Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Being thankful

This blog topic could not come at a better time considering the challenges people are currently facing. I know of many who are very stressed and overwhelmed by their financial and employment issues. It is important to remember that we are all in this together and how much we have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my husband. He is a great man who is never boring and we laugh a lot together. I feel like I have a true partner and best friend to travel with through life. He is very smart and honest.

I am thankful for my mom and dad. They are the best parents I could have ever asked for and I see so much of myself in them. They made my childhood a happy one and always did the best they could in hard situations. They are smart, fun, and caring.

I am thankful for my family. I have a huge family with many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Since I am an only child my cousins are like my brothers and sisters. My family members are fun and crazy and never take themselves too seriously.

I am thankful for my girl friends! I cannot even express enough how important they are to me. I have many and have known them for 5, 10, 20, 30+ years and when I really need them they are always there. We also laugh and have fun together whenever we can.

I am thankful for my health. As I get older I realize that having your health is vital. I plan on spending the rest of my life being active and traveling and I need to be healthy for that. I am trying to do they best I can to preserve it!

I am thankful for my education. I never in a million years thought I would enjoy school this much, but I do. I love learning new things and being able to be a full time student has been a dream come true. I am already seeing a difference in the way I think, write, and interact with others.

I am very thankful for two crazy cats, a beautiful home and everything in it, and my Jeep Liberty that has four wheel drive for the winter (not that I am still not a big chicken on the road...)

Finally, I am thankful for public libraries and NASCAR racing. My two favorite diversions from the harsh realities of life. :-)

Thanks again Andy for this great topic. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Something new everyday

This has really been a great semester and I am enjoying my courses a lot. My biggest surprise so far has been Crisis in Environmental Health, which I chose because of the ECCE requirement but have really loved. We were asked to write a short paper about an environmental issue in our community, so I wrote about a boat motor company who was polluting nearby Waukegan Harbor for many years with contaminants from their plant operations. Next up is a longer research paper on the history of flooding and issues of the Des Plaines River throughout Lake County. I am really excited to work on this because I love to research and study the past and especially since I have memories of many of the old floods. I have learned so much about the field of environmental health... the big responsibilities they have, how they do so much with so little, and how they have a true passion for what they do. I have been talking about things I have learned with my friends and family and I now have a new appreciation for workers in the field. There seems to be an environmental health crisis almost daily across the country. It makes me look and think about the Southern California fires from a whole new perspective.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another great year ahead...

Can a person honestly say that they enjoy getting older? Because that is how I have been feeling since I turned thirty-seven a few weeks ago. Though I have never been the type to dread a birthday or a wrinkle, I have felt my happiness intensify recently. I feel like I am in a middle place between remembering all of the great things I have already done in my life and then getting excited while making my future plans. I love how I feel pretty 'experienced' in life but I know I still have so much more to learn. Although there is an obvious obsession with youth in our country, I still would choose the place I am at now over my life at age twenty in a heartbeat. Being younger was fun and I loved it, but for me it doesn't compare to being able to step back and say, "I feel smart and settled" and I don't have to deal with the drama of those years. I think it is a good thing to have a passion for not one or two things in life but for life itself.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Are We Scared Yet??

Wow, I just checked to catch up on the day's news and I see that the government don't-call-it-a-bailout package failed to pass in the House. In typical fashion the stock market has dropped over 700 points today. Why is it taking so long for Washington to do something about this? No solution is going to perfect of course but I believe we need some kind of hope. Is this just a normal financial cycle we are in or is this completely unprecedented? It seems like everything is getting worse and the bad news keeps coming. Is anyone else really getting worried? Or are we going to be rescued in the final minutes??

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I am learning what I love

In my fourth semester at UIS I find yet another great thing about the liberal studies degree I am pursuing - the chance to find out what subjects I really enjoy. So far my favorite courses have been Memoirs Across Cultures, Family Law, and Life-Span Psychology and I was thrilled to be able to achieve high final grades in each of those classes. There has not been any course so far that I have not enjoyed, just some that I struggled a bit more with. I really wanted to get A's in the two science courses I took but after trying my best I settled for a B+ and a B. Not bad though, I really can't complain. It just makes me realize that while I may not become a geologist I have a good shot at being a lawyer or psychologist. But wait a second... how much more schooling do those professions require?! Just kidding! :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Expect the unexpected

I try to stay as open-minded and flexible as I can in life. I am finding that as I get older this has become a little easier, but has always been challenging for me. I like to know what is ahead and plan accordingly.

Two major news stories in the past couple of days have helped me understand the "expect the unexpected" concept better, because we often have no idea what is waiting around the corner for us. With Hurricane Gustav we watched and waited for "the storm of the century" as New Orleans Mayor Nagin insisted. Luckily it did not materialize with quite that impact for the residents on the Gulf Coast. The second thing is the family issues of the Republican nomination for Vice President. I am guessing that no matter what your political affiliation or personal belief system is that is the last news anyone unexpected to hear.

It goes without saying that we should all try and live our lives one day at a time and not worry too much about what is in store for us. I heard one time that the hardest news of your life will blindside you on a random Tuesday afternoon. Please keep this in mind when you wake up tomorrow with a fresh slate and a day that is yours.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to REALITY!

I am sitting here at my laptop reading the prep for the courses I am taking this semester and thinking about how fast the summer went by. Of course I maxed out on summer courses so that may be why it seemed so short. But I can't complain because I am really enjoying soaking up all this brand new knowledge. I packed so much fun into the month of August with a road trip, hiking, Oneida casino, tour of the Miller Brewery in Milwaukee, shopping, concerts (Scorpions & Ratt and Ted Nugent), movies (Tropic Thunder, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, Mamma Mia!), and an Arlington Park afternoon of horse racing, so I really made my short break count!

But now it is time to get serious again (I guess...!) and concentrate on school. I am taking Environmental Health, Library Research Methods, The Nature of Human Nature, and Internet and American Life. I love the diversity of the Liberal Studies program, it suits me perfectly. I am excited about my courses and can't believe I will be graduating in the spring of 2009. Second to last semester is here already! And then I will have to get a job again and reality will REALLY set in!!