October 24, 2010

A major turn-off (and I don't mean garlic breath)

Sensory overload.

Not since the silenced roar of Tokyo have I felt so over-stimulated. This morning I had to turn off the Law and Order mega-thon, power down my CD player and take a mind break.

While I love the escape of mindless entertainment, this dependency on technology always catches up with me. I hold my breath and overeat while parked in front of a massive flat screen. If NCIS isn't on, I settle for Jersey Shore reruns. I drink diet cola until my stomach burns and I wonder where all these headaches are coming from. I'm easily irritated by actual human interaction, but my self-esteem correlates directly to the number of people who have written on my Facebook.

This lasts as long as my body (or mother) allows. Sometimes days or even weeks.

But eventually, I can't handle anymore. The noise of TV, the unrealistic plot lines (and body lines), and the strange obsession with social media---it suddenly seems unbearable, and I find myself on a walk around the neighborhood, thankful I left my iPod at home. Passing multi-million dollar houses, I acknowledge my judgments on how many square feet are really necessary. I wave to neighbors I don't know, and I smile at the yip-yip-yippy dogs chasing me down fence lines.

Open fields in sight and wind in my ears, I can breathe easier. I stop second-guessing myself (well, almost!).

After the walk, I feel better in my room with the door closed and the lamp on. Outside my window, the rhythmic hum of Old Cheney sounds less like traffic and more like waves.

Now if I could just turn off this laptop...

October 22, 2010

Back-up Plan

I'm learning.

My drive on Old Cheney Road helped me reset my compass. My gut was telling me to rethink UNL grad school. The back-up plans (in case I don't get accepted to UNL) were sounding better than the plan. Red flag.

What began as a private back-up plan has now made the leap from my brain to my blog. Graduate school in the Southwest. I'm thinking Arizona and New Mexico. I'm thinking TESOL, Applied Linguistics, or this program called Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies. Even I couldn't come up with a title that sounds more Jena than that last one.

What about UNL? Well, no word on acceptance yet, but I applied and I learned. My resume and personal statement read something like, "ESL, ESL, ESL...I really want to be a teacher, but I can be a businessperson, no problem." When there are roughly one million choices, it's hard to know where to begin. I met an interesting person, applied to a program that was totally unexpected, and I learned something about what I want.

I want to go West. I want graduate school. I want adventure.

Check back next week...may have new back-up plan taking over.

October 19, 2010

Old Cheney Road

In true No Coffee, No Workee style, today was pretty desperate until I splurged on a soy latte.

Coffee in the cup holder, I decided to get over my self-pity with a little help from unpaved roads. It's something I learned in Kearney--passing city limit signs and stirring up a little dust is good for the soul. Today I saw green fields dotted with massive country homes. I noticed the old telephone poles, eerie as always.  I spotted cattle grazing, and I even saw an old corn picker. But the big sky with its wind-whipped clouds stole the show again.

Coffee, drivee, thinkee.

Something about the expanse of the prairie always clears my head. Or maybe it was the caffeine. No matter, I'll take a moment of clarity where I can get it. I've got my eye a pair of cowboy boots at The Fort (Western Outfitters), and my heart is set on a journey westward.

October 17, 2010

...or I could go to Europe.

I'm a major flight risk. Something isn't sitting right with my current plan of attack in Lincoln, Nebraska U.S.A. Jobwise, things aren't exactly falling into place, and schoolwise, well, my application has been submitted.

My boyfriend (currently pursuing a doctorate in Belgium) says, "you should come to Europe," and I think he's on to something.

I imagine cathedrals and cobblestones and little tables with foamy lattes. I smell baguettes and sausage. I eavesdrop on private conversations in languages I don't understand (yet!). Oh, the wonder of Europe, that cultural center of cool, home of the man-capri and the people who speak 4 languages.

As I think back fondly to my study abroad in Graz, Austria, I wonder why I came back. Europe is the ultimate backdrop for reading and writing. I imagine how fun it would be to find a new city to explore. I try to justify my longing for a place ticket with something totally unreasonable--getting my Master's in Europe. I have looked into this option before, but always chickened out because of the extra work involved (getting a visa from the most bureaucratic nations on Earth...). I am able to overlook that necessary evil at the moment. Taking a more practical angle, I assess my existing education, interests, and even ancestory. Only a few generations ago, my family cam from Germany and Scandinavia. I like tall people with Germanic accents. How many years have I already invested in learning German? It's ten, but who's counting...besides me?

Compared to Cambodia, this idea is pretty safe. I'm getting restless here in my castle. It's time to wander. Or, less romantic, time to plan a wander that could eventually take place.

October 11, 2010

On why I need to find another part-time job ASAP

Any NCIS fans out there?

I've just figured out why I've never seen any movies my friends ask me about. I'm too busy watching crime drama re-runs on USA. Between mega-marathons of  Law and Order, I watch NCIS, a show about military-related crime set in Washington, D.C.

My favorite character on NCIS is Ziva David, former Mossad Assassin. She's a badass Israeli who speaks a handful of useful languages and has a widow's peak hairline. Plus, she can kill someone with a well-placed strike of the hand--or gun.

While I watch the NCIS gang stick it to the bad guys, I stick it to store-bought blankets with my crochet hook. My afghan is really coming along thanks to Ziva and company.

Now that I sound like a nerdy and pathetic 23-year-old, I want to divert your attention to the people who have written a Wikipedia biography of Ziva--the fictional character. Those people really need a hobby and/or job. Maybe something not yarn-related.

October 4, 2010

From Cambodia to Cowgirl

I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but I've got a real hankerin' for a Country Western lifestyle.

The Bolo Tie makes a comeback

While I did know and lipsync the entirity of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" at a recent wedding reception, I had to sit out the "Boot Scootin' Boogie" because I didn't know the line dance. During other country songs, I looked on as the cowboys in attendance gracefully whipped young women around the dancefloor. For years I've been running from my rodeo roots in Wyoming, but I'm starting to understand the appeal.

There's nothing like a pair of jeans that have molded to the every curve of your can of Copenhagen. Cowboy boots look pretty sharp if you've got a shining belt buckle. I'm still accepting the Bolo tie, but who doesn't like a wing collered shirt tucked into a clean pair of black Wranglers?

I think it's high time I look to the West for my next reinvention. Fire up the pick-up truck, put on some George Straight and head for the sunset.