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.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Assistant: Giving aide. Auxillary.

Our Spanish T.A., Teacher's Assistant, is in Monterey, California and has an Argentine accent. His 'yo' sounds like 'zsho' and every Saturday at 6pm my time, 12 pm in New York and 9 am on the West Coast, he leads us in 45 blissful minutes of oral practice: hablamos en espanol!!!!!

This weekend my Human Development paper was on designing a preschool program for three to five year olds! Heaven. Writing 1800 words on the perfect beginning for little people in a loving, healthy, inspirational world where art and music and yoga are as important as maths and geography and computer science was so much fun! Right down to the very detail of wooden floors, a vegetable garden and wind vane in the back and the foot flush toilet (to avoid germs!)!!!!


Happy Birthday to me

I will be 51 on Thursday.

I speak two languages and am learning a third.
I live in a charming city in Tuscany and have many jobs I really adore.
I have a nice relationship with my sister, niece and her daughters, my aunts and cousins and my friends manage to love me, too.
I am healthy.
I am happy.
I am Martin's best friend and he is my best friend.
This is sacred Sunday and the sheets are clean, there is fresh fruit and veg in the kitchen and the bells outside are ringing, along with my windchimes. The birthday vine Jennifer gave me for my 45th birthday is blooming tiny, delicate violet flowers.
I have money in the bank, a 4.0 gradepoint average and when I dream, I dream of my travels and sometimes I am flying over Paris or Istanbul.
Marty and I lived in Greenwich Village one summer... and I have celebrated 50 birthdays so far. Wonderful.
Happy Birthday to me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Focus: Narrowing concentration.

This has been an especially challenging time for me.

I have lost a bit of perspective on work projects that have sucked my energy and my school load is particularly demanding this semester.

Each task holds a certain weight and sometimes I tend to give too much weight to some.

I am learning to focus on what is important to me and leave the rest. I am trying to let go of the stuff I cannot change or affect change on, remembering the things that give me wings and hold promise.

The reading (and writing) I am doing in Human Development is soooooo interesting and I love curling up with Martino, my big, fat text, soft number 4 pencil and notebook. I feel so comfortable in that place!

Spanish is a real trip and I love our Elluminate Saturdays, chatting with our T.A. who lives in Monterey, California and connecting with the students on the East Coast. It is really cool.

I think now is the time for updating my Name It and Claim It Project from September 2009:
I intend to work more with my training agency as an instructor in business English (I earn more per hour in these courses).
I am indeed working even more with my training agency and this has challenged me in so many ways. I am dealing with issues of leadership, communication and self/peer evaluation, in some ways, for the very first time. I am not gonna lie. Sometimes it is a drag. The lesson is to learn the lesson and so, I am always looking for the lesson!

AND I intend to work near home (=less commuting by bus to companies outside my immediate neighbourhood).
I am happy to say that this has come to pass and it is one of the best things about this year.

And, more work with my training agency means I will take less private students,
I continue to turn down students. I am actually working tons of hours as it is and combined with school, I need to achieve some balance in this area.







We make the world with our thoughts.

Imagine a world where everyone follows their bliss.

P.S. I love Joseph Campbell

Thursday, February 4, 2010

!Buenas noches, chicos!

!Son las dos de la manana y estudio espanol!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spanish at one am...

Last night I set my alarm at one am to be able to participate in an oral practice with my Spanish professor on Elluminate, a fabulous live exchange in real time technology used at ESC. Real time in New York: 7 pm.

You can 'raise' your hand, 'applaud' (which I did, when one of the students said he was running a theatre in Brooklyn and studying for a degree in Arts Mangament. How cool is that!) and give a 'sad face' or 'thumbs down' gesture if you are lost or, just simply disapproving, using the icons on the panel controls.

There is a white board where el profesor scribbles and draws, outlining the construction of Spanish sentences and a message system to type in questions or comments as you go.

Considering the hour, I was a little slaphappy but managed a few cool phrases like,

el gusto es mìo and estupenda.

Please note that the accent on mìo is going in the wrong direction, but I am using my Italian keyboard for I am too lazy to get out the little chart that gives ALT commands to spelling in Spanish as well as those crazy, upside down question marks and exclamation points.

Of all the things I have studied so far, my brain wants to resist language. That is why I never really learned to read music proficiently or speak Italian, for that matter. Or do well in mathematics. These are all languages and I resist patterns which are different or foreign or organised strangely or where I have to learn completely new alphabets.

Oh, hey, that is not entirely true. I learned the cyrillic alphabet with gusto (not gusto) and ease back in the days of studying Russian. Hmmm, maybe I need to rethink this thing about not being good at language...

Off to break some patterns.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Development: The act or process of growing or progressing.

I am taking Human Development and Spanish. Second semester at ESC.

Spanish is challenging me. The Romance languages are difficult. All that Latin, ya know.

Enjoying the reading and lectures in the Life Span course on Development.

My dog is a saint. He faithfully sits next to me while I study-even if he would prefer to play B-A-L-L.

Here is to the development of my brain.