Monday, August 23, 2010

...In With the New

The purge is complete!

I wish I could have done more but I started teaching today so I wanted to have a "final product" by now. The clothing was the biggest and best accomplishment of the week. I donated SEVEN trash bags and have about another half a bag for my sister. :)

Books are going to friends and family as well as the thrift store. I threw away the crap and cleaned and organized.

Everyone was right. It was a cleansing experience (no pun intended). ;)

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and help. :) It was a good thing and I hope to spend more time throughout the semester cleaning, organizing and just simplifying.

Tomorrow is my 25th birthday so expect another post! Probably a deeper, more reflective one on my past quarter of a century. lol.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Out with the Old...

The time has come... well... it's actually been a long time comin. Anyone who has been to my apartment knows. It's pathetic. I'm on the cusp of being 25 years old and my living space looks similar to an exploded frat house. I'm tired of living like this. I remember a time when I was fairly neat. Now granted, I have ALWAYS been a pack rat. If I bought something I assume that I will use it... why would I get rid of it if I spent my hard earned money on it? The mentality comes from not having a bunch of money growing up and still currently struggling to make ends meat. As such it seems preposterous for me to get rid of my things when I can't afford to replace them. However, I have reached the point of mental break. I cannot come home from work every day to this and feel happy. I don't live like an established adult and it needs to end.

So here is what is going to happen. I have less than a week before the Fall semester starts for me. With it I will be teaching six classes which is ridiculous. However, it is a necessary evil to afford a Northern Virginia lifestyle. So this week will be spent doing the following:


- Clothing Purge
* Parameters: The clothing must fit comfortably on me or be ONE size smaller (I'm still gonna attempt to get back down to 138). Also, if it does not fit comfortably in the dressers or closet it is gone. If it has holes or is faded it goes. If I have not worn it in a year it goes. All clothing that is out will be donated to the Clocktower Thrift in Centreville and any else that may fit my sister will be shipped to her.

- Syllabi x3
* Parameters: Three syllabi will be started today for COMM 100 at GMU. The templates are established so all that changes are dates and a few assignment types. These should be complete by midnight of Day 1

- Book Purge
* Parameters: This is heartbreaking, but I have too many books for the space I live in. As such some need to be purged. If I have duplicates the one in worse shape goes. If they are borrowed (read or not) they are returning to the owner. If I am just not going to get to it and I know it they go. If they are classics that I won't reread for a while or have no space for they will be boxed and sent back to my father's home for storage.

- Syllabi x2
* Parameters: Two syllabi for CST 110 Annandale should be started. They use a new book so I should email office admin about using a different text or getting a copy of the new book. Assignments and dates should be updated and compared to my roommates from the summer (she taught from the new book). Should be complete by Day 3

- Knicknack Purge
* Parameters: Lets face it. I own useless shit. Kitchy shit. And I like it. I do. But I don't have space for all of it. Thus, if it is something I would have liked in high school or undergrad and would NOT have bought now then it goes. If it does not fit my bedroom decor it goes. If it has sincere sentimental value but doesn't fit it will be stored at my father's home. The wall photos will be organized. Complete the concert ticket frame and hang it. If it makes the room look cluttered it's going.

- Syllabi x1
* Parameters: Last syllabi for CST 110 Woodbridge will be updated. A template exists so I'll just update dates and assignments. Should be complete by end of Day 3.

- Bath and Body Purge
* Parameters: In case there was any confusion, I'm a woman. I have moments of girlishness. As such I own far too many bath and body products. It looks Bath and Bodyworks has exploded in my bathroom and extends to my bedroom. If it has not been used in 6 months it goes. If it is expired it goes. If it does not fit comfortably under my sink or on my vanity it goes. I don't need 10 body lotions, 4 shampoos or old face creams that didn't work. Get rid of it. Now! If the makeup is old it goes. If it's a garish color or about to run out it goes.

- Jewelry Purge
* Parameters: I keep things that I don't like. I have crap from exboyfriends I can't stand. It is getting sold. I will collect anything of value that I don't like and sell it. Any costume jewelry that I don't wear normally will go. If any of you want to look at this stuff you are welcome to it. Just post a comment and let me know. All family and sentimental jewelry will be saved and put in my large jewelry case that I DON'T USE! All jewels that I wear weekly will go in ONE jewelry box in my bathroom for normal wear. All other jewelry boxes will be stored or donated.

- Assignment Prep

* Parameters: All assignments/activities for the fall term will be made today and organized. All syllabi and assignment documents will be placed on the computer in ORGANIZED files.

I don't expect my life to be perfectly organized after this, but I do expect to see an 80% improvement from where I am now. I need to change my focus to PhDs and enjoying my life and saving money. I can't do that if I'm constantly surrounded by crap. I'll update at the end of each day to say what has changed and what is left. I think this blog gives me a little responsibility to do this and to do it right. :) Words of support are always helpful and if you are interested in any of my trash, be my guest to make it your treasure. :)

Here goes nothing...


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay..."

The title quote is the opening line of "Finnegan's Wake" by James Joyce written just as so - as if the sentence started before the book because it does. It's a cycle. Never ending...

I wrote the following to Christopher Newport University yesterday upon hearing of the passing of a great mentor and professor to me - Dr. Tracey Schwarze. She lost a very brave battle to cancer. As the few of you who read this like to know what is going on in my life and my head, I will share this bit with you here.

I am writing this with a heavy heart. I am not sure if this is who or where I should send this letter to but I hope it reaches a broader audience than just myself. I had the privilege of being taught by Dr. Schwarze during my tenure at CNU from 2003-2007. She became a mentor to me in the English Department, and pushed me to seek further in higher education. Partly due to her guidance I am seeking out PhD programs, and am currently an adjunct professor at George Mason University.

Dr. Schwarze was more than just another professor to me and to many in my cohort. She was a ball of energy and intellect wrapped up in a spunky professor with a passion for literature and culture. She gave me and a few others a very rare opportunity by taking us to Dublin, Ireland in the Summer of 2005. I recently sat on my apartment patio and realized it was the 5 year anniversary of that trip. Five years ago, Tracey (as she made me call her from that trip forward), my best friend Kristen and I sat on a hotel patio in Dublin and watched the night sky; discussing James Joyce and life in general. That trip had a huge impact on me and it is still something that I talk about frequently. I have never been back to Ireland since, but I can remember every aspect of the journey. From that first day in Ireland, Tracey was determined for all of our group to get the most out of the experience. As such, an hour after landing she had us load our stuff onto a bus and climb up the side of a cliff. I'm not kidding. A cliff. And she just traipsed along with 3" heeled boots without a care in the world and without expelling a heavy breath. As a 20-year-old college student I was gasping and panting and felt like falling off the side of the cliff just so I wouldn't have to continue to the top. But that's really how Tracey approached life. She didn't see the daunting task ahead. Instead she just pushed forward with a smile and a sincere determination... all the while enjoying the scenery. She loved life. The trip to Ireland made that evident. She took us sightseeing and out to eat different cuisine every night. We sat in on her lectures at the James Joyce School and could just feel her passion for her work. It was the trip of a lifetime.

After I graduated in 2007 I kept up with Tracey from time to time and told her about my work in graduate school as a communication student. All the while I continued to write and to read the works of Joyce... keeping her in mind. We lost touch a little over a year ago and honestly I did not know that she had fallen ill. I would imagine though, that she battled her illness with the same determination and forward thinking as that cliff in Howthe, Ireland.

All alumni and current students who had the honor of working with Dr. Schwarze will certainly remember her zeal for teaching and trailblazing. I remember we would sit in the classroom waiting for her to arrive for lecture and we could always hear her coming long before she walked through the doorway. She wore amazing high-heeled shoes that clicked and popped down the halls of Ratcliffe. They were always fast, upbeat steps. She never trudged through life. She took it all in stride.

It is with a heavy heart but a peaceful mind that I send this out. I am certainly happy that Tracey is no longer in any pain and that she is surely in a better place. I hope the good Lord likes Ulysses or at least has read the Cliffs Notes... because if I know anything, she's going up there with a quiz in hand.

All my best,

Megan H. L. Tucker
Christopher Newport University Class of 2007
Communication Studies

I believe that for Tracey, I'll dust off my copy of Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses and give it another whirl. I challenge each of you to do the same if ever you can.

"One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age."
-- Dubliners, "The Dead"