July 15, 2011

Celebrating 37 years of Bastille Day

Yup it's that time of year again; the annual birthday/Bastille Day celebration. This year I had cake for breakfast.

Over my lunch hour I watched some videos of the parade in Paris, fireworks from a city which already celebrated Bastille Day, and revisited the song Bastille Day by Rush.

I treated myself to Thai food for dinner, drove home and opened my gifts from myself and un enexpected surprise from  my dad.

It was a good day and I'm glad I decided to take charge of making my birthday more meaningful and special to me. After I cooked my cake I couldn't help but think that this really isn't all that hard; I did get hot while the cake was cooking but afterward I went outside for a walk and it was better in the kitchen after the walk. I had a blast decorating my first cake and I'm looking forward to my next birthday adventure. Of course no birthday/Bastille Day celebration is complete without some fireworks from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. ENJOY

July 12, 2011

Stuff I like to do

If you look over to the right of your screen you will see a new space on my blog.   This space is for "stuff I like to do."  As you can see there is already a link to a page which a friend of mine sent to me today.

I looked at it and I  like it so much I thought I would add it to my blog and share with you. 

You can join their e-mail list serve and they will send you an e-mail of nice things you can do for others. This time it's send sugar-free foods to food banks.  They provide a food bank you can send the food to as well as other activities to do.

My personal goal is to try to do at least one nice thing for someone a month.  I have always wanted to do some form of community service but graduate school really takes up a lot of time.  Hopefully having a web-site send me easy ideas will help me perform community service.

While on my lunch break I thought I would work on their On-line Scavenger Hunt:
I accomplished Mission I ( answer the daily quiz question & donate 10 pieces of kibble to an animal shelter) and Mission II (answer questions correctly & donate 10 kernels of rice to hungry people in the world).  I answered 20 questions in a row correctly so I donated 200 kernels of rice. Clicky-clicky on the purple to reach the links!

Maybe tomorrow I can do the same and add a few more.  I challenge you to do one nice thing this week!

July 8, 2011

Fourth of July Long weekend

I decided to use pictures to capture my long Fourth of July weekend. Sorry the pictures are in no particular order because I'm tired and I still need to get groceries before I go home for the day (sigh).

Of course, I went for a walk and the "orange army" followed me. Funny story the other day the "kids" got distracted and didn't follow me home. They usually make their way back but not this time. I went for a walk the following evening and half way back I heard the boy talkign to me from the field so he followed me back to the driveway. Then we heard the girl but couldn't find her for awhile. She was back up by the stoplight between the dirt and chipped road. She wouldn't head back my way until I walked back up to her, she greeted her brother, and then she would follow me back home. Have I mentioned lately that cats are weird?

On Friday, one of my neighbors was shooting off fireworks so I admired them from my yard (sorry the picture is so dark). I think next year I will try to go to a fireworks display and watch fireworks.

I photographed the first tiger lily to bloom; now I think there are 4 or 5 different ones blooming. They are slow to start but then they stick around for awhile.

I took some pictures of the blooming day-lilies. I think this is one that did not bloom last year. There are a couple blooming this year which I don't think bloomed last year; I could be wrong but I don't think so.

Pandora being cute and well behaved in an attempt to get me to pick her up and pet her. So I took a picture and then petted her. (Please don't look at my bad toe-nail polish, I haven't had time to repaint my nails; hopefully this weekend)

Tzani wanted to go outside and sit on the porch. She hadn't been in physical contact with the outdoor cats since January so she had to re-introduce herself. They get along with her and she with them. I was sort of hoping the neighbors black and white cat would come along so Tzani could let him know how irritated she is with him attacking and chasing our boy kitty. She will sit in the window and if he does this she will start talking to me about it and hissing at him at the same time. Apparently, she thinks the orange kitty's are hers so they should be left alone.

July 1, 2011

Professional Development

I'm sure that many of you have heard the term professional development.  I had not heard this term until I became a graduate student.  Now it seems like everybody in the department uses this term for a wide range of activities. "You should attend Friday seminar because it is part of your professional development." "Participating in the department activities improves your professional development."  "I think that learning how to work with Glimmix enhances your skill base and therefore improves your professional development." "Part of professional development is learning balance and prioritizing." After a while, it seems like the term professional development is used to describe everything that occurs in a graduate students life but no one has defined what professional development means.

Wikipedia defines professional development as the skills and knowledge which is obtained to further personal development and enhance career achievement and advancement. Okay; looking at the definition there are two objectives to consider: personal development and career advancement. While I agree that mentors should play a role in career advancement my personal development is "entirely" up to me and therefore in order to improve my "professional development" my opinions should be heard and considered.

Here is an example:  I attended an NCB-ESA meeting where there was a graduate student mixer; I chose to go back to my hotel room to work on homework that was due the day after I returned from the meeting.  An hour or tow later I returned to the mixer,   grabbed some food, talked to a few people, stood at a table by myself for awhile, and then go back to my room. Later one of my roommates stating that she didn't see why I even bothered to go since I wasn't that social! WOW- how dare you judge my progress especially since you have about 10-20 interactions with me in a year.

Speaking for myself, I was really proud of myself for attempting to go to an activity and participate on some level.  Was it the best experience? NO but is my response based on the the actual participation level or the fact that someone who doesn't know me very well acted like judge and jury on my abilities without the evidence. I'm not sure but it could be either one.  Should I attend another conference you can bet that she will not be sharing a room with me!!!!

I would like to say this conversation ends here but it does not.  Similiar scenarios have occured with individuals who could be viewed as mentors.  I realize that as a mentor it is your "job" to identify areas where students are lacking and encourage them to participate in activities which may bolster their confidence or aid them in gaining new skills.  However, I disagree the "cookie cutter concept" where what is good for one student is good for all students. Additionally, it irritates me when someone throws the term professional development into the mix as part of the argument for participating in some "required" activity.  Yes, in the broad sense, I agree that all activities which the department have a varying amount of professional development.  However, I feel that I should have some input into my OWN professional development and be allowed the autonomy to make decisions.  After all, making decisions and prioritizing activities (choosing to start your take-home finals instead of attending the department picnic) is a part of professional development.  Why should I allow "you" to make these decisions for me?  Shouldn't I participate in my own professional development?  Additionally, by participating in my own professional development then I'm taking ownership of my development.  Once you understand the importance of my ownership then and only then can we have a partnership where "we" can improve my current skills and expand the list to include those which I currently don't have.

Final word(s):  As part of my professional development I volunteered (of my own free-will and interest) to serve as the student representative for the Course and Curriculum committee for this fiscal year (July 11-June 12).  Today (Friday, July 1st) I was informed that I have been "approved" to sit on this committee.  Additionally, the interim department head included charges (objectives) that he would like the committee to achieve.  Interestingly, one of the objectives is that "we" develop a course for graduate students on professional skills!!!!!!! Yes, really! My life is often full of similar "coincidences;" I do belive that the goddess is good to me and she gives me purpose.

I hope everyone enjoys a nice long weekend for the Fourth of July.  I believe I will be writing or doing some data entry but I'm going to try to watch Independence Day and Last of the Mohicans for the Fourth of July.