Semi Random Musings from my World

Hopefully the title to my blog is not a misnomer.  According to my Webster’s New World Dictionary (which is honestly older than some of my friends, with yellowing pages that give it the mark of true character), the word musing comes from the word muse, which means to meditate, or to say or think meditatively.  This blog really will not be meditative, but that type of writing is definitely something that I would enjoy on another day.  So, I’ve been itching to write a new blog for a while, even if my readership is small, but growing, and I have YET to get my first real non-spam comment (SHAMELESS PLUG- real comments are appreciated!!!! Please feel free to comment!!!!  I would greatly appreciate that…..and, unfortunately, none of my close friends are on WordPress yet, thus I am pretty sure that they cannot comment).  Tonight, I had a deep, insightful blog in mind that I was going to write, with a rough working title of “Transparency vs. Privacy, Digitally Speaking”, however I hope I will not disappoint when I say that my mind has been pondering many random musings of late…..none earth shattering, and I’m not trying to win the Pulitzer Prize or anything….but I just feel like sharing musings from my world.  With you.  My much appreciated reader in this new venture of “Julie meets WordPress”.  Please know that when I am able to do justice to weightier topics and ponderings, then I will.

On to the musings, in no particular order of importance.

1.  I talked to my Dad tonight, and I am so excited that he is coming down to visit me this Sunday, because we have tickets for the Illinois vs. Iowa basketball game on 2/26.  I enjoy basketball and I actually used to play in 5th and 7th grade, until I got tired of running suicide drills just to be a bench warmer while all the popular kids got to play.  Too bad, too, because I was just starting to get good at free throws around that time.  I still enjoy a game of horse now and again with my Dad, but we don’t get the opportunity to do that much these days.  But, back to the Illini- I have only seen an Illini basketball game once, when my friend’s brother won free tickets at a bar and she called me to go.  It was really fun.  This time around it will be fun in a different way, because it will be bonding with my Dad, he grew up in Iowa,  and I am now a staff member at the University of Illinois.  I figure now I will relate more, and, to be 100% honest, I used to have issues with the University of Illinois, and I also had some judgments that were not so great.  I admit it.   That was back when I had roommates who went to the University of Illinois, and some of them kind of acted like I wasn’t smart because I had gone to a “lesser” university….I don’t like that kind of thing, that type of elitism.  However, I was personally convicted, and I had to check my attitude, too, with the University of Illinois (although, one valid issue that I do still have today with the University of Illinois is that it caters to the wealthy and privileged students, often leaving the middle- and lower-class students out of the amazing, and yet high-priced education, that is the University of Illinois.  I believe it should be that ALL voices matter and beautiful strength exists in DIVERSITY. This trancends one particular socio-economic class).  But, fast forward to today: now I work at the University of Illinois.  Funny how things work out, isn’t it?  Sometimes life is pretty surprising.

Logo of Illinois Fighting Illini.

Go Fighting Illini! Beat Iowa!

2.  I want to get back into bowling.  I used to love bowling as a child, and I had fun going bowling with a few friends recently on my birthday.  I had no idea though how bowling prices had skyrocketed. Our price for one game of bowling was over $5, plus a couple of dollars for shoes.  Since we played two games, the cost really started to add up. It did get me thinking though about looking into ordering a new pair of bowling shoes.  I had a pair of bowling shoes for many years that I was given as a gift, and they were great.  My budget was a big fan of me having my own shoes, too.  However, the only problem with having your own shoes is that people actually expect you to be good, imagine that.  My bowling scores run a wild gamut, and when I have been out of practice, as I was on my birthday….well, let’s just say too bad it wasn’t bumper bowling.  Also, Wii bowling is NOT the same thing as real bowling, might I add. In case you want to see a picture of my new bowling shoes (currently on order), here they are (Author’s note- these shoes are not my first choice….the super cute pink and purple shoes were discontinued…..what can I say, life is not fair.  This is my attempt at humor, in case you are wondering).

Dexter- Ana. My new bowling shoes. Just don't ask me what I bowled recently!

3.  I think Twitter seems pretty cool.  I am not sure if I am concise enough for Twitter though.  I love elaboration.  I love details.  Twitter seems like a short burst of thought, but I like the stories along with the thoughts.  Still, Twitter is a social media platform that has a vast amount of potential.  I find it interesting the Michelle Obama got on Twitter last month.  And I just read an interesting article about the POPE and Twitter.  Hint: the article involves the Pope, who is more Twitter- hip than I am (yes, I am pretty sure that I did just coin the term “Twitter-hip”).  The article centers around how the Pope is utilizing Twitter to save Lent.  (If you are interested, link to it here: http://news.yahoo.com/pope-takes-twitter-save-lent-142734143.html)

I DO think Twitter has its cautions though, as does everything.  Too many people let social media dictate and invade their lives, rather than let it enrich their lives.  Don’t ask me what I think of Facebook.  That is probably a story for another blog.  (Although I have a feeling that one day I will break down, over all my objections and concerns, and get on Facebook.  It is a social media platform that has some stellar strengths, but yet many perils and also intellectual property concerns).  As far as Twitter though, I think common courtesy is important.  I remember one time a friend of mine (who I am rarely able to hang out with because she is so busy and she has kids) was off in her own world posting pictures to Twitter about the event we were just at, rather than enjoying our precious time together to reconnect.  On second thought, maybe it was Facebook she was posting pictures to, but I am pretty sure she said Twitter.  But she missed out, in my opinion.  Maybe we ALL miss out sometimes, rather than living life and being in the moment, we let it pass us by….sometimes as we are so busy commenting, or “liking” things, or just plain missing  the moment.  Something to think about for us all.

Free twitter badge

Image via Wikipedia

I have lots more semi random musings, but this post is already longer than I expected with only THREE semi random musings from my world.  Wow, if I do decide to make the plunge and get on Twitter, then that DEFINITELY AND ASSUREDLY will be a challenge for me.  Peace out.

On the Eve of Valentine’s Day

A treehouse in Marayur, Kerala, India

When I was growing up, I lived on 18 acres in the country and we had a creek that ran through the woods…..that was definitely pretty cool….but I must say a major childhood disappointment of mine is that I never did get the horse that I longed for when we moved from the city to the country when I was in grade school.  Back then, I subscribed to Horse Illustrated, wanted an Arabian (one of the most beautiful horses, in my opinion), and I loved Black Beauty and the Black Stallion.  We also had a tree house which was neat….and then of course I also thought it was fun to build a fort with couch cushions and blankets.  But, here I am digressing…and if you are wondering what building forts (with couch cushions or otherwise) has to do with being on the eve of Valentine’s Day….well, then I guess you will have to bear with me.  Don’t forts and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand?  I have always thought so.  Just kidding!

Seriously, I think the reason I used to build forts out of couch cushions was because I was attempting to be safe and secure when my world had sort of fallen apart.  I think I wanted to “hide”(important side note: what concerns me is that sometimes I still see this tendency in myself, to hide, and that is something that I am attempting to break out of).  So, my parent’s divorced when I was five, and one of my earliest childhood memories was waking up to my parent’s in a huge fight and sitting on opposite ends of the family couch….and then my Dad leaving with his suitcase in hand the next day.  Honestly, every child longs to know they are loved and to know they have a family that they can lean on through thick and thin.  Divorce makes the security of a family unstable, i.e. that when the going gets hard, your family falls apart and marriage vows get thrown out the window.  When my Dad left our family, it was really sad.  I think for me it was like no longer having a security net. It did not help that my Mom would constantly bad-mouth my Dad, and sometimes it seemed like I was the ping-pong ball going back and forth between them.  Add in having to deal with family conflicts related to holidays and the added challenges of step-parents and you have a lot for a child to emotionally process, especially at a formative young age.

As you may suspect, my parent’s divorce PROFOUNDLY shaped my life and my childhood.  Sometimes, even today, it is really hard for me to imagine what it is actually like for someone to have 2 parents who are actually married, stay together, and are happy.  I wonder what it is like to not have to be a human ping-pong ball between 2 households?  I wonder what it is like to be a “functional family?”  Does anyone even know?  You only ever hear of “dysfunctional” families.  Personally, I think we need to talk more about family strengths and about the “functional” family.  I desire to know more about families where marriages thrive and are beautiful, healthy, and whole.  Since my family on both sides has a fair number of divorces and broken hearts, I eventually realized that I needed to cognitively search out marriages that I admired, which would give me hope and inspiration.  This was a good idea, and I think helped me to fill in the gaps, so to speak, in order to encourage me in my views of marriage and enabled me to have a more positive, healthy mindset (not a fear-based one….which can be hard sometimes, if I am being real).

Finally, being on the Eve of Valentine’s Day makes me think of love and joy and marriage.  I am not trying to be a “downer” with this post, and I know that it is nowhere near a typical Valentine’s Day post.  I do want to mention that Valentine’s Day is a beautiful time to express the sweet appreciation that married couples and dating couples should be showing to each other all year round.  It is so important to not take one another for granted….every day is a special, amazing gift….and kind words like “I love you”, “I appreciate you”, or “you make me smile” may just be what a spouse or significant other is longing to hear.  Some people also enjoy gifts, such as flowers, chocolates , or Teddy bears.  Valentine’s Day is also a good day for children to know how much they are loved by their parents and other people in their lives.  Essentially, while some individuals are jaded about Valentine’s Day, perhaps due to bitter break-ups and various hurts, and others lament about it being a “Hallmark holiday”, I believe that Valentine’s Day is a nice time for kind words, love, and appreciation.  May all who read this know they are loved and cared about.  Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine’s Day… (Photo credit: Јerry)