Sunday Morning.

Skipped Church.. yea thats right I go to church. Surprising.
My back was out of whack from sleeping for 10 hours (thank you daylight savings time).
We don't have our connection group tonight so its will be weird not seeing friends today but the last few weekends I have had to work and I will be traveling a bit next week. Laura's parents are going to Ireland to visit Jess so we will have to negotiate a sister and a dog for a week. Lots of interesting schedules while trying to work and workout.

There might be a post coming about religion but today is not the day. Waiting for the coffee to kick in.


How to have low energy

My comeback to a creative outlook.
Laura and I are getting serious about making positive changes. One is that we are planning on writing every day for the month of November.
The other change is losing some weight so I figured I would start by letting everyone know how I have become really good at having really low energy.

My job brings a ton of stress to my life. Late hours, supervising hundreds of volunteers, fellow staff who seem to not care at times, being on call constantly, the threat of a disaster response taking over my life. All for the good of the cause is what they tell me and what I believe a majority of the time.

Friday nights like this I am dead tired because of stress and a weeks workload. This particular Friday Laura and I decided to go out to eat. Tomorrow we are starting our workout schedule. So we indulged on some mexican food and a couple drinks. I filled myself on a burrito and endless chips and salsa. I just about fell asleep at the booth. As soon as we got home I collapsed onto the couch. My stomach is full and my brain is tired.

So the recipe to have absolutely no energy in your life is to stress out a lot and eat constantly all while exercising at most once a week.

I am not going to do that anymore and you shouldn't either!


Cookies before bed

Hello World,
I feel like you have been left out of the loop... and for that I am sorry. Truth is, I have gained a new direction since we have last talked. Not necessarily a new direction as much as heading or route to my destination. Switched modes, settings, cities. Shocking I know but who really wants to write a Graduate Thesis? I am going to spare you the details because if you really care you already know or can find out pretty easily.

I work for the Red Cross. Since August I have... moved in with total strangers, voluntarily taken a job in an office where I am the only full time male staff member, fought a hurricane (Irene), taught 4 year old kids, taught mentally handicapped adults, taught retirees, seen 3 houses burn and 3 homeowners cry, met countless outstanding people and one truly amazing woman in the process (Mom look what your little boy has accomplished!). If you asked me what the most memorable part has been, I would say meeting this girl Laura. And I don't think that answer would change any time soon.

I am not sure where I am going with this post because it is a little spur of the moment, a realization that I haven't done this in forever and I truly enjoy it. Laura reminded me. This girl, who I am happy to call my girlfriend, inspires me to be a better, more genuine person. Laura and I met in early October and how we met will be for another post but that is beside the point. The important thing is that we met. The few weeks since I have met her have been infinitely better than my time here before. I have to many compliments to list about Laura and I don't think anyone wants to hear about what we read when we are at Barnes and Noble together. As per the blog title, Laura has real skills in the kitchen so I am eating some of her amazing cookies right before bed. This girl has been a blessing for me personally and I hope she has some ok things to say about me too.

...Story time...
At work my co-workers and I have a good time. We make fun of everyone in the office and you definitely have to roll with the punches. My boss is very good at punching, both throwing and taking. However she does not have the largest vocabulary and she sometimes doesn't understand words that are being used which makes her an easy target. I find this HILARIOUS since I am becoming a pretty good judge of the extent of her vocabulary. Playing Apples to Apples was pretty entertaining. If you don't know, you get read a word on a card out loud. This is typically an adjective or adverb and there are 3 other synonyms listed for people such as my boss or younger children. If I could remember the word specifically it might be a funnier story. I hear this one particular word and instantly look over to my boss to read her face. I know she has no clue what that word is and as the judge reads the other 3 words I burst out laughing, knowing that she has no clue what any of those 4 words mean. Ages 8+..... ok if you say so. Needless to say she didn't win but came surprisingly close to beating me.
Another story involves a staff meeting and a random discussion about cooking. One of the other ladies in the office was talking about making something with lentils. I was sitting across the room from my boss and, once again, noticed a puzzled look on her face after the word lentils was used. I wasn't the only one to notice this look and the whole room busted out in laughter. People begin making fun of my boss and another woman claims that they were just being facetious (thank you spell check). My boss also has no clue what this means and that sends us into another 5 minutes of non stop laughter. I explained to her that lentils are beans and facetious is another word for sarcastic. She takes this as me being snotty and she now calls me a sarcastic bean whenever I say something cocky.

All this being said, I am really happy with where I am, what I am doing and who I am with. I cant wait to catch up with some hometown friends and family over this thanksgiving weekend.


Its a nail bitter

I bite my finger nails. I used to bite them constantly, always chewing them down or picking at them when they were to short to bite. Its a tough habit to break. I was forced to when I lived in Tanzania because if I bit my fingernails it would probably, and almost certainly did, get me sick. I carried nail clippers with me almost all the time over there so when I got bored I could just clip them and throw them on the floor. I cant do that here. Although chewing on my fingernails here wont get me sick with a bacteria and put me bedridden for a week, it is a habit that I would like to break.

I finally made a conscious effort to stop biting my nails about a month or so ago. Its tough to do especially because of the things, or rather times, that make me bite my fingernails. It seems to be both a bored habit and a nervous habit. I bite my nails most often when watching tv. My hands are idle and I am just sitting relaxing with nothing else to do. So I bite my fingers ferociously. I am also a fan of one of the best/most hated college basketball programs in the country. I watch nearly every Duke Blue Devil basketball game I can. If I dont watch it live I try to catch the replay online or at least analyze the box score. Good thing they win a lot because when they are losing, my urges to bite my fingers are at its worst. I have had a couple of bad days in the last couple weeks watching them lose. My fingers bare the brunt of that damage. The other instance when I bite off my finger nails is when I am sitting in class. Something about sitting staring at a computer screen or at a 70 slide powerpoint makes my mind numb. So naturally I give my self something to do by carefully checking my fingernails to see if there is any part that can be chewed off. Occasionally, there is nothing extra so I bite off a piece that causes my fingers to bleed. Yes it WAS that bad.

Turns out, If you actually want to halt a hard to break habit it can be done. Now instead of biting my fingernails in class I pick at them slowly and chew gum. I also write and highlight excessively. If I feel the urge to bite my fingernails I pick at them or go up and grab a clippers so there is nothing to bite. I do bite them every once in a while but I keep it short. Having fingernails again is weird. I actually dont remember when this habit started or what having fingernails actually feels like. So I hope I can check the fingernail biting habit off the list and move on to the next bad habit to break.


Low Efficiency

I have been having one of those days.. make that 5 days. I have a long list of things to do: taxes, going to the bank, fixing my car, getting my hair cut, letters of intent, talking to profs, making calls to people all over campus.. im applying for the Masters program in Geography so I THOUGHT I had a bunch of shit to do with little time to accomplish it. Last sunday, i woke up early after working til 5 the night before. And early for me is noon so I eat breakfast quick so I can get lunch before 2. After deciding what is most important on my list I head over to my parents house to make some copies and print some paperwork so I can start checking things off my list. I get all my paperwork done for taxes and get half of what I need to get to Professors ready to go. But the clock is ticking and I grab a bit of food before going home to chill a bit before work. Another close shift and Sunday has vanished before I get anything crossed off my list.

Thats ok, Monday has potential. I have 3 or 4 hours to run up to campus and finish off the Masters paperwork. Good plan... up until I sleep til 2 and have to work at 430. No time for campus so I just skip monday as far as productivity goes.

Tuesday rolls around and laundry calls so that kills a good two hours before I have class. So by noon Im up to campus for 5 hours. By the time I get done with listening to 4 hours of lecture all I want to do is eat. After eating I realize I have actually gotten nothing accomplished all week. I have been acting like making a few edits on my tax forms would take hours but it literally takes 5 minutes but cant manage to get anything else done. I had to work close so I took a nap and called that good enough for today. Work 10 to 4AM. Things are actually going to be accomplished... tomorrow.

Wednesday. My day off from work and school. I set my alarm for 12 noon and by 130 I am at the bank making a much needed deposit and the Post office to send some mail that has been sitting at my desk for a week. I go up to campus to meet with a couple profs but when I get there, I find out that I had read the office hours incorrectly and neither of the professors are there. I make good use of my time by actually printing off the rest of paperwork. But that is boring so I go home to get some quick food, and in another hour I am playing racquetball and an hour after that on to Volleyball. Wednesday. Nice work, almost.

Thursday. Class at 1. But my car needs to get fixed before that and the only computer time available before that is 8-10. So because my sweet major uses really awesome computer programs, we only have 1 computer lab on campus that will actually work. Which means we GIS students are at the mercy of the schedule. So a day after I go to sleep at 5 AM because of work, I get to wake up at 7 AM because of school. Dont worry my efficiency is beginning to rise and my list is shorter. I finish my schoolwork in an hour and I actually get a nap in before dropping my car off and heading to campus. Thursday is lab day in class so I am free to wander around the Geography Department talking to people I should have talked to week ago. But its OK I have all the paperwork and its in their hands now. I walk in and talk to Carol, the Geography Secretary, and she informs me that there was some confusion about my application... REeeallly long story but I didnt actually need to apply to the program because I apparently already did. So all of the running around I had been doing, the copying of paperwork, the letter of intent, the meetings with professors was a complete waste of time and energy. I couldnt believe it but was actually relieved that I could check everything off my list, completed or not.

My list on sunday was comprised of about 10 things and now is finally finished. Total time occupied by checking things off that turned out to be irrelevant about 10 hours. Total time spent checking off the rest... about 3 hours, if you count laundry which took 2.5.

Procrastination... On sunday it didnt bother me, time was no big deal. Monday was a wash because I didnt care. Tuesday I made some progress but once again got nothing checked off. Wednesday got some things done but still couldnt finish. Thursday all ready to check everything off then figure out most of it was just stressful and time consuming. So a lesson learned? Hardly. One week done, next week is midterms so as true to college student form, more procrastination. Because with everything checked off my list, the only thing on my mind is a bottle of wine and what time I have to set my alarm for tomorrow. I will worry about whatever later because if I really wanted to stress out well... I wouldnt have to look to far ahead.


Like a good book you cant put down

Generally most of my time is spent watching. Computer screens, tvs, people. Whatever needs my attention. And now with the NFL and college football seasons starting I watch quite a bit more. Both of my classes require quite a bit of time on the computer and our lectures mainly take place as we sit in front of computer screens.
Last thursday I had my GPS class. After watching our prof. painfully go through a powerpoint that took over an hour, we got to lab time. This is only our second week of lab so we are still figuring out the GPS receivers that we are using. For this lab we were suppose to go out and collect some points around campus. We needed to collect multiple points at three different locations but with time in between. (If that doesnt make sense dont worry, half of our class did it wrong because our TA didnt explain it) Either way I am lab partners with the weird kid who kind of smells funny. So i get to walk around campus for an hour and a half making small talk with this kid. Awkward. I handed him the GPS so he could do all the work. This enabled me to do some quality people watching. I realized how much I missed being on a college campus wasting time. So lets delve into what I noticed last thursday afternoon.

There are plenty of weird looking college students. Lots of individual spirits. People who dont care how they look or what other people think of them and people who care to much about their image. The clothes dont interest me as much as the facial expressions. Every expression imaginable is seen in between classes out by the fountain or in the cafeteria. I just wonder what thoughts are provoking this enthusiastic look? Are you really having that good of a day? Or does a D on a test really cause you to look like you want to cause the sandwich lady bodily harm?

Most people you see are walking somewhere, on their way to class or to get some food. People watching in class is a different situation and a potentially dangerous and creepy one. I walk alone almost exclusively, except for our GPS lab adventure. Other people walk in groups, with friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, teammates whatever. One of my favorites is the group that is to big to avoid in the hallway and that is nearly impenetrable. These people have seemingly come from the same place and are all going to the same class. If you get stuck behind them you are in danger of being associated with them, and eyes could be rolled in your direction.

People also multitask constantly. I listen to my ipod. A very popular choice. Others choose to talk on their phones which I find weird because anyone can overhear your conversation as you walk. Walking and talking is not as disruptive as walking and texting though. Texting diverts your eyes and you better hope you can walk in a straight line and you know where you are going otherwise you can be in trouble. Its not like the sidewalks are empty on campus. There are people everywhere, many texting and not looking ahead like you. Bikers cruise around people and longboarders who dont have much control because they obviously just picked up on the fad try to avoid people as well. So these people who text either are overly cautious, walk slow and stop to look up every once in a while, or just dont care and get in other peoples way. Funny either way.

My thoughts are drifting though as I try and watch football and think about people watching at the same time. So as important as listening, talking, interacting, reading and all of that is my favorite still might be watching. You can get a lot of information from watching people, fabricated or real. You decide.


The whats up

So apparently there are a lot of new things with me. Thats just what people tell me. It all kind of seems the same to me. Dont get me wrong, I am excited with the changes but they just pale in comparison.
For starters I moved out of the parents house. I moved a whole 6 blocks away. I just cant bring myself to move out of Lower North. I moved in with some friends so gone are the days of my own kitchen and bathroom. However they are a little more entertaining than my parents (sorry but its true) and the cats.
I got into grad school at MNSU or MSU or whatever you want to call it. I am in the geography It graduate program and I am taking classes for a Graduate level certificate in GIS. So Ill break down GIS for everyone right now to clear things up. Simply put GIS is computer mapping and analysis. The certificate program is designed to familiarize students with the different ways to make maps and different software to use. Right now I have 2 classes. One is cartography. A class I didnt take at Gustavus and now they are making me take it for my certificate. Fine whatever. The reason I didnt take it at Gustavus was because I didnt think I would learn anything new. So now I get to hang out with a bunch of undergrads and learn how to make maps. Should be fun and dare I say.... really pretty easy. I hope. The other class I have right now is Issues in Geographic Techniques. It consists of field trips. Thats pretty much it. That and writing papers. This class is full of thesis track masters people and me. Quite the opposite end of the spectrum but I should learn a lot from these people. We will be going to places where people use technology to make maps and use GIS and all that cool stuff. So its all exciting. I forgot how much I love going to class, wandering around on a college campus people watching, and messing around on computers making maps.
I am also working. 2 days of class a week wont explain being unemployed. I deliver pizza for Toppers Pizza. I have been doing it for maybe 2 months now and its not bad at all. I work about 20 hours a week and make some sweet tips from all the stingy college kids. No sarcasm there, I actually make awesome tips because we deliver a shit load of pizza. So most of the time I am driving, listening to The Current, BBC news, KFAN, whatever doesnt suck. Which is sometimes everything. If im not driving I am taking orders from people on the phone which is occasionally hilarious but most often pedestrian. And then I wash dishes and fold boxes. I still havent mastered the art of pizza box folding but I dont really try. Some kids are rediculous at it.

Oh and I am hopefully getting another job so I dont have to donate plasma anymore, going to San Diego over spring break and getting another tattoo probably within a month or so. Ill explain that later. Im tired of blogging.