Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Tricky

Today I was thinking about which of the items on the 30B430 list would be the most challenging. Initially I thought it would be the flash mob, but that one seemed to come together. That leaves a few others in the running.

First, there is #6 Run a Half Marathon. That will be physically challenging, especially with the amount of training it requires. I certainly can't put it off until the last minute.

A number of items also involve traveling, including #8 Use my passport, #9 Take a classic American road trip, #16 Visit a state I've never been to before, and #29 Go to Las Vegas. To accomplish each of those, it will involve a minimum of two trips. More likely three, because driving all the way to Las Vegas doesn't sound like the best use of my funds. The challenge with the traveling is fitting that many trips into a year and four months - especially since one requires international travel.

Another challenge that I'm currently staring down is the Man v. Food Challenge (#22). If I interpret that literally, I would have approximately 79 food challenges to choose from. However, only one of them is in Milwaukee. So I either need to eat this or commit to traveling. I'm not opposed to hitting the road (especially since there are a few trips that need to happen anyway. However I could also attempt a MVF-like challenge, and stick to this list of Milwaukee Food Challenges.

As I think about what type of challenge that I'd be willing to attempt, I'm noticing that they seem to fall into a few categories: spicy, lots of dairy, big pizza, lots of meat, lots of burger/sandwich, lots of breakfast, and the occasional lots of taco/burrito/nacho or seafood. Plus most involve speed due to the time element. Spicy is out. Can't do it. Dairy is also out - Food is almost always guaranteed to win that one, especially if it involves a brain freeze from ice cream. A meat challenge (typically a big steak) seems to involve a lot of chewing, and probably the meat sweats. So that narrows down the list quite a bit. I think I should probably start training my stomach. This one may not be great for my goal to get in shape and lose weight...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I PASSED! #13 is complete.

I could not have been more excited to get the call yesterday. I passed my comprehensive exams!

That test was by far one of the hardest that I have ever taken, so join me in a collective sigh (phew!) and a big loud WAHOOOOO!

A big congrats to the other test takers, who also all passed. People often think that the test cannot be that big of a deal if everyone passes. However, each person worked so hard for that test. It was by no means a gimme.

I suppose I'll bask in this joy a little bit longer before returning to all of the work still ahead. Today I feel smart. But all it takes is pulling out the latest version of my dissertation proposal to go back to feeling like a dummy. Yeah...I'll stick with feeling smart for now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hail to the Chief

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the Inauguration of UWM's eighth Chancellor, Michael R. Lovell.

As I mentioned earlier, there was a week of Inauguration events leading up to the event. While at the Lovell*Palooza Meet and Greet, I was asked by a student, "What is a Chancellor?" Huh. Never had to explain that one before. I stumbled over..."Well, he's the CEO of the university....sort of like the president..." Can you think of a better explanation?

The inauguration was really cool. When you think about the length of time that many university and college presidents and chancellors hold their positions, it really is a unique opportunity to see an inauguration. I don't watch American Idol, but apparently one of the top ten contestants last season, Naima Adedapo, was a UWM student. She sang the National Anthem at the event. Check out the video from UWM news - her voice is just beautiful!

There were a lot of speeches. We're talking longer than your typical graduation. But each guest had wonderful things to say about the Chancellor. His own speech was also very touching.

One of the coolest parts was a video that showed how faculty and students came together to create the Chancellor's medallion. It is tradition that each chancellor or president wears one at formal university occasions (convocation, graduation, etc.). The one created for Chancellor Lovell is anything but traditional...

(Video courtesy of UWM News)

Really cool, right?! I love how it represents both his Engineering background and the city of Milwaukee. Very modern and appropriate for the times. It is an exciting time to be at the university!

Best wishes to Chancellor Lovell in his new role!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

30B430 Book #5: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

Finished the last Lisbeth Salander book. Done and done. 

Once you start a trilogy, there is really no turning back. After finishing the second book, I couldn't wait to read the last one, especially since it picked up where the last one left off. However, this one I was listening to on Audible, rather than reading the paperback. I have to say - the experience was a little different. Almost disappointing. 

I'm starting to realize that I like to read a book in my own voice. I have my own image of who the characters are and how they speak, generally how the book flows. And listening to someone else read it is just not the same.  I couldn't tell if it was the book or the audio nature, but there wasn't that build in the plot that kept me interested. I have to disagree with those that called it "pulse racing." Kind of a bummer. 

I'm debating if it makes more sense to stick to non-fiction for my audio books. I've heard great things about Rob Lowe's autobiography. Maybe that will be my next bus book. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Party Rockers in the House Tonight (aka #21 Be in a Flash Mob)

Check #21 off the list!

That's right. This girl was in a flash mob. I can't promise that my dancing was very good, but it was a ton of fun and I was very excited to be able to offer the opportunity for our students who were interested (and much better dancers).

I thought this one would be one of the hardest to pull off, but then an opportunity just sort of presented itself...

So here are the details. Earlier this semester, I was invited to sit on a committee that would be planning events for the Chancellor's inauguration that would specifically get students involved. Everyone came up with fantastic ideas, including a meet and greet, a fun photo contest, an "Are You Smarter than the Chancellor" game show, a service day, and a interactive lab (because he is a former faculty member). Oh yeah, and a flash mob.

One of my colleagues and I volunteered to take on the flash mob, thinking it would be the easiest of the events to plan, especially since we were both new. New, and maybe also a little naive. Just recruit some students, find a choreographer, arrange a practice or two, and we'd be good to go. Except that apparently it is challenging to recruit students to perform in the middle of the school day. And to get all of those details to come together.

But we persevered and pulled it off with a group that was small but mighty. We couldn't have done it without the help of the Panther Dance Team, who did all of the choreography and instruction. And everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. Yeah!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I have returned from St. Louis and my test is done. It was probably the most challenging test that I have ever taken. And boy, did it wipe me out. I'm still recovering and slowly become less of a zombie. Just given me one moment while I turn my brain back on. Now I just have to patiently wait for my results for the next month or so... I would really love to check passed my comps (#13) off the list!

Speaking of zombies - now that all my studying is done, it is time to start planning for a Halloween costume! Halloween is probably my favorite holiday of the year. I firmly believe in homemade, creative, and non-slutty costumes. In fact, my inspiration most often comes from costumes intended for small children. In the past, I have been the statue of liberty, a pig, the tooth fairy, and most recently Princess Peach in a group of Mario and friends. For this year, I have found a number of great ideas on Pinterest including:

This mermaid costume. Check out the amazing tail, made with cupcake liners! (Picture originally from here)

This adorable sheep! This may be a winner - black shirt, leggings, and a hoodie covered in hundreds of cotton balls - sold! (Photo originally from here)
I love the washing machine. So cute.  Although I'm feeling like a box could be a little bulky. (Photo originally from here).

I had to pin this photo, because my sister is an alumna of Chi Omega. Such a cute owl costume! (Photo originally found here).

Gotta love the gingerbread man costume. Totally makes me think of Shrek. (Photo originally found here).

I hope it doesn't seem creepy that these are all kids costumes. I promise I'm not a weirdo, just a big kid at heart who really hates most all adult costumes are typically pretty trashy. Looks like it's time to do some crafting...

On another note, I can check #21 off the list. More details to come soon!

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's the Final Countdown

It's here! My exam is tomorrow.

It's challenging to prepare mentally for six hours in front of a computer, typing everything I know about higher education into coherent essays.  I have run through notecards, practiced outlining, and written out practice questions. At this point, I think I have crammed in all of the information that I can. And now I just have to be able to spit it back out and have it make sense.

I've got my snacks packed, my comfy clothes laid out, and my alarm set. It's go time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Honey Badger says...

On Wisconsin!

Okay, not a honey badger...a Wisconsin Badger. Which just may be hotter than the honey badger right now.... That's right, my boys are #4/#5 in the country. Take that honey badger. You might be pretty bad ass, but so is Bucky. 

Study, Study, Study

I have taken over my mom's dining room and am using it as a study den. This means that the french doors have become a makeshift timeline for the history of higher education. Works pretty well.

What doesn't work well...

Yup, one of the cats (because I currently live with four), vommed on my study materials. Yep. Gross.

None of them have fessed up yet. I am less than pleased. How will I study how colleges work? I guess that means I should skip that part. Take that Birnbaum!

It would really be helpful to have a little more motivation right now. 

Six days and counting...

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