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


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


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.


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.

Class of 2001: Highschool reunion musings

My 10 year highschool reunion is tonight and tomorrow-I went to an all girl’s highschool in Memphis, and we are co-celebrating with our “brother” all boy’s school from down the street. Tonight is an event at my classmate’s house for the girls and some of our teachers, and tomorrow is the bar get together in downtown Memphis.

I’m mixed feelings-I think I’m 60/40 sad about not being there. On the 60% side: It would be great to see some of the girls I haven’t seen in years, or more than a year even. Since the dawn of Facebook, I’ve pretty much kept up with everyone with an account, either personally or ambiently. I graduated with 67 girls, and have been able to find those who left over the four years as well. I have two highschool friends I keep up with on a regular basis, and others every now and then. Yes, social media has helped. It’s made face to face meetings a little awkward, too, sometimes. How do you wrap up ten years of your life in a five-ten minute conversation, and then quickly go on with your day or night? I also worked with a few classmates in my previous job(which was the highschool), so I was always around to hear alumnae news.

The 40% part–I work myself up for something to be great in my head(Romy and Michelle anyone?), and then it just deflates very, very quickly. Very anticlimactic to the point that I don’t want it anymore. But, I do want it…but, then I glance over to my overflowing bookbag of homework, assignments, meetings to book, and laundry to do over in the corner of my room…

Majority of my classmates are married, with children, or married with children. I’m not. I feel that I am much different than I was ten years ago. Will I look back in 10 years and wish I had been there? I have no idea. I know it’s one of those life passages-a reunion-and it’s supposed to be a special, sacred thing. Most blow it off.

I still can’t believe it’s been ten years. The school has changed, but the upstairs hallway that houses a lot of the classrooms really hasn’t. Smells are still the same. A few of the same teacher faces.

Just older. Like us. We are approaching a new decade in a year in age(our 30s…shit).

How did that happen so quickly? I didn’t realize it that time was going to so fast in college, and now here I am, staring at 29 in a few weeks, and I’m in a new city, a new life.

Congrats on ten years, class of 01. Hope yall have a memorable time.

Shakespeare on Park Avenue

On Mother’s Day this past weekend, I spent time with my family and then headed to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in East Memphis to see a staged performance of Romeo and Juliet with Elizabeth. We both commented that this may be our very first time seeing the performance live-it was well worth sitting on hard chairs. The Tennessee Shakespeare Company were our hosts and they certainly used all the elements the Dixon offered–the roof of the museum, the South Lawn, and incorporated the funeral procession of Juliet with the audience as the “town.” I saw parts of the gardens that I didn’t realized existed. It was a relaxing evening that I needed after a quick trip to Boone, NC for my master’s graduation.

I highly recommend seeing anything the company performs-they are pro-theater education for youth and teenagers and have workshops and camps to help mold young thespians. The picture above shows the tomb scene with Romeo discovering Juliet…and you know the rest.