Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gratitude: Thankfulness; appreciation.

I am grateful for my brain. That it can reason through university texts on gender and human development and history.
I am grateful for my body. That it can walk and stretch and see and breathe and digest and eliminate and pump blood and taste and smell.
I am grateful for my heart. That it can love and forgive.
I am grateful for my family, friends, students and colleagues.
I am grateful for my adopted country and my country of birth and for the fragile blue planet we inhabit.
I am grateful for the time in which I live and all the lessons it offers.
I am grateful for all of the little animals who have kept me company from Duffy to Mary, and, I am so very grateful for my tiny dog, who is the epitomy of love.
I am grateful for the courage I possess and for the travels I have embarked upon; for my philosophy of life and for my sense of what is right for me.
I am grateful for art and beauty.
I am grateful for my professors, past and present; for my mentors.
I am grateful for being grateful. For every smile and big laugh. For every dream and dreamer. For this day. For believing. For my life.

One year ago I was starting school. Now I have 26 credits and a 4.0. I am grateful.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book: A set of written, printed, or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers.

I cannot express the excitment of receiving my books for my next semester! The ESC bookstore is so cool. They ship UPS and I track the delivery up to the minute my buzzer rings!

Today I ran downstairs in my pjs and opened up the carton box...

I am taking a MONSTER course in September called 'Images of Women in Western Civilisation'. It is an upper level class with some of the juiciest books:
"Women, Art and Society"
"Women's Work"
"Where the Girls Are: Growing up Female With the Mass Media" (I wish I had written that one)
"Goddesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity"

Then, my 'Art Through The Humanities' class is going to be delicious.
"Art of Being Human"
"Writing About The Humanities"

Lastly, I will revisit my concentration in major by taking the second semester of Spanish!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cultural: Of, or relating to, a culture or civilisation

I am creating my degree plan.
What does that mean? It means that at ESC the student is expected to literally build their own degree, brick by brick, course by course, semester by semester.
It is a process so involved that you have to take a course to do it: Planning and Finalising Your Degree. I am researching what a Bachelor's is, figuring what classes I need to satisfy the general requirements, how many advanced classes to take
and how to create my Concentration, which is Spanish Language, Literature and Culture.

I have changed my B.A. from Educational Studies, to Cultural Studies.

At the end of the class, I will have constructed a Rationale Paper to present to a Committee for approval. During this voyage, my navigator is mentor Dana Henson, whom I lovingly refer to as, The Degree Fairy.

My fairy and I are forging new trails together, for my concentration in Spanish with be the very first, ever created at ESC. I have researched the Spanish language programs of several universities to come up with my own path of study which will include:
4 semesters of Spanish, Conversation, Composition, Advanced Phoenetics and Diction, Intro to Hispanic Literature, Spanish-American Lit, Methodology in Secondary Foreign Langauge Study and Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom.

To complete my Bachelor's, I can choose from any of the SUNY university departments as well as guided independent study, the Centre for Distance Learning and the ESC curriculum. It is daunting and FUN. It is creative and extremely exciting.

Inevitably, I will have a Masters of Arts in Teaching and since I plan to work in New York, I also have to incorporate the studies necessary to best prepare myself for grad work and a Teacher's Credential for the State of New York.

This is my third semester at ESC and by August I will have 28 credits and hope to have maintained my 4.0 GPA.

So, that is what I've been doin'. Working. Studying. Building my degree. Having a ball.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finals: The last examination series in an academic course

Last night was the Spanish final.

I am finished with my second semester.

I start summer school in two weeks.

I am reading the New York Times and enjoying some time to do what I wish.

I am happy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Enroll: To join.

I enrolled for my summer semester:

Sex and Gender - A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Contemporary Mathematics
Artistic Expression - A Cross-Cultural Perspective
Planning and Finalising the Degree (building my studies towards my B.A. and Masters)

I got my financial aid!

Here is a Name It and Claim It update:
I was not eligible for Pell Grants this year: I EARNED TOO MUCH MONEY THIS YEAR. Cool.

(I am grateful for the Pell Grants I received last year but prefer now to leave the Pell for others who are in need.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Purge: To rid, to clear, to free oneself from a burden.

Spring. Cleaning. Purge. Purging.

I threw out papers from 1999. Old prescriptions for HRT from my doctor at UCSD. Letters of recommendation written by Walden and Rita. I had bags and bags of paper and hauled it downstairs to recycle. And now the files are thinner and contain just enough paper not to make me crazy. I threw away warranties and receipts. I got rid of cassettes I never listen to. Today is the first day of spring. The clouds are hugging the sky.

I feel lighter. I feel light.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hal-le-lu-jah: An expression of praise.

Now what in the world. I am in bed on a Sacred Sunday morning and I say hallelujah. The gloriousness of that word. The magic of it. The way it teases the tongue into a strange dance on roof of mouth. It is magic.

I am alive. That is step one. I woke up today. Now what am I gonna do with this day?
There is the basic-ness of it. Eat for fuel. Move my body. Kiss my dog's tummy (essential as the first two).

Then, step two is to prioritise. Today is for enjoyment and for recharging. Today I do only what I want to do. No appointments are taken. There will be no obligations.

I will study. This I know. And I do it willingly. What a revelation. It is fine and sacred to read the chapter on middle childhood and to recognise the difference between Erikson, Piaget and Bandura's theories on the congnitive, the concrete, the mastery of skill. I will also build my Spanish vocabulary and listen to the irregular verbs that when conjugated take a dipthong sound and completely change. I will struggle to write in Spanish. Not because I do not know what to say, but because I am using an Italian keyboard on an Italian computer and this means I must put on the numbers lock and perform a series of fancy alt + combiniation of numerals to get my computer to give me one of these: á, or one of these: Ó.

I will sit and ponder. And watch a film that I have downloaded using the amazing technology that is now at my fingertips. This morning I watched 'Nursery University', a documentary on the struggle to get your preschooler into the 'right' program in New York City. Then, after a bowl of raw oatmeal and banana, I watched 'Bird by Bird', Anne Lamont's story of resurrection and the writer. This inspires me to write this entry. It also reminds me that I want to finish my book. And so I will.

I spend a few minutes on visualisation and breathing. Yes, I do. Yes, I can. Yes, I will.

I spend a lot of time dozing off and the Kindle slips from my hands and falls onto the pillow, goes to sleep itself, until I awaken it by sliding the button to the right.

There is a Wall that surrounds my city and Mart and I pay her a visit. We cruise to the music of bicycle brakes and kids' iPods blasting and a little traffic down below the balluardo. I breathe some more while Martin chases his red ball. He cannot see the colour. And that makes me think about what the world looks like to him.

This morning the electricity was off for several hours and my fresh drink sits unblended in the glass pitcher, blood orange, parsley, pear and apple, chunks of ginger fill my lovely kitchen with a spicy perfume...and I am reminded that there are a lot of people without electricity or potable water. And then I fight with the guilt. And decide to be grateful, more grateful. More breathing.

Kissing Martin's tummy, I sing him a little song about Sacred Sunday.

Happy Monday, Happy Tuesday, Happy Wednesday, Thursday, too.
Happy Friday, Happy Saturday, Sacred Sunday, I love you.

Dear Friends,
It was Annie who wrote that storytelling reveals our humanity. That is what the blog can be. What Facebook can be. It is the modern version of storytelling. And I gladly share my story with you.

Happy Sacred Sunday. Happy to be here.