Category Archives: Busyness

Time flies when you’re having fun… in Berlin!

Seriously, I need time to slow down. It’s already Day 5 of being in Berlin, and I feel like we haven’t accomplished much yet!

Sunday and Monday are pretty much excusable because of jet lag. I thought I might be doing myself a favor by being a grad student – used to less sleep and such – but it really just meant that there was no chance I could sleep on the plane from D.C. to Brussels. My normal bed time of 12 a.m. is 6 a.m. here in Berlin. So that’s no good, but I think I’m getting closer to adjusted now. That’s a really good thing, because so far if I had to give a synopsis of the trip so far it would something like:

  • Sunday: Arrival, jet lag
  • Monday: Jet lag, grocery shopping, exploring Alexanderplatz, IKEA, Skyping into my 641 seminar until way to late at night here
  • Tuesday: Woke up at 11:30 a.m. Blasted blackout curtains/jet lag. Back over to Alexanderplatz to buy a printer and some other supplies. Attempted to go bed at a normal time. Laid away until 4 a.m.
  • Wednesday: Woke up at 11 a.m. Still jet lagged? I felt that at least my natural wake up time was shifting the correct way (backward).

Yesterday I was determined to get some real work accomplished, despite the cold weather and threat of rain all day. So Karen and I walked around our neighborhood (Prenzlauerberg, part of the Pankow district) and identified five sites to do observations of pedestrians interacting with Stolpersteine. I’ll be doing this in other districts as well over the next several days. Then I took Karen to The Story of Berlin, a history museum that focuses solely on Berlin. On the way, we took the subway stop at the zoo and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – and I couldn’t believe my eyes when we got there! They are currently tearing down an old shopping building next to the zoo, and on top of that, the entire memorial church cannot be seen because they are about to start a renovation project on it this summer.

Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche, May 2011

For now, I’ve got to sign off and get to work, but I’ve uploaded some photos of our apartment to Facebook to appease everyone. It seems that Karen may not get around to it!

Actual New Year’s Resolutions

Spoiler: This has very little to do with Geography. (Also, this is my 60th post! Woohoo?)

Regarding New Year’s Resolutions, I’m not usually very good at keeping them because I never have any concrete goals in mind at the beginning of any given year. Since I don’t usually take these seriously, I figure that if I’m going to have some this year, I may as well have several so at least I can accomplish some!

So here you go. Silly, impossible or otherwise, my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions:

• Lose 30 pounds. Sure, why not? This time… I think I won’t rely on Crohn’s Disease to, ahem, assist me, so perhaps they will stay off a little longer this time? I haven’t gained it all back, but if this trend continues I should be able to be a contestant on the Biggest Loser by 2013.

• Train for and run a race of some variety. 5k, etc. Preferably more than one, but that will all depend on how more time I can devote to training. The good news is that Karen has agreed to do it with me this time. The bad news? We’re both really good at wimping out after a few weeks.

• Travel the world. (As a geographer, this is pretty much always a goal, not really a resolution. And since I’m planning on going to Berlin and other parts of Germany for thesis research this summer, this one should’t be too hard!)

• Read something other than the literature for my Master’s research and/or class. This one might actually be sort of hard! I’m thinking of reading the Lord of the Rings, but I seriously doubt I’ll find time for it this year, so I may stick to a few Star Wars novels I’ve been saving. Wouldn’t hurt to read some of the photography books I’ve amassed over the last 2-3 years either!

• Play my trumpet. Regularly. I’ve decided to break it back out from hiding/storage. Cleaned it up nicely last year but never played it much. The first step, however, is to get Story used to it so she doesn’t freak out and bark every time she even sees it.

• Become more fluent in German. The two German courses I’m auditing this semester should help with that, but I’m still slightly terrified that I won’t be able to interview people in German this summer!

• Somehow, find a way to not “overdo it” this year. I came close to overdoing it this semester, but I was able to stay on top of all my various projects, papers, performances, etc. by the skin of my teeth. I’d like to take a step further back from the edge, but I know in all likelihood that I may actually be inching my way closer to a plunge, given my course load and responsibilities this semester alone. I know Summer and Fall won’t be as bad, but there’s still field work and comps and thesis writing death to think about then. Speaking of field work, I’d like to request that everyone consider gifting money for field research travel costs in lieu of gifts this year, at least for my birthday. This perhaps may not be the ideal for unwrapping on March 9, but at the moment it looks like I will not know how much scholarship and grant money I will have until very close to the actual trip. I’ll keep you all posted…

As my small collection of devoted readers, you should probably know that despite my best intentions, I will truthfully not have as much time to spend online with you in the usual places (here, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) this year and into spring 2012, but I will try as time permits!

Vacationing and Moving

Two things that don’t mix all that well.

Vacationing and moving. I don’t recommend going straight from one into the other, but in our case this month, going from our vacation with Karen’s family out to Wyoming just worked out flowing straight into moving to Knoxville. It can be a little bit of a whirlwind, which is why I now can say that I don’t recommend it. I’m still partially living out of a suitcase, and have been for three weeks now. That does get a tad bit old.

However, we are making progress on setting up our home. We have the kitchen pretty much completely done, and everything that is going into storage is already there. The bathroom and bedroom are partially done, but they (like everything else) are waiting for some Ikea furniture to be complete. We hope to go to Ikea in Atlanta soon, but the weather hasn’t cooperated this weekend. As in, we were planning to go yesterday (Friday) but then there was a big chance of rain, and sure enough, we got a pretty good pounding. Then today turned out beautiful. So of course we didn’t plan to go, since there was a chance of rain. Grr. Next week it’s suppose to rain some more, too. Oh joy.

The living room is in the worst shape. It resembles a hall way from the kitchen to the office in that there is basically a 3-foot-wide path from one assortment of boxes on one side to the other collection of boxes through which we can manage to walk around. It needs several things from Ikea to be finished, not to mention the boxes cleared away. The office is taking shape, though probably not in its final form. We’ve pieced together a rough corner of the living room with our two desks forming a square with two walls though Karen tells me this isn’t staying quite like this. At least I’ve found enough of my desk stuff to establish some sort of working area, because it’s surprising all the things that need to be done when one moves!

As for vacation, it was marvelous, despite the many, many hours of driving that were necessary to enjoy it. I think Karen and I will fly next time…More details will be shared in photos.

As I find time, I’ll get some photos up from vacation and the move in/final layout of the flat. I may get move in photos up sooner just so everyone can see how things are going here. Vacation photos have fallen in the queue behind photos from all of last year going back to our honeymoon…. Just too busy to Flickr lately!

Blogging from Work

I’m two days into my new job as an IT Specialist II at the Instructional Technology Center at UTM and I’m already out of things to do.

Well, sort of…

I’m lacking some of the key software I need to get started on Web developing, but I thought I’d blog since it’s been at least a blue moon since my last post.

Since then I’ve:

Successfully defended my Scholars Project.
Finished finals.
Moved out of university housing and back into my parentals’ house for three weeks. This includes moving plenty of furniture, and lots of Karen’s stuff.
Joined the church league softball team…and subsequently only made it to one game of four. (Is it sad that I’m too busy to play softball during the summer?)
Drowned in insurance options from the university as a full-time staff person.
Set up my new cubicle and Mac Pro.
Received free swag for being a new employee (including scissors, tape dispenser and stapler!)
Drunk lots of coffee to stay awake after getting up at 7 since I have to be at work at 8ish.

And there’s more…but enough for now.

Visualizing the Weekend Ahead

I know I often post tweets or blogs about how busy I am, but since I made a to-do list today on a digital sticky note (gotta love Macs) I thought I would post it for everyone to see what I’m doing between the time this is written and Sunday night. The good news is that not all of this has to be done by Monday, but most of it is due by Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have a feeling this won’t make sense to a lot of you, considering this is a mixture of putting together a rough draft of my senior communications portfolio, a Communications law test, Photojournalism assignment, Comm and the World Wide Web project, and Scholars project writing. Whew.

To Do:
Finish Berlin’s 4-5 lives
Photo Essay Topic Brainstorm
Examine Comm Law Study Guide – Determine what to study/read
Gather 20 oldest portfolio clips and put in template with art.
Study Session I – Comm Law
Finish personal Web page template
Write Berlin’s 6-7 lives
Make Divider Pages and Executive Summaries in Indesign
Study Session II – Comm Law
Finish Berlin’s 8-9 lives
Gather 20 more clips and put in template with art.
Finish personal Web page content
Write Berlin’s 10th life
Gather remaining clips (20-30 stories + editorials)
Copy Edit
Gather published photos and any other docs needed for portfolio
Print portfolio
Study Session III – Comm Law

At some point: Make sure The Pacer is ok, go to church, sleep.

In other news, Karen and I signed for an apartment today and got a lot of wedding planning stuff done this week, so that’s a little less stress on our plates now.


More Scholars Project Thoughts

I had a scary realization today.

I have approximately five more meetings (going by the current schedule) with Dr. Rogers until I defend my University Scholars project. This means that insanity might be setting in a little more often in the next month and a half. I work well under deadlines; everybody knows that… but this is one heck of a deadline.

So the moral of the story is that I’m almost to the point where I have to drop everything but the essentials. Sorry if I seem unavailable until May 9 (graduation). That’s just how it has to be. Life after I defend my project (don’t have an exact date yet — I’m shooting for as late in April as possible) will be miserable if I don’t shoot for as high as standard as I want to because so many other things got in the way. That’s my spiel and I’m sticking to it.

Half a Month Later…

How can it possibly be August 9 already?

Things have been really, really busy since coming back from Berlin. Catching up on sleep. Catching up on work. Catching up on Karen-time. You get the idea.

Work has been insanely busy. I have updated a ton of Web sites in the last two weeks: Psychology, ECCE, ITC, Financial Aid, Honors Program, Visual and Theatre Arts, etc. The last two weeks have been the final weeks of my co-student worker, Hannah Burcham, who is going to Mississippi State University with the National Student Exchange program. In the mean time, we’ve been training her highly capable replacement, Jen DeYeso in all of the wonderful jobs (and the tedious ones, too) we take care of on a daily basis at the ITC. Mix into this helping the occasional professor who wanders over for help, working on the registrations for three different training topics coming up in August and September, and planning for the training session I am doing this coming Tuesday — you get the idea of how busy it’s been.

I’ve also spent some time working on the TNGIC summer newsletter, getting together the stories we will be covering for the end-of-August publication. Now I need to start laying it out in InDesign this week before things get even more hectic with The Pacer and that little thing called school.

Speaking of my favorite newspaper, I worked the last few days of this week with The Pacer’s adviser, Tomi Parrish, on buying the remaining iMacs we need to fully handle our computing needs for the coming years. The good thing about these Macs is that we should be able to get a lot more use out of them than we’ve been getting out of the PCs we’ve used for years. Now they just have to be shipped and have software ghosted onto them by the Technical Services folks and brought over to our office. I’m looking forward to kicking off the new year with lunch and training on August 18. Then we start working on our First Flight edition for the incoming freshmen…and then off we go!

In other news, Karen and I have discovered the addicting Web site Nutrimirror — an online food journal that can really help ANYONE trying to eat healthier. As Karen saw on a newscast on her Destin vacation, keeping a food journal is one of the best ways to eat healthier and get/stay in shape. Nutrimirror is doing just that, and with time it should be a big help.

Finally, with all this going on a few of my other projects are still hounding me to start/finish them, including: more research and reading on my Scholars project, a photo-video for a wedding at the end of August, posting more photos from Berlin, and buying my books from Amazon/ Anything else…? This is more than I can keep up with in my head. Good thing I have to-do lists!