Tuesday, March 1, 2016

There are places I remember...

From left to right, top to bottom: Dialaeliacattleya ControversyGlareEast India YouthCoolWhat a clusterf*ckDam BearSunset from the ballparkDump No Waste - Drains to StreamBay leaves and peppercornsZ FormationWith my parents and mother-in-lawGood morning 24th & MissionLooking at the crowdFamilySew Big

It's been over a year since my last post. A lot has happened, much of which I will not share here and now, but I will note I accomplished one of my major life goals: I finally completed my undergraduate degree. I'm a proud and happy member of Cohort Z with the Class of 2015 from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). I will don my cap and gown this coming May but my degree was conferred in December. 

This time last year, I left one City agency to work at another, not long after the Spring semester began. I was not confident about my ability to juggle a full time job and a full course load but I managed. At work, I changed my schedule from 5 days/week with 8 hour days to 4 days/week with 10 hour days so I could attend Friday classes. At times, I felt so in control over what I was doing and at others, I felt so scattered and tired.

In the midst of all that activity and learning, I thought I would minimize my concert-going schedule. Nope. I attended 26 events (compared to 30 in 2014), mostly concerts, along with a play and a lecture. Many of the articles and books I was assigned to read were available electronically so I read almost everywhere, including at concerts, while waiting for the bands to start and in-between acts. I was reading all the time to keep up with the work and to be an active participant during class and within the online class forums.

I also seemed to be writing a lot. It was great to practice something that gives me great anxiety. My anxiety stems from receiving feedback on my writing, and not from the act of writing itself. Not to say I am always confident that what I write is consistently worth sharing and reading but I became more honest and forgiving of myself in my attempts to write. I was surrounded by classmates, graduate student interns, and instructors who helped me work through my drafts and ideas.

I met some of the best people anyone could ever meet, so caring, full of integrity, and wisdom. My instructors walk their talk, working beyond the classroom to help make the world a better place, one day at a time. During our class check-in sessions, especially towards the end, I couldn't help but remark how thankful I was to have gotten to know such good people and how my being there, with them, was serendipitous.

I hope to share more about last year but I'll stop for now. I have some new music to loop endlessly while I build my online map for an upcoming trip to London. I'm excited to be visiting again and hope that the weather isn't as butt-cold as it was when Eric and I visited three years ago. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

And just like that, 2014 is done!

I never meant for this blog to be where I document my year in review but I think that's been what's happening here. I'm okay with that. My blog is what it is: my collection of thoughts, happenings, and memories about anything and nothing in my life. I blog for selfish reasons, with no expectations of anyone ever reading this stuff and that's alright by me. I will continue to do with it whatever I like!

My daily doings can be found all over the internet on: twitter, Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, and flickr. I have had more interactions with people on these other platforms than I ever will have on blogger. But I have a sense of loyalty to this blog that I don't have with the others, probably because I've been here when I killed off my Friendster account for My Space which I would also eventually shut down. In case I abandon any other social media sites, blogger will always be here for me. Now, if google decides to kill blogger, I'm screwed.

Looking at my first and only public post for 2014, I managed to fulfill most of the things I wanted and planned to do. I enjoyed many concerts,  thirty altogether. There are so many great highlights I'd love to share along with a few disappointments, mainly related to the venues, none with the artists, but you can wander through my flickr site for that, though not all my photos are up for public viewing yet! For many of the shows, tickets were bought way in advance but there were a few last minute surprises I just could not pass up. Eric accompanied me to some shows, but I attended most with my niece and one or two of her friends.

I traveled more than I did in 2013, mainly with Eric to his work conferences, but we also managed a few family-related trips to Las Vegas and Columbia, South Carolina. I loved my week in Atlanta, even with the heat and humidity that bears down on the city in July. I also enjoyed my time in Park City in June when it snowed. I remember saying to Eric how Park City must be magical with snow and a half a day later, it did. It snowed! The valley from our perch (we had EXCELLENT accommodations) was beautiful under a blanket of fresh snow which all melted away by noon the next day.

All is relatively well at work. There was a bumpy start earlier this year, related to training new staff and interns. There is always room for improvement but so much of the things that I would like improved are out of my hands. There's a scene in the movie Saving Private Ryan where the captain and soldiers talk about complaining up the chain of command. I did that A LOT this year and with every email, every phone call that I complained up, I certainly felt better even if conditions haven't changed much. Knowing that I can communicate with my supervisors and director openly is a good thing.

I'm still working on Eric's blanket. Okay, so that's one thing that I'm not pushing myself hard enough to finish. But I read a book and finished it, a recommendation from someone I consider a mentor. I haven't cooked or baked as much as I would have liked until I had to roast my first turkey for my family (my side, not my in-laws) this past Thanksgiving. It turned out not bad. Eric says it was fine but I think I should have pulled it out of the oven about fifteen minutes earlier than I did.

Looking ahead to 2015, I'm going back to college to finish my bachelor's degree. I dropped out, in good-standing mind you, eighteen years ago, in the middle of my junior year. I start the spring semester next week and I'm excited and anxious. I attended an academic writing workshop a few weeks ago to give myself a taste of what will be expected of me and wow, that kicked my butt. I knew what my weaknesses were going in and they were quite confirmed by the two-day workshop.

This time, next year, I hope to be blogging about graduation and all the crazy nights and weekends I worked to earn my degree all while working a full-time job and having a life with my husband, family, and friends. I'll have to cut back on the concerts and re-focus my attention to school-related assignments instead of muck-reading. This year will be like no other year and I hope to come out of it better than going in!