carrying his weapon and never got tested for gun shot residue which would have proved he shot at the officers.

They’ve started a petition for this case, and I encourage everyone to sign it and spread word of it.

~Col

PS- No Books were burned or hurt in the process of writing this blog. However, my faith in our justice system got a little smaller.