Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15th - Heather

 1.  A new keyboard and case for my ipad.  My old little (cheap) clam shell keyboard decided it no longer wanted to type the letter T.  As the letter is one of the most common letters used, I thought it best to look for a new keyboard.  A few months ago when I was looking for a new case, the ones that included keyboards and allowed the ipad to sit both in portrait and landscape only came in black....I'm not that severe of a person.  So when I saw a case that did everything I wanted and came in colors, I was a bit excited.  It came in the mail Friday and I'm enjoying it very much.  Once inspiration strikes, I'll be able to whip out my thesis with quick, smooth key strokes....and yes that inspiration can strike any time now...I am facing a deadline after all.

2.  That my mom purchased the aforementioned new keyboard case for me.  :)

3.  I'm also very thankful that she has been been willing to gift me with the funds for my class ring for graduation.  It's slightly surreal to think about purchasing a class ring and graduation announcements, but they have been ordered and should arrive in about a month.  I'm so excited!

4.  Spring break.  I'm not traveling to any exotic locale...but it will be nice to have a week without classes in which to (hopefully) catch up on my writing while still getting some sleep at night.  I know, it's a crazy notion.

5.  Google Drive.  I know it will not replace Word or Pages any time soon.  But I love being able to get to whatever I'm writing or working on no matter what computer or tablet I'm logging on from. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11th - Heather

On campus today, there was a canvas labyrinth set up for anyone to walk through. Below are 5 of my meditative thoughts and reflections from walking the labyrinth. The first three are thoughts that percolated during my walk and the last two are responses to questions posed for reflection afterwards.

1. As I began walking the labyrinth, I thought of my journey through life, the way my life goals build on what’s come before. The path, like the labyrinth, isn’t a straight line, but it is continuously connected. Only I know all the bends my path has taken, and, like the labyrinth, you can’t always see the bend that’s coming up next. The path doesn’t always lead you where you think it will, but it does deliver you to where you should be.

2. On my walk there was a young woman walking the labyrinth as well. She began after me and at the point we would have met she looked around her and jumped sideways to the path she thought would lead her directly to the center. It did not. Instead of following the path, she jumped again and reached the center. After reaching the center she jumped off the labyrinth. Maybe she achieved her goal faster than I did. Maybe she didn’t have enough time. But it made me wonder about the things we miss out on because we’ve convinced ourselves to change course.

3. Along my walk I also came upon some candle wax that had been spilled along the way by another walker. I began to think about how the experience would be different at night and by the light of a sole candle. I’ve always loved candlelight. When I was a child I secretly wished for the power to go out so we could light all of the candles. It’s always just seemed magical to me somehow.

4. What words, symbols, feelings, or sounds best express what occurred? Calm.  Peaceful.  Tall trees and green grass.  Birds chirping.  Squirels scattering.  The feeling of calm entering the labyrinth is interesting. I also feel as though the labyrinth should be bigger so that there is room to do a few yoga asanas when you reach the center. There's just something about the meditative nature of the labyrinth that makes me want to do yoga. The only sound in the room was the shuffle of the cuff of my pants against the canvas pathway.

5. What happened inside of me as I walked today? I stood a little straighter. I pondered a little harder. I was more aware of my breathing and the speed at which I walk. I was more comfortable with the twists and turns the journey of my life has taken. I've always believed in the idea that we are each in the right place at just the right time...and that sometimes we have no clue as to why. I know why I am where I am in this moment. And I caught just the quickest glance of where I'm going, at which point the path curved and the labyrinth reminded me that I'm not there yet and that I should focus on the steps right in front of me.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9th - Heather

1.  Impromptu lunch with a coworker.  It was nice to eat lunch away from my desk!

2.  Warmer weather...even though it's really depressing overall to think of 25 degrees (still 7 degrees below the freezing point) as "warm".

3.  The small boost in confidence gleaned from scanning over the jobs that Linked In thinks I'm qualified to apply for...this could be some really handy info as the grant wraps up in the near future.

4. A rekindled infatuation with Words with Friends.  So fun!

5.  This little face looking at me, ready for bed.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 7th - Heather

Happy New Year!  I hope you welcomed 2014 safely and warmly!  My life is full of distractions (namely this pesky little masters thesis thingy) and while I haven't been very good about posting my 5 things everyday, I have much to be thankful for as the holiday season winds to an end and the bitter winds of winter make the weather outside something well beyond frightful.  Here's what's topping my list today of the many things I'm thankful for:

1.  My car is paid off!!!!  I'm so excited about this.  Financial woes be what they may, two job hunts, and three jobs later (more if second jobs are included)....and my car is fully paid for!  I'll get the title in a few weeks and I kind of want to frame it!  This isn't my first car, it's my second.  But it is my first new car!  Now I can say that every mile on the odometer is mine and it's paid off!!!!  I kind of feel like a bratty toddler dancing and screaming "It's mine! It's mine! It's mine, mine, MINE!" 

2.  Electricity!  As mother nature is doing her best to cryogenically freeze me (without the cryogenics), I'm thankful for the electricity that powers the heaters, blankets and tea kettles.  I can honestly say that I never thought I would see temperatures this cold in my life.  The low last night was around -17 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 50 degrees below the freezing point) with wind chills in the -40's.  The high today is 0 which we'll reach for about an hour before the mercury plunges back into negative territory.  And it breaks my heart to know that there are people and animals out there without electricity or working furnaces.

3.  A full length mirror.  This may sound like a very odd thing to be thankful for.  But it's something I've shied away from buying for years.  I joke that if I can't see it, it doesn't exist.   And I've finally decided that I'm not going to make better health  and lifestyle decisions until I'm literally faced with my weight gain.  It's too easy to find clothes that fit, flatter and mask my bad decisions.  So here's to facing my fears and self in the new year!

4.  Hot chocolate, hot coffee, hot tea, hot can see the pattern here.  On this cold day, I'm thankful for the bounty of hot beverages at my disposal.  There's not a PolEx troupe singing and dancing while pouring hot chocolate into my cup...but it's piping hot nonetheless (thanks to the electric tea kettle in my office).

5.  The little Memorex speaker/docking station that my iPod plugs into.  I love it for bringing my music to life during the work day and for being pink and for having a cute little pink remote.

6.  And last, but not least, the brave and bundled student worker, Austin, who brought me my campus mail today.  I hadn't remembered he was on campus taking a winter term class and working until he strolled into my office with my mail.  I had been mentally preparing myself for the cold block and a half between my office and the mail room.  And then elation set in when I realized I didn't have to trek out in (literally) sub-zero temps today.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 31st - Heather

Many of you know that I love to feel like I've been helpful.  Sometimes that manifests in untraditional ways.  After a fire damaged the house of an aquaintence, I made sure to be a more frequent patron at her business.  After the expected passing of a friend's father, I talked to a few colleagues and we put together the funds for a spa gift card.  A trip to the spa is the last thing on someone's mind after a loved one passes, but I knew she had spent several of the preceding months caring for her sick father and her husband and her children and working a full time job...I felt like she needed some peaceful time to feel pampered. 

The point is that the ways in which I find to be helpful are sometime a little unconventional.  But I hate feeling heartbroken for someone and not being able to do anything to help them.  And while the things that I do aren't earthshattering, major things, I like to think that they bring some small level of comfort or reassurance to the person in question.  Halloween is an odd day to feel especially thankful for anything in particular...but over the course of the past few days a few unexpected opportunites to be helpful have presented themselves.

1.  While I'm getting craftier...I've never really considered myself crafty.  A few weeks ago, my mom started telling me that she needed to think of a Halloween costume for work since the staff were encouraged to dress up.  My mother has never dressed up in a costume for Halloween this was a bit to overcome for her.  The parameters were that the costume should be rooted in one of four decades: the 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's.  Being a fan of the 80's and the Wedding Singer, my mind when straight to Holly and the 80's jewelry and lace, funky hair and blue eye shadow. 

My mom was not jazzed about this idea.  But, to humor me, we had started buying a few key pieces of jewelry.  Then we went to dinner.  There was  young girl dressed in a Twister costume and I looked at mom and said, we could make that!  And so we did.  When I got home from class last night, she was still elbow high in iron-on pieces that weren't working and Sharpie paint to fill in the letters that the craft iron would not successfully transfer.  I was able to help her finish her costume last night and get up early this morning to help her with her makeup (I still got the blue eyeshadow in there)!

2.  The reaction of coworkers to the crocheted hats I (in conjuction with coworkers, family and friends) have been working on.  A colleague was so appreciative when I was willing to make a hat for her friend who is journeying through life with breast cancer.

3.  There was a group of students facilitating small service projects on campus today.  When I saw "write a letter to a soldier" on the list of activities (on Halloween) I was reminded of playing with my dad's Army camo face paint as a small child.  I knew that I had to go write a letter to a soldier.  I shared that story and that I used to wait until my dad fell asleep to get out my mom's crazy palette of 100 eye shadow colors and "paint" my dad's face like the Ultimate Warrior.  I hope it makes someone smile when they read it.  It made me smile remembering it.

And on a much more light-hearted note...
4.  Starting tomorrow I'll officially be insane....if there are still one or two of you out there not yet convinced of my insanity.  I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year.  This will be my second attempt at the National Novel Writing Month compettion.  Yes, amongst the full time job, thesis writing and crazy queue of crochet projects, I will be attempting to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  Check back here periodically during the month to see how many days in November I'm thankful for having reached my daily goal of 1667 words!

5.  I just found out today that my corrections for my second chapter of my thesis aren't due until December instead of the middle of November!  Best news ever!  Now I just have to crank out chapter 3 in the next few days (yes, for those paying attention, as I start my NaNoWriMo word counts, I'll also be writing one of my thesis chapters)!  Needless to say, friends and family, if you see me staring intently into the eyes of my computer screen AND typing at a feverish pace...don't break the mojo.  If, however, I'm just staring blankly at my computer might want to throw something at my head and tell me to keep writing!!!  :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oct 23rd - Heather

I created a comic of the five things I'm thankful for today.  Until I get this figured out a little better, you can view my comic here:

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7th, 2013 - JJ

1. For weekends. They're really the best!! It's nice to have time to do fun things and get chores and projects done and still be able to relax.  

2. For good movies. We went and saw Gravity this weekend and it was SO intense! It is amazing the things they can do on film these days! I highly recommend going to see it, but also scheduling in time for a nap afterward because you will be tired after stressing out for two hours in the theater.

3. For a tidy house. Not clean, but tidy. Don't look too close. Just glance and notice that things are put away, counters and tables are cleared, and clutter is minimal. But don't go in the guest room or the garage or the closets. 

4. My Halloween coffee cup. Makes me happy.

5. That Derick is not home right now, because I definitely turned the heat on this morning. If I have to work from home, which means I'm sitting down and not moving at all, I'm going to be comfortable, darn it! 

6. On that note, I'm thankful that it's finally cold outside. I wasn't really thankful for this when I took Ripley out this morning wearing sandals and my pajamas, but I'm thankful for it now that I'm inside with the heat on, thinking about which scarf and which boots I'm going to wear today. :)

7. For friend time. My social calendar has been surprisingly full the last few weeks and it's been so nice to connect with friends. I'm starting to feel like I could handle living in Chicago a little longer than planned if I have to.

8. That an old friend just asked for our address, because I'm pretty sure it means we're getting invited to his wedding. I wasn't sure if we'd make the guest list cut, but now that it appears we have, I'm really excited about it! Hopefully the scheduling will work out that we'll be able to make it.

9. For games. Derick and I played Catch Phrase and Boggle last night and it was hilarious and a lot of fun. :)  Happiness is wearing sweat pants in a candle lit room with music on while playing silly games and drinking pumpkin beer with your husband.

10. For warm fuzzy socks. Because the heat wasn't making my feet any less icicle like.