Mar 242015
 

While I’m on the topic of writing and understanding my calling, let me now address a greater dilemma that’s been going on in my head for a few weeks now. This freakin’ dissertation! :|

When I started my quest for a PhD, I wanted to ensure my employability in Japan for a tenure position and not face a constant battle of renewing contracts every three years. Plus, in academia it’s cool to be a doctor. :P

However, my love of study has never truly been there – at least not in the formal sense. Also, my PhD journey has been less than smooth, though this is common for many who embark on such an adventure. Still, I’ve plowed through and tried to stay focused. I go through waves of a lot of progress to a lot of talking about progress to a lot of avoiding progress. Now, I’m at the point where I really don’t care about progress at all, despite the fact that deep down inside I’d still like to be a doctor. :P

In my current work, I am extremely happy and satisfied with my level of education as it relates to the experience I am getting. By the end of this academic year, I will have done so much that I feel as if my PhD truly pales in comparison. Who knew that was possible? Still, everyone freaks out on me when I even hint at the idea of stopping the PhD progress altogether. Some say that I’ll miss opportunities. Others say that I’ve already put in so much time, effort and money that I should just get it finished. Even some just say to get over it and finish it. Most realize that it’s their projection of what they want and hint at a disappointment they would have if they were in the same place and not wanting to finish. However, that’s them and not me. When have I ever done anything that everyone else told me to do? Stubborn – me? NO! :P

Still…Dr Tara Waller sounds pretty freaking awesome, I gotta say! So…how can I connect my current Calling dilemma with my PhD progress woes?

An idea is formulating in my mind…Can I convince my brain that by finishing my PhD, I am fulfilling an aspect of my desire to write? A writer can write from a variety of perspectives. A writer can take on a different persona through the different characters. A writer can create an imagined world to describe to readers. A writer can be academic and creative at the same time. It just might be possible to process in my head that by finishing this degree and writing my literature review, finding more data for my analysis and then creating a proposed leadership development framework that I am fulfilling a part of my calling to write – write for an academic audience in a way that is unique and ‘gifted’ to me.

One aspect of my current job is helping faculty put together their research proposals or break down ideas they have for research or writing. I have an ability to synthesize and spit back out something manageable and clear for them. I also provide the support and encouragement that is often needed. My dissertation can also do this on a formal level and perhaps, just possibly, this is what I can focus on to motivate myself to the finish line! :D

I will process this, but as I do, I will begin to refocus my energies and dissertate!

~T :D

Mar 222015
 

The way that I manage to get a lot of reading done aside from a few pages before bed is by exercising on the treadmill. Lately, the weather has been rather grey and windy as the heat slowly moves into the city, so I’ve been back on the ‘mill to burn off the days’ tensions. Although I was just doing yoga twice a week and it seemed enough, I’ve realized that isn’t actually the case. I need to both distract my mind and burn off steam daily. Yoga brings me some quiet, but it’s not enough release of the buzz of my brain – especially on busy or stressful days. Usually, swimming is a good alternative as well, but since the weather has been ‘cool’ I haven’t quite got back into that routine yet. Thus, I’m on the ‘mill.

So, I’m reading this book called The In-Between by Jeff Goins (read him before and a write-up of this one to come when I finish). In the chapter I read today, he talks about how he realized his calling to write – which led to the question of whether or not one is gifted with certain predilections for life than others. As Goins writes, he knew that he was meant to write early on, I knew I was meant for writing when I was eight. There was absolutely no reason for me to feel this way, but something inside of me said that I needed to write – to share my life stories.

What is interesting about this is that just like when I do not exercise, when I do not write I feel tense and un-grounded. I lack focus when I haven’t written in my journal or had a blog post. It seems to be the one way that I can express myself clearly without fear of being misunderstood or censored for my words. It’s the one way that I am taken seriously without offense or interruption to be told that I am wrong for my thoughts. It’s the one way that I am heard. And, I am satisfied.

Although I have swayed like an out-of-sync pendulum back and forth on whether or not writing is really a part of my life, I need to truly come to terms with this reality – I AM A WRITER. I need it to write like I need to breathe. I need to write to exist. This is my calling above all other things that draw my attention or offer unknown even unreal promises. This is my calling.

Now, if only I had a clearer idea of how to make this central rather than peripheral to my life….(guess that’s another post!).

~T :D

Mar 202015
 

As usual, my silence on here generally means that life is whizzing by and my head in whirling around. So, I’m still here and slowly pulling myself out of the whirlpool in hopes of taming it to smaller waves…. We will see….

Spring break is coming and I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited to see my parents, sleep and relax amidst my peoples for a bit. So, I suspect I shall be more productive on here soon enough. :D

– T

 Posted by at 21:51
Mar 072015
 

So…since getting my new ‘baby’, I have been taking photos for friends.

My first one is a kind of regular job where I take photos for my friend’s comedy show – Yalla Laughs – which just started a few weeks back in Abu Dhabi.

IMG_1093

A lot of the pictures on their Facebook page are ones that I took. Not too bad for an amateur, if I do say so myself. :D

My second major task with photos was this weekend as my friend, E’s, baby shower. Here are the pics from that:

Although I do not intend to make a profession out of taking photos, it is still a nice and different ‘creative’ outlet for me… :D

More to come,

~T :D

Mar 032015
 

Back in college J & I made a big first purchase together – a Canon SLR. We were both dreaming of taking amazing photos of life. When we went our separate ways, I kept the SLR and continued to spend rolls of film documenting my travels and life. However, the way of high-end point-n-shoot digital cameras came along, and my love affair with my Nikon Coolpix began.

For years most of my photos have been taken with my little Coolpix, which I still love despite it’s low battery life and battered look.

With the increase in mobile phone technology, my Coolpix slowly moved to the wayside for my iPhone’s quick pics. However, as time has passed, I’ve always looked longingly at the DSLRs that have been out on the market.

A few years back, I decided that when I finished the blasted degree, I would treat myself to a new DSLR and spend time learning how to take photos I would be very proud to show off and may even hang on my walls (if I ever settle long enough to decorate them!).

This year, I received a bonus for receiving an award at work and decided that if I waited until the degree was done I might never get the camera and my life cannot be dependent on whens or ifs. So, I used half of my bonus to purchase my new ‘baby’.

IMG_5018

I love this camera – it takes amaze-balls pictures and has so many options for ensuring I get quality photos. The only problem was that I didn’t have any idea what all the buttons did!!! Or, how to adjust the bits and pieces to have control over the kind of photos I would get.

Even still, on automatic, I could take great pics, but I wanted to learn more.

So, last weekend, my friend T and I took a photography 101 course from Gulf Photo Plus. We spent two full days learning about all the functions on the camera and how to compose photos so that they are ‘professional-like’. There’s still a lot to practice and learn, but it was an excellent course.

Now, of course, I’m taking photos of everything adjusting the ISO, aperture and shutter speeds to capture the depth of fields and use the thirds rules in my pictures. :P

I’m sure that in no time at all National Geographic will be calling me to write and take photos for them full-time! hahahha. Truly, though, it’s a lot of fun and I’m glad I didn’t wait….

More to come,

~T :D

Mar 022015
 

Is it possible to travel too much? Am I just too spoiled in my ‘old age’ that when I go to a new city, it’s not as exciting as it used to be?

I’m in Madrid for a conference (INTED 2015). I was here before about six years ago with my mom and Aunt Sue. It was a short visit before we took off for the south of Spain, but I remembered it being a pretty cool city.

The trip over felt long and tiring. Probably having a flight that leaves at 1:45am is what taints the experience. I came with a colleague and so at least we could have someone to chat with and have pre-flight drinks with. ;) It was a pretty easy flight for me as I slept the whole way, but had a three-hour layover in Amsterdam before another 2.5 hour flight to our destination. By the time we arrived at the hotel around 1pm, we were fairly wiped.

We did settle in to our rooms and then go for a meal and wander around. I’ll post the pics a bit later as they are in my camera…. Then, we came back with the intent of going back out later for tapas and sangria, both of us ended up crashing and not having the energy to go back out. :(

Still, even though it has been good so far and I like the city enough, I think the traveling part is starting to wear on me a bit…Maybe I just need to ensure that my departure times are not so rough so that I can enjoy it more…?

Anyway, will definitely be posting about the conference and the city de Madrid!

More to come,

~T :D

Feb 202015
 

There is a short period in the morning that determines how much I am going to get done during the day. During the work week, this window is less noticeable because I generally have the same schedule that gets me up, ready for work and at work at the same time. For the most part, I am predictably productive and know that I can get my tasks done.

However, the weekends are a different story….

I have less than a week now to complete my literature review and am determined to submit something even if it’s not stellar. I just need to get over the hurdle of not doing it at all – or avoiding the completion of it. This is the last major hurdle to me completing the dissertation and there’s really no excuse. My future is starting to become more dependent on it as my hopes of an easy transfer to a different department are starting to dissipate and not having the degree makes it that more difficult to convince those who need convincing that I should be the one who makes the move (more on that later).

So, I really have to make a better effort and push myself to be productive/focused no matter what time of day or schedule I end up on.

This moment is a perfect example – we thought we had plans to go to a brunch so I hadn’t expected to get much done anyway, but was going to focus in the morning. However, we decided not to go to the brunch early; therefore causing me to move more slowly in the morning. By the time I sat down at my computer, I just wasn’t in the mood. So, I surfed the internet and made some paleo cookies (since I’m back in my own cooking space again! :D).

cookies

Now that that is all done, and my house is fully of sleeping babies, I really should focus….

sleeping

:D

More to come,

~T :D

 Posted by at 15:07
Feb 192015
 

This morning I had perhaps an epiphany – has my mood and brain synapses been altered since I stopped being so diligent with my Paleo diet?

Hm…it is quite possible since I have increased my caffeine, sugar and carb (sugar!) intake quite a bit the past few weeks. I stopped being so focused on Paleo eating because my weight had dropped a bit too much and with the yoga, all of my clothes are now quite too big. Since I cannot afford to buy new clothes and am too lazy to get them properly tailored, I figured I’d just stop thinking about what I’m eating. It’s definitely a lot easier to not have to think about these things – however; now I’m wondering if this is part of the reason why my mind is whirring again and my thoughts are not fully settling down….

I had already planned to return to being strictly Paleo starting next week and may have to do another caffeine and sugar detox. The only problem is that I’m going to Madrid for four days at the beginning of next month and it might be a bit hard to follow this plan. Still, it never hurts to try the best that I can.

Also, I need to eat more throughout the day…. So, it will be back to meal planning, ensuring I bring my lunch (helps with the funds too!) and maybe setting my alarms again to drink water and have a snack. :D There are worse things in life to have to worry about, right? Hopefully, I will notice a return of my mind to a medium whir as well – as this is the most important thing. :D

More to come,

~T :D

 Posted by at 08:19
Feb 182015
 

So, my plan to write more has kind of gone by the wayside the past five weeks or so. There are a number of reasons for it:

*adjusted my living situation a bit
*work changed to be busier (understatement!!! :P)
*went on an up, then a down and am somewhere in between now
*my head is jumbled
*my body is tired….

This is just a short list, but you can get the idea….

I need a bit of a regular creative writing outlet, though, especially as I start to do more academic writing. Since I have a creative outlet through pottery and regular yoga to keep me more zen-like than without it, I feel like I should be balanced enough, but lately something has been nagging me…. I want to find a way to make use of my real passion – writing. At the moment, I need to focus on finishing the PhD and doing my academic writing. Therefore, that means that I need to use this blog space more regularly to ensure that I get the creative writing outlet that will hopefully keep me balanced for now.

So, (hopefully) I will be back on here more regularly with my random ramblings! :D

More to come,

~T

 Posted by at 19:32
Jan 122015
 

Almost exactly a year ago, I finished reading the book _Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption_ by Laura Hillenbrand. I wrote about it and then I even wrote a brief about it, which was published on Amazon.

So, when I heard that the film was being made, I was quite excited about it as it’s such a great story.

Last weekend, I made M go see it with me, but I’m afraid I was sadly disappointed. M had never read the book, but came out saying “It was just missing something, wasn’t it?”. My response was, “Yeah, like 2/3 of the book!”.

There’s so much of the story that is interwoven and necessary that I can imagine it was quite hard for Angelina Jolie to pick out the pieces to adequately tell the story. The parts that were taken in entirety were well-done; however, there just weren’t enough and perhaps not enough time to do it justice.

In any case, it’s a decent film – though quite PG for a story that is graphically disturbing. I’d say it’s okay to see it with teenagers and to draw interest in the story. However, if you haven’t read the book – read it after you’ve seen the movie. Yes, this is advice contrary to my usual recommendation. In this case, reading the book before the movie just sets you up for grave disappointment…. :*(

More to come,

-T

 Posted by at 18:25