“Vaguebooking”-Beachmail style.

So I just got this email in my inbox. While it’s kinda cool, I have to question what it is really for. Is just to acknowledge my 4.0 GPA? It seems so vague. Even the title cracks me up. Did Dr. Hill forget my name. “Hey there….buddy, pal, you…. nope. Outstanding Kinesiology major it is. LOL.
 
Hi outstanding graduating Kinesiology major,
 
The purpose of this note is to inform you that you will be formally recognized and honored at the Department of Kinesiology Graduate Colloquium at the Point (in the Pyramid) on Thursday, May 2nd.  There will be an social hour with food and beverages from 6-7 PM with the awards program starting at 7PM. 
 
I sincerely hope you will be able to attend to receive your award.  Your award will be presented from a faculty member in your option area.
 
Please contact me if you have any questions.
 
Dr. Hill
 
 
 
Grant Hill, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Kinesiology
California State University, Long Beach 

Randoms in my world

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So a few days Scott and I went to P.F Changs and this is what my cookies had to say. I am hoping this is a good sign because I am really struggling with the whole Thesis thing…..I need motivation and inspiration….

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Which I am getting neither of in my Physical and Motor Assessment class.  UGH. The material itself is and CAN BE really interesting, but sadly my initial excitement for this class was washed away and replaced with overwhelming boredom. Just gotta put my head down and plug through my professors boring and uninspiring lectures.

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Inspiration was indeed found by my little study buddy one night. He loved picking out the letters and sounding out words. So incredibly cute, and wow, what a smarty pants.

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So this week has been HOT AS HELL. We had 109 degrees here in parts of San Diego. And it’s mid-September!!!  I was getting in my car from school the other day and saw this crow sitting under a bush. I thought to myself “Don’t blame you buddy! Its too hot to fly”

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S0 to prove a point, my class is so exciting to its students that they watch live TV (tennis matches) during lectures. I tried really hard to not burst out laughing!

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If you have read earlier posts, I find beauty in strange places…. I just thought the structure looked cool with light and dark squares with the shadows dancing across it.

Will the Yoga Mat Be My Church?

For the longest time, I looked down on yoga as some “fru-fru” artsy -fartsy thing where you lay on a mat, chant and harness your chi. I was always seeking the latest fitness craze and serenity and I weren’t exactly friends. Then I started taking basic yoga classes at my gym, and  became friends with a girl who taught yoga.

Things began to slowly change when I ran the Rock and Roll marathon in 2008. As a supplement to the rigors of long distance running, I tried yoga and reformer Pilates, and began to see glimpses of why is was so popular. In seeking different studios, I struggled with the idea that yoga is both a physical AND spiritual practice. I wanted to grunt, sweat, feel my pulse race, muscles sore- I didn’t need bells ringing, chanting or incense burning.

Fast forward several years, and death, cancer, marriage, moving, college (and eventual graduation), and a job change put a serious dent in my attempts to dedicate any time to my physical well being, let alone nurturing my soul. There was this voice in the back of my head imploring me to seek balance, be physically and mentally in tune with the world. Being the ADHD-crazy brain that I was, quieting my scattered, noisy brain had always been difficult, but I kept looking for ways to tap into the mental aspects of exercise.

Cue the introduction of two people who have sparked a new found curiosity into the practice of yoga: a fellow student in my graduate program who is doing research on yoga and related injuries. She is a dedicated student, teacher, writer, lecturer and all around really nice woman. You can follow her by visiting her website -Jules Mitchell Yoga. I love how she is brings the science of biomechanics and injury prevention into the practice of yoga, as well as putting a more scientific, research oriented, academic spin on things.  The other person is a feminist scholar and researcher in my department. I wrote a lot about her in the Spring, as I really loved her Sports in US Culture class.  Kerrie is doing some great things with yoga research too, as well as some activism with a group called  Off the Mat. Check out her contributions to yoga and efforts to abolish sex trafficking in India by visiting her blog.

These two women have sparked a new flame of interest in the meshing of the mind and the body in the practice of yoga.  So this summer, I have begun what I call an adventure into learning about yoga from all aspects. I promised myself that I would be open-minded to the idea of chanting, finding my Third Eye, and working on improving the ability to do a headstand AND have a clear mind.

I consider myself like a newborn baby right now, absorbing philosophies, names for poses, the poses themselves and trying to connect into my mind. After a month, I am seeing the puzzle pieces and can see how things fit together- mind, body, spirit. I have dedicated this practice to myself, and given myself one full year to explore this whole yoga thing. So far I am loving it. Every time I am on the mat, I dedicate my practice to my girlfriend. I send her good thoughts and healing vibes in hopes that the cancer that has invaded her uterus will leave, and allow her the ability to bear children.

I hated church growing up, and still dislike church, organized religion, the Bible…. it just hasn’t sat well with me my whole life. What I have allowed myself in my new yoga practice is the belief that good thoughts and good energy can make a difference. So call them prayers if you will, but I liken my time on the mat as a time to worship.  Worship my body and its wondrous capabilities. Worship my brain for its powers, but more importantly, I make the time to dedicate my practice to someone or something that I want to send good thoughts and energy to. This is the imbalance that I think I was experiencing, so my hope is that not only will I be able to do the amazing things this woman does, but bridge that gap that I lack between the physical and the spiritual.  I look at this woman in envy because she embodies the attributes I seek: strong, flexible, sexy, peaceful, confidant. 

I love the idea that for this, I don’t need to go to church every Sunday, I just unroll my mat.

Namaste!

The Anticipation Proclamation

The beginning of the Spring semester is right around the corner, and with the first day of school looming,  many students are mentally, physically and financially preparing for it.  As a student, the 5 week mental break has been a nice reprieve, but I must admit I have looked forward to some mental stimulation again. I was pleased to get most of the classes I wanted.What I love most about my program is the flexibility….this semester includes a recreation -based class, a kinesiology class and a communication class. I look forward to the Conflict/Negotiation & Conflict -Resolution aspects of my communication class. Considering my rec class is about legal issues in sport, I could not have asked for a better combination! Just call me Cher from Clueless or Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.

 

I’m sure you are all winning the war of  the “New Years Resolution” , and  now that school is about to start, this is not the time to slack off and let your academic load take over your health and fitness goals. For those in need of a little help in the fitness motivation department, here are bunch of great websites that make record keeping and accountability a snap:

  • Mapmyrun: I love this website and app. I can map my runs, bike rides, hikes and walks, and with the GPS feature, I never have to guess how far I ran. When I use it on my phone, it takes the place of my iPod, Garmin and watch. Sweet!
  • Ptonthenet: For those looking for new exercises and great routines. Break out of that rut!
  • Beer Gut fitness app for android. Check it out. You’d be amazed at how many calories are in a glass of wine!
  • For treadmill junkies, check out the iTreadmill app. No more boring runs!
  • Calorie Counter Pro MyNetDiary App for Android. Track your meals, add exercises. Love it.
  • Get your hands on a ViPR, work out with one ( and with someone who knows how to use it). It ROCKS!
  • Also a fun and amazing tool to train with is the Core-Tex. The creator is Anthony Carey, and if you ever get a chance, go train at his gym Function First in Mission Hills, San Diego. He ,”THE” Derrick Price and Wendy Cole are AMAZING trainers who will rock your fitness world at Function First.

I am excited to be training for both the Tough Mudder and an International distance triathlon in March. For me, I need specific goals to work towards, otherwise, I tend to get really bored. Please feel free to post a comment and leave me what your favorite work out songs are. I really need to pay iTunes a visit. Also, feel free to post your favorite workout app or website too. The more help, the merrier!

Speaking of iTunes, are you all just a little bothered by price increase on the majority of the songs! I feel like the cost EVERYTHING is going up. Perhaps it’s because I just got my tuition bill yesterday and I nearly fell out of my chair.  The constant fear and battle of  “how am I going to pay for this” with the “”how can I graduate in two years, taking 3-4 classes a semester, when the classes aren’t available every semester” I truly feel sorry for those students who are working 2 jobs and attempting a full course load in an attempt to pay for college and graduate in a timely manner. In my attempt to highlight some of my favorite websites and apps for financial planning and responsibility, here are some great ones.

  • Dave Ramsey: This honest and easy to follow guy had great advice and his books and websites really make sense.
  • Mint: Manage your money online or through your mobile apps.
  • Get FREE copies of your credit report! Keep track of it every year, and it will help with purchases of cars, homes and everything else.The Federal Trade Commission has a great amount of information. Check out their website  for ways to get your credit reports.
  • CNN Money: Check out their newsletter, and their website is always being updated.

As with many students, the next few days are going to be a flurry of preparation, organization, wardrobe choices and excitement of whats to come. Please stop by again next week to see how the next semester develops and more pics of CSULB and the city of Long Beach.

Shutterbug Shenanegains

Winter break is coming to an end! It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks have passed since the end of last semester,and I have really enjoyed the time off away from the laptop and textbooks. In that time, my holidays were great, and I hope yours were stress free as well. For Christmas, I got a Canon Rebel T2, and here a few pics from the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk, wine tasting, my trip to Santa Barbara and News Years Eve & Day.

            

                    

                                                               

        

Fall Semester 2011 in Review!

Its been nearly a months since I last blogged, and believe me, there were many days where I looked at WordPress longingly, wanting to escape the stresses of projects, PowerPoints and presentations. This past month was jam-packed and I am reeling from the craziness of it all. If I wasn’t working, I was reading, writing, creating, editing and studying.  Between Thanksgiving, and then Finals. Whew!

So now that school is over, and I have 5 weeks of freedom, I wanted to write about the last month, and the semester in general.

In keeping with tradition, here we go:

The Good

  • I made it! The last four months were a journey into an unknown world of murky understanding and cloudy expectations.  I’m happy to say that looking back,  some of my experiences lived up to my expectations,while  some went down in a cloud of disillusioned smoke. I started my orientation in this room, and this is how it looked on my last day after we finished our presentations. Kinda fitting.imageimageimage
  • My grades. While official grades havent been posted, I am pretty sure I am in the 4.0 club. *happy dance*
  • My support system. I could not have been as successful as I was if it weren’t for the amazing support, understanding, patience and humor of my husband, family & friends.  Even my little study buddy! It truly takes a village…image
  • My car. Oh, my beloved car. You didn’t break down.  I will forgive the two flats in three weeks, and chalk it up to bad luck encountering nails.
  • The realization that I CAN do this. I’m sure you have all dealt with moments in your life where you look at your reflection in the mirror and worry about the couldv’e, should’ve, what if’s, and the holy-shit -can-I-really-do-this moments. I finished my last final paper, and just breathed. (Shoop-Shoop). It was such a cool moment of “YES, I CAN”.
  • My work. I came into graduate school very determined to carry out some specific goals, and so far, I am really proud of the work that I accomplished. It’s all about baby steps, and I think my foray into research, data collection, writing formal research papers and scientific presentation were steps in a great directions. This is a poster and 12 page paper about a nationwide survey I conducted. Really happy with the results.image
  • The ice skating rink the Student Wellness and Recreation Center built in front of the gym. Albeit small, nonetheless really cool!image
  • My love of the Nugget Grills’ Salmon burger and their sweet potato fries. More please!
  • Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson filming a Gatorade commercial in campus last week. So bummed I couldn’t get his autograph, but his security detail was nothing to laugh at.
  • Being ‘unique” in my program: I’m  the only student in the program with an Motor Learning & Aquatics emphasis. Neat-o!image
  • The hope that once this is all said and done, I can get a decent paying job.
  • The free coffee at the Starbuck in the library!image
  • Thanksgiving break!  We had our 4th annual “Buddies Thanksgiving”. This year, 8 guys, 2 girls, and a lot of kitchen mayhem!image

The Bad

  • Realization that attempts to make friends at a “commuter school” is MUCH harder than initially thought. Add the complication of commutes, kids, jobs, family obligations and conflicting schedules, and it becomes nearly impossible to get together with any classmates on a social level.
  • The “Wills” & “Wonts”. I have always been a person that will do my best to help a fellow student who may be struggling in a class. This semester proved an interesting insight in those students who are willing to help others, and those who have the ” you are on your own” mindset. Since many of us take similar classes, it is nice to know early on those student who are willing to offer that Excel formula tip or Statistics problem help. That leads me into my next one:
  • Teaching styles. I recognize that we all deal with people who may not gel with our own personality, but it is magnified when the teachers teaching style is sooo vague and unclear that it leave the entire class grasping at straws and desperately emailing each other for advice and guidance.  If your ENTIRE class is confused, shouldn’t that give you a clue that you as a teacher aren’t providing the clearest of directions?
  • Tuition! So once again, our CSU system is hiking tuition fees. This is getting beyond ridiculous! 23% increase in less than a year. Thus,we get to spend more money on classes, which are becoming harder to enroll in, because the teachers are so fed up with it all that they are retiring early and leaving the departments, which then leaves the departments short-staffed and ill-equipped to give the students the quality education they are paying a lot of money for and well, expecting.
  • The tragic elevator accident that happened on campus last week. My heart breaks for her family and coworkers, especially so close to the holidays.
  • The death of Long Beach Post’s Shaun Lumachi.

The Ugly

  • Squid in a bag. Gross. See my earlier blog post “Goodies & Grub“. Still haven’t gotten over that.
  •  The Christmas Sweater. I almost put this under “The Good” only because I’ve gone to some great parties celebrating these, but still- who thinks these are not to be mocked?image
  • Its Merry Christmas! Its Happy Hanukkah!  Dont get your panties in a wad over the “Happy Holidays’… and yes, I just decorated my Holiday Tree. 
  • Black Friday insanity. This is how my husband and I spent our Black Friday!
  • The psycho Elf on the Shelf mom’s out there. I had a few in my classes. When do you woman SLEEP?! This woman wrote the funniest blog about the TRUTH!
  • The craziness that is the holidays. Just remember to breathe.
  • The time change. I HATE that it gets dark at 4:30 pm now. GRRR! Bring back summer nights and sunlight until 8pm!

 So that’s been the last months of the semester in review. From the end of summer to now the end of 2011, it has been a journey getting here. In fact, as I look back, this journey began at the beginning of the year with the application process, letters of recommendation, and the oh-so-fun GRE’s.  What a wonderful and challenging year it has been! Cannot wait to see how my blogs will develop as I travel through 2012.

Happy Holidays!