Two years is more than a hockey season

•May 1, 2011 • 4 Comments

The tag line is a reference to one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies, A Few Good Men.

In the scene, Tom Cruise just finished telling his clients that he reduced their jail sentence to six months.  “It’s a hockey season!” he says.  He is implying that this length of time isn’t that bad.

Since first watching A Few Good Men with my Dad years ago, he always uses this line with me regardless of the time frame…

Three years of teaching- Dad: “It’s a hockey season!”

One year of temping- Dad: “It’s a hockey season!”

Four months to wait to hear back from grad schools-Dad: “It’s a hockey season!”

Okay.  I get the point: In the grand scheme, these are really tiny little specks of time and shouldn’t be worried about.

With that I am happy to report that my most recent “hockey season” is over: a.k.a. the past two years of grad school.

This season didn’t come without a few down and out, gloves-off fights at center rink or a few turns in the penalty box.  But looking back on things now, I feel like the Stanley Cup Champ, and I’m taking a victory lap with the Cup above my head.

Here’s why…

Totally cool culminating event #1:

The 170 page project that I’ve been poring over for the past four months was passed by my four person committee of professors.  Masters degree officially earned!

The toughest question they asked: “What’s next for you, Kathleen?”

My answer:

“I realize that I made this experience a lot harder than it had to be.  It was of my own doing.  For the past two years, I’ve been in hot pursuit of the answer to that tough life question.  I think its about time I sat back, relaxed and let some of those answers come to me for a change.”

They’re response:

Dead silence.  Crickets.  I stumped the unstumpable.

Well, I would say, “Good answer, Majorsky.  Well played.”

The ambiguity of my answer bothers them far more than it bothers me.  So I’m going to do exactly that: Sit back, relax and celebrate what I just accomplished.  The answers will come.

Totally cool culminating event #2:

Attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as a scholarship winner.

Here’s a little play-by-play…

-On the way there part of my dress got stuck in the taxi door.  It ripped off.  Bad. Upon arriving to the Hilton in DuPont, my friend VA and I made a beeline for the gift shop to buy safety pins.  VA pinned me up.  Crisis averted. Phew!

-We road the escalator down to the “Cabinet Room.” This is where our special reception was being held.  Who was chilling on the escalator right in front of us?  Arianna Huffington. Turns out she was going to the same reception.  I later rubbed elbows with her as I was getting a refill on wine.

-Once in the “Cabinet Room,” we saw Seth Meyers-the host of the dinner and the head writer for Saturday Night Live.  Of course we got a pic.

Mizzou grad buddies and Seth Meyers!

We also got pics with…

Us with Sean Penn

Feel like I should start watching Glee now

Jane Lynch from Glee

And of course the big one with the Prez and First Lady.  That pic will have to come from the White House Press Association.

It was a heady experience to be waiting in the pic line with celebs.  For a moment, we were all on the same playing field.

The Prez and the First Lady are a lot thinner in person. Just FYI.

The President congratulated me, and said I looked beautiful 🙂

Mrs. Obama told me to keep up the hard work.

Pic taken.

Then I was shuffled along into the ballroom.

The next part you can watch on CSPAN

The part that you won’t see, but probably was my favorite because it was so heartfelt and sincere:

When we came off of the stage, Steve Buscemi stopped each one of us and shook our hands.  Totally unexpected, but totally awesome of him.

I’m pretty sure it is going to take me a week or two to wrap my head around the awesomeness of last night.  Pinch me.

What a way to end my hockey season.  Now you can understand why I feel like the Stanley Cup Champ skating around the arena with the Cup high above my head 🙂

Finally, I would just like to thank y’all for your love, support, prayers and encouragement over the past two years.  You all mean the world to me.  Those of you who know me well, know that whatever is coming up next will be a crazy, fun, totally amazing adventure because, of course, that’s how I roll.  As long as I always keep in mind:

“Eh, it’s a hockey season.”  😉

Lots of love,

Kathleen

Advertisements

“A quote sandwich”

•November 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Bun: “Many live in dread of what is coming. Why should we? The unknown puts adventure into life…The unexpected around the corner gives a sense of anticipation and surprise.  Thank God for the unknown future.”

Meat: I’ve been off of the blogging radar this semester, and I apologize.  It has been a truly crazy 14 weeks.  But as I’m wrapping things up in the last two weeks, I wanted to give everyone an update.

Since I’ve been incommunicado, I’m also hitting you with two quotes for your reflective pleasure: The buns of my post 🙂

First, major theme of my life/semester: Stop planning.

Seriously. Planning has proven to me time and time again to be a fruitless venture.  God really likes to hit me over the head with this one.  I really need to open up and listen to this lesson.  I’m starting to get a pretty serious bump on my noggin!

Unplanned head knocking event #1:

Went in a totally different direction for my project research than I thought.  Oh well. Maybe a PhD? There just isn’t enough time in my day to study all of the cool things that interest me.

Unplanned head knocking event #2:

I’m going back to D.C., and I’m excited about it. Intuitively, I feel like I’m not finished with D.C. I’m holding my breath with anticipation and excitement for what this city has in store for me next.

Unplanned head knocking event #3:

The internship I got for my masters project. I will be an external relations intern for a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that specializes in national security.  I AM BEYOND EXCITED. This is my chance to do some good stuff for the United States.  Finally 🙂 After two pretty intense interviews, I finally feel like I got the cool kid internship.  Sweet.

Yup. Was not expecting any of this.  People say that’s the fun part of life…hmmmmm… 🙂

Bun: “A new adventure is like a double-edged sword: one side sparkles with opportunity; the other reflects our deepest fears.”
Safe travels to all over the holiday season.  Much love to all of you.

Kathleen

a quote to commence the year…

•August 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

“I found every single successful person I’ve ever spoken to had a turning point. The turning point was when they made a clear, specific unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore; they were going to achieve success. Some people make that decision at 15 and some people make it at 50, and most people never make it all. ”
— Brian Tracy

It’s go time.

“The ambitions we have will become the stories we live.”

•August 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I just finished reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.  The book is about how he started looking at his life in terms of a story.  He didn’t like the story he was living so he changed it.  I am all about living a good story.  Most of you have had conversations with me that started a little something like this: “Have I ever told you about the time…?”  Insert crazy, random event here.  From the visit to my apartment from the Haz-mat unit, to being locked on a balcony for 5 hours…in the rain, to the time I won a radio contest and everything in between.  Between me and those who know me well, I could probably fill five blog posts with those stories.

Well, have I ever told you about the time I spent my summer in Sarasota?  No?  Okay than, here is my Sarasota summer story…

I road tripped through Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to get to Sarasota.  I judged everything but pork in a BBQ contest in Memphis.

I was sun kissed and sun poisoned.

I survived boot camp.  I saw the best view of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota by parasailing.

I spent time alone, and I spent quality time with my parents.  I became someones Aunt.

I stood next to the ocean and was reminded of Who is in control.

I helped set up, and I worked two Sarasota Magazine promotional events.  I conquered name tags, address labels and mail merging.  I interviewed a wonderful Sarasota woman who learned how to take care of herself after her beloved husband passed away.  I interviewed a wonderful young lady who put her own gentle touch on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  I interviewed a CEO who loves his wife, his kids, his job and makes time for all three.  I will have three clips in two different Sarasota publications in September.

I watched two of my favorite people get married.  A dear friend from D.C. came to visit.  I caught up with even more dear friends on my visit to D.C.

I read trashy romance novels on the beach.  I read my Bible more this summer than I ever have in my life.

I met some very “interesting” guys, and I didn’t meet a guy who I thought would be interesting.

I explored coffee shops, sipped sangria on roof tops, watched fireworks on the bay, and I flirted mercilessly with bartenders.  I tried oysters, grouper bites and alligator for the first time.  I was fed exotic cocktails by a saucy, Italian mixologist.

I sped from the beach and had to go to Florida traffic school because of it.

I devoured half of the largest and most delicious coconut cream pie I’ve ever tasted.

I met the friendliest old people on the planet, and some younger folks who weren’t so friendly.

I spent every Saturday morning at Sarasota’s farmer’s market feasting on breakfast burritos and drinking iced coffees to my hearts content.

I had dance parties in my living room.

I laughed, laughed and laughed some more.

But despite all of the fun, I realized that Sarasota will be a great place to visit my parents, but not a place for me to live at this stage of the game.  This story may be revisited in the future, but not immediately.

Here’s a little insight from Donald’s book that explains why…

“And I found myself wanting even better stories.  And that’s the thing you realize when you organize your life into the structure of story.  You’ll get a taste for one story and then want another, and then another, and the stories will build until you’re living a kind of epic of risk and reward, and the whole thing will be molding you into the actual character whose roles you’ve been playing.  And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to the meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.” page 155

And so my story continues…

With one foot in Florida, one foot in Missouri and feet in all of the states in between I send you my love,

Kathleen

“Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: You find the present tense and the past perfect”

•June 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

An old soul goes hand in hand with a bit of nostalgia.  Today, I got nostalgic for my travels abroad in college.

I had lunch in the most darling French cafe here in Sarasota.  I was big-bear hugged by the romantic sounds of the French language as I entered Cest La Vie.  The entire wait staff was speaking French to one another.  I was charmed by their accents as I ordered my crepe.

On the menu for breakfast, there was a pretty standard French breakfast option: a baguette, butter and jam.

This made me smile.

During my travels abroad, I spent only three days in Paris.  We stayed in a two-star hotel (a major step up from the hostels we had become accustomed to).  Each morning they served us warm baguettes with real butter and orange marmalade.  Heaven. It was so simple and so delicious.

It’s funny how reading a silly little menu item can take you back.

Another memory that came to mind was a bit of advice my Norwegian teaching professor gave us upon our return to Norway after our journey to Italy, France and England.  We were chatting about all of the beautiful things we saw.  Water gardens outside of Rome.  David in Florence. Notre Dame in Paris. Westminster Abbey in London.  We also started in on how naturally beautiful Norway was.

After politely listening to our excited travel chatter, our professor reminded us of something important.  She said, “Don’t forget about the United States.  There is so much beauty in your country.  You Americans take it for granted.  Promise me you will seek out the beauty in your own country when you return.”

When I returned to the U.S., I made it my mission to do just that.  I have traveled to pretty much every major city on the West coast: from San Diego to Seattle.  From the central coast of California and the beauty and splendor of such places like the Hearst Castle, the San Francisco Bay and Napa Valley to the magnificent shoreline of the Oregon coast.  I have hiked the Grand Canyon and the less intimidating, but nonetheless just as beautiful Shenandoah National Park.  I have found beauty in the middle of Washington D.C. and New York City.  I have found it on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis.  It is there in the sleepy beach towns of the Outerbanks in North Carolina, and I have definitely found it on the Gulf coast of Florida.  It is most certainly in Columbia, Missouri.  I even saw it for a brief moment in Louisville, KY.  I found it in the Southern charm of Charleston and Savannah.  It was there in the Smoky Mountains as I passed through Tennessee, and I caught a glimpse of it in Charlotte.

Yes, the United States is a beautiful country, and I will most likely live here for the rest of my life, and I probably still won’t see everything here that is considered beautiful.

But I’m getting itchy.  Itchy to travel overseas again.  The tiny spark that fuels my passion for travel and adventure abroad is getting bigger and bigger as time passes.

I think this new internal nagging has a lot to do with appreciation.  I am older and wiser (questionable ;)), so I think I would appreciate the experience more this time around.  Getting out of the country would also make me appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.  Recently, I have found that sometimes I don’t always notice it, and that makes me kind of sad :p.

So I’m thinking a fun adventure awaits.  I’m not sure how it is all going to happen, but it sure will be fun figuring it all out 🙂

Happy Midsummer!

Lots of Love from SRQ,

Kathleen

The past 24 hours has made my heart smile :)

•May 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sarasota makes me giggle…

I went to a show last night and sat next to the most delightful ladies.  They, of course, were both old enough to be my grandmother, but that didn’t stop me from chatting them up.

We exchanged pleasantries, you know, “what are you doing in Sarasota for the summer?,” “where did you come from?, etc.”  They were uber impressed that I was there by myself.  Well, I’ve never had any qualms about doing fun things by myself, and I hope that never changes even when I become their age 😉

So at one point during the show, the lady sitting closest to me, leans over, with a zip-lock baggy full of Hershey Nuggets and Dove Promises, and asks if I would like one.  For a brief moment, the whole childhood lesson of don’t take candy from strangers shoots across my memory, but then I rationalize that that lesson doesn’t and shouldn’t apply after a certain age, so I accept.  She proceeds to lean over a moment later, laying another candy in front of me and says:  “Here, take another.”

How can I not love someone who brings her own chocolates out to dinner theater?  Amen sista.  Not willing to spend the extra calories or money on a huge dessert, but still wanting something sweet after dinner.  I totally getcha 🙂

A small little observation about older generations in our society: the older one gets the more acceptable quirky behavior becomes.  I feel like there is a tipping point in life when things said and done are okay even if it might seem uncouth to a younger, more critical eye.  Had I brought my own candies out to dinner, I’m pretty sure any one of my friends (who are my age) would have said, “Classy, Kathleen, real classy.” But for the crowd I was chilling with last night, it was totally cool.  he he he… Smiley heart moment number one 🙂

Smiley heart moment number two: My morning adventures at Sarasota’s fantastic farmer’s market.

People were out with their pooches in full force.  Now, I’m not sure of the sanitary implications of having so many dogs in a farmer’s market, but nonetheless, it made for good dog/people watching.

Not only does it seem to be true that dogs take on the physical appearance of their owners (or is it the other way around?), but it seems pets take on the personal attitudes of their owners as well.  This teeny-tiny little old woman with a teeny- tiny little dog marched straight up to a German Shepherd and gave it a piece of her teeny-tiny doggy mind.  I can only imagine the internal dialogue of the German Shepherd “You talking to me?  You talking me? Puh-leeze, I can eat you for breakfast.”  The German Shepherd and its German Shepherd-like owner calmly passed the teeny-tiny dog without a sound.  priceless.

Another dog, a poodle this time, stopped and just about tried to get with every other dog it passed.  Yikers.  Luckily, the gentleman who was the poodle’s owner was friendly, but not that friendly.  he he he.

So how do I fit into this picture?  A pooch-less, youngster, grad student?  Here I am, in the middle of all of this morning chaos, with the sappiest-looking grin on my face, soaking it all up.  What did I learn?  Even though I’m 28 (fairly young in the grand scheme of things), I probably have the oldest soul on the planet, and I love it 🙂

The internship starts on Tuesday, exercise boot-camp is in full swing, and I’m still in hot pursuit of a part-time job.

Good times in Sarasota, thus far, good times.

Much love from the Sunshine State,

Kathleen (old-granny) Majorsky

Final Missouri Musings before Columbia and I break up for the summer

•May 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

One year of grad school done.  Check!  Can y’all believe it?  I feel like I left D.C. 2.5 seconds ago.  Time sure flies…

Final Missouri Musing #1: Missourians take their baseball very, very seriously.

I might be getting a masters in journalism, but my roommates have legit PhD’s in Cardinal baseball.  They make our media seminar discussions seem like small potatoes compared to the intense, philosophical discussions they get into about the Cardinals.  Entering our house during a Cardinals series is kind of like the movie Groundhog’s Day.  Both guys are in the same positions on the couches.  Same glazed-over look on their faces.  Sometimes the score is even the same as the night before.  Every…single…night… Entertaining for a non-baseball fan.  I might not share their Cardinal obsession, but I certainly admire their passion 🙂

Final Missouri Musing: #2 My spring allergies are WORSE in Missouri

It doesn’t matter which part of the country I’ve lived in thus far in my life:  Pennsylvania, Virginia and now Missouri. With each different living situation, it seems that my allergies have progressively gotten worse.  :p  It got so bad in the last couple of weeks that I’ve had some pretty serious nose bleeds as a result of sneezing so much!  People who witness my allergenic episodes always apologize, which I appreciate but it makes me chuckle.  It isn’t their fault.  I kind of want to tell people who are around me when I start in on a sneezing series that I give them permission to just send a blanket “God Bless You” my way because I’m going to be there for a while.  All I know is that wherever I go next, I am definitely nipping this in the bud (oh, pun, definitely intended) and getting allergy shots.

Final Missouri Musing #3: Abundantly published does not equate to good teaching

Eleven of my classmates and I experienced a serious injustice from an extremely well-published, tenured professor.  What does that mean?  We can’t do a darn thing about it.  Oh sure, we’ve met with the proper administrators to air our grievances, and they have all agreed that what we have experienced is unfair.  It is not the first time this professor has done this.  I’m not usually one to stir the pot, but nothing gets my panties in a twist quicker than unfair teaching.  Especially at this level.  Our grades might suffer, but one thing is definitely for sure: the 12 of us are bonded for life.

Final Missouri Musing #4: Small town living is not for me

Oh how I miss city life.  Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely something to be said for life in a small college town.  But at this stage of the game, I’m glad my stay in Columbia is temporary.  A couple of weekends ago, my buds and I ventured to Kansas City for a day in the city and a Royals game (fun, but not as intense as the Cardinals ;)), and it was great wondering the city for a bit.  I miss having choices in terms of culture, entertainment and, of course, restaurants.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Columbia for many many reasons, but I can see how people get stir crazy here.  Oh, and is it weird that I miss traffic?  I went to the mall the other weekend, and I overheard a conversation between two employees of the store I was patronizing.  It went something like this:

Employee #1: “Tiffany just called and said she is going to be a little late.”

Employee #2: “What?!?”

Employee #1: “Yeah, she said she is stuck in traffic.”

I walked away and chuckled to myself.  Traffic in CoMo takes about 5 mins to get through.  Oh sweet, naive, little Columbia, Mo.  They don’t know the first thing about traffic.  Moments like that make me want to pat Columbia on its little head and pinch its cheeks.  Uber cute.

Final Missouri Musing #5: It seems I react to all new experiences exactly how I reacted to my first ride on a roller coaster when I was eight.

Roller coaster context: I was at Kennywood in Pittsburgh with my entire family.  Moms, Pops, brother, aunts, uncles and cousins.  The only person I would go on the Jack Rabbit with (great, old-fashioned wooden roller coaster that jumped off the tracks in the back, probably not safe, but nonetheless legendary) was my Dad.  So my Dad and I get on (in the middle, not in the back for my first time. gulp!).  So I’m about ready to pee my pants when we start heading up the first hill.  I’m not crying, but I’m definitely getting a little anxious.  Anxious enough to start chanting:” Oh God, Oh God, Oh God” as we are reaching the top of the hill.  Then I scream my head off the entire way down.  I do this for every hill.  Now, this roller coaster isn’t that long of a ride, but for my poor Pops, I’m sure it seemed like an eternity.  So the ride is over, and I shakily get out and run for my Mom (I’m dry!).  After a moment of calming down, I turn to my Dad and say:

“Daddy, that was fun.  Can we do it again?”

he he he.  Wasn’t I a stinker?

Grad school context: I’ve had plenty of “Oh God” moments this year, but once I got over some of those hills I started to have some fun.  Enough fun to do it all over again in August 🙂

I wish everyone a fun, fab and safe summer.  I’ll try to keep you up to speed with my Florida goings on 😉

Well, it wouldn’t be a Kathleen-inspired blog post without a quote, quotey, quote:

1. the path is not straight.
2. mistakes need not be fatal.
3. people are more important than achievements or possessions.
4. be gentle with your parents.
5. never stop doing what you care most about.
6. learn to use a semicolon.
7. you will find love.
– marion winik

Much love from CoMo and beyond,

Kathleen

p.s. I’ve been working hard this year.  Here is the result of my independent study:

http://www.rjionline.org/fellows-program/mclellan/majorsky.php

This kid got an A 🙂