Graduate School: Almost the End


I made it to the Burlington airport about two hours early for my flight today. I overestimated how long it would take to get up, finish cleaning up my place, and make it out the door to run a quick errand before I get something to eat at a coffee shop and to the airport.

I have time on my hands to people watch and to reflect over the last semester. I feel like I ran another race this fall with my four classes, my small teacher assistantship(which really was more of printer paper refilling than actually helping students), and prepping for my thesis work. One of my classes, Collaborative II, was a continuation from my summer Collaborative I class and it was my first time to work with a client for over seven months. It was a lot of work, time, meetings, planning, and a super big presentation in late November. I feel confident that we impacted the group of stakeholders who attended and would love for the project to receive funding, but I want nothing to do with it for four months. I learned to let go of expectations, and just push forward. Focus on myself. Prepare for my future.

Flying home to Memphis this Christmas time may be different that last year, possibly because I don’t know the next time I’ll be in Tennessee. I hope to see people I haven’t seen in months and talk to my grandmother as much as possible. My thesis may get some attention(I definitely need to do interviews), but I also just want to watch the 200 channels my parents have on their TV, eat barbecue, and see Les Miserables.

These next ten days will be a change of pace, and I guess I need it. Merry Christmas all.

Here are some crazy cool things I found on the interwebs:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Thrift Store”

John Lewis is a English store that apparently does really great commercials. Here’s their Christmas ad from 2011.

Courtesy of my sister who posted this on her Facebook via Lisa Congdon

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Did y’all catch this photo of cast of The Princess Bride 25 years later?

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An entire Tumblr dedicated to everything Christmas.

Probably the most honest statement made about the Newtown, CT tragedy.  It’s not just a gun control issue, but also a mental health issue.

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Turning 30 Years old


Well, I made it.

I’m thirty years old.

30.

The big 3-0.

I really don’t believe it, but my new Vermont license says so. I knew this birthday was going to be hard in a few ways, but mainly because I still have that nagging feeling of “is this right?” Is this how my life path was supposed to go? Did I make a wrong turn or a wrong decision somewhere back there in my twenties? What if I took that leap and continue seeing that guy after one date-would I be settled down? Or would I have settled? Someone told me a few weeks ago that I don’t look like I should be turning 30. How are we supposed to look like? Or be? I have no idea as I’ve never been this age before. I’ve been steering clear of those “30 Things Women Should Know by 30” magazine entries because they are bullshit. It was easy to bleed over from 19 into 20-not a big difference. But, I certainly noticed how I’ve aged in 5 year increments. Mentality, emotionally, physically I can tell. My twenties are gone, and I am happy to stuff them in my memory and pull out one or two when I feel like it. But, hot damn, they are done.

I have had a vice grip on the idea that time is running out. Yet, things haven’t really started. Which is pretty much the story of my life. I’ve been in neutral for years, expecting people to make decisions for me, give me the green light and stamp of approval or just daydream of a better life, a better something. Never I did I realize that I HAD the keys to the kingdom the entire time. Long time coming.

So, here’s what I am promising to myself. Always have those keys in my hand and move forward. I have really great intuition, and I need to trust it more.

Trust. Strength. Curiosity. Clarity. Love. Adaptability. These I desire and I hope to receive.

As my thesis for graduate school takes shape, I’ll probably be blogging less. I’m ready for winter, to be holed up in my apartment, to be more introspective, and hopefully churn out a successful paper and art piece. I hope so. I hope so. I hope so.

Thirty years…go by in a blink.

Memphis in May Music Fest-or how I saw Gavin Rossdale finally.


As I’ve mentioned, I came home last week to not only see friends, but to go to Memphis in May’s Beale Street Music Fest. I guess my body had become acclimated to the New England coolness because I got super overheated within forty five minutes of walking around Tom Lee Park. Water wasn’t helping. I had that feeling in my head and stomach that this day was not going to end well. I ate some barbecue, drank some sugary ice tea, and tried to find shade in the 90 degree heat(along with every other music goer). Everyone moved super slowly like we were walking through water.

Yet, I rallied. I rallied because this band came to town.

Seeing Bush was a check off my list of bands to see in my life. Since I bought “Sixteen Stone” in 1994, I have been a fan of their music and lead singer Gavin Rossdale. I could not stop smiling throughout the set. Everyone around me seemed to be in my age bracket and sang a long to almost all of the words. Great experience.

The sun went down, and if I could have beamed myself back to my parent’s house I would have done so. I could barely walk, and needless to say, I was driven home, and promptly drank Gatorade…I KNEW this was going to happen, oddly, earlier in the week, yet didn’t really prepare. I had a day to recover, and traveled back uneventfully to Burlington for the beginning of my summer classes. I won’t be back in Memphis until Christmas, so I was happy to have this small window of eating BBQ, drinking great water, and seeing the Mississippi at sunset.

I start classes on May 15th-four classes, and a fellowship. It’s going to be a wild ride.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I left the City of Good Abode for the Queen City.

Memphis: It’s like riding a bike: traveling home and rememberance


I traveled back to Memphis between spring and summer classes. It was a decision I made quickly in March when I heard a friend in Colorado was going to be in town at same time and I wanted to see friends who had lost a dear family member.
Two nights after I flew home, I asked my dad to help retrieve my mother’s barely used bike from the garage. It was a surprise Christmas gift in 2010 that many Memphians gave with the new Greenline newly opened. Anyway, he pumped some air into the tires, adjusted the seat, and I got on.

It jolted me back to my bike riding days on Redfearn Cove in East Memphis. Yes, I’ve taken some spin classes at the local gym, but this was different. I wobbled and didn’t pedal at first. But, I found my balance and rode around our little neighborhood for about twenty minutes.

Bike riding was something I did with the neighborhood kids and my sister, but also begrudgingly with my dad who tried to teach me to ride. It took forever to learn, but now I know I was on schedule. As I got older, the bikes got jammed into the garage with dust gathering–and I moved on.

Ever reflect on certain times in life-maybe childhood, maybe highschool, or a great trip, or a horrible job and say-did that really happen? I’ve had a lot of those thoughts lately about my 29 years. Are they memories I created that happened or just stories told over and over or pictures I’ve seen countless times?

My trip home was like that evening on the bike–wobbling between friends who are creating their own lives without me sharing a lot of it, balancing adulthood and riding in circles around the questions and concerns my parents have for my future.

I know I need to keep peddling forward with my head high, a firm grip, and the wind in my hair.

Summer is coming and I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Graduate School: 14 Weeks


I am sitting in an art studio listening to the undergraduates in my elective painting class wait for our professor to go over grades, our body of work, and a quick chit chat about our feelings about the past semester. I was second in line because…I was second to arrive. This is my last class of the semester, one day later than my other classmates in my cohort. I realized as I finished up my three measly page paper about my final painting AND the final painting at 10:45am this morning(class began at 2:45EST) that I could have done the assignment yesterday. Or two weeks ago when it was assigned.

But, I didn’t. So there’s that.

Most of the students around me are talking about summer plans, future life plans(some are seniors), and you can feel the air of relief inside this room. Or is it anticipation? Panic? Probably a lot of feelings.

14 weeks ago, I had no idea where the semester would take me. I took three seminar type classes, one painting class, and was let go of a fellowship project, but then added to a new, pretty exciting in-the-works project. I learned to let go of the idea of having a social life(even if it meant a movie or just getting drinks). There is no time. I learned to work with classmates with opposite personalities and work ethics and turned out a pretty awesome concept for a client in Burlington. I’ve never had to do anything like that ever, and enjoyed the prototyping experience. I lost a good person in my Memphis life in March and he has left a void in a lot of people’s lives. I had to unexpectedly move out of my “apartment” (my little room) into an almost vacant house with one other guy(whose name is Olsen of all things…) with a shitty reason from my landlord. Luckily, it’s just until the end of May and then I move into my new, cute studio. I got to see the Avett Brothers(if you haven’t been bombarded by my Facebook postings, check out my YouTube channel of them performing).

I now have two weeks to recharge. I’m going home to Memphis for a week to stuff my face, go to Music Fest, and get my life that is in my grandmother’s garage together. The parental units have offered to ship boxes to me in June–I have forgotten what I own.

After that, four classes this summer, while thinking of my thesis. A THESIS. WHAT? When did that happen?

I’ve learned to take one week at a time, and slowly learning more about Andrea and who she wants to be.