Author Archives: zensmile

Long Time Away, Update

Okay, so last post I wrote about yoga, wanting more sleep, an upcoming trip, and starting guitar. Yoga is going well, though I didn’t really get through my streak. I’ve been practicing yoga about five times a week (Monday through Friday) and trying to get in a lift and a row session on weekends to kind of round out my fitness regimen. As for sleep, I’m doing my best to get more of it and focusing on quality as well. My trip to Guatemala went pretty well. I saw a lot of interesting things that you can check out here and here.

Guitar has been progressing. I’ve continued with my studies and finished an introductory guitar certificate program through Coursera/Berklee College of Music. I’m taking another certificate course, music theory, through Coursera/University of Edinburgh. It’s a little tougher, but I’m working through it. I also meet with my private tutor once a week for thirty minutes to keep me focused and moving forward. And of course, there is daily practice, practice, practice.

On the teaching front, I decided to teach an introduction to programming course this summer. It is entirely online through Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University. We’re into our fourth week and it seems to be going swimmingly. We’re using the Eloquent Javascript book as a primer and the Code Wars site for extra weekly challenges. We still have eight weeks to go, including a midterm and final. So fingers crossed for both me and the students that we finish strongly.

Amy hooked me up with an Oculus Quest. I’d never done any VR before, so this was very interesting. When I first put it on, I truly thought I was in the movie Ready Player One. It is super cool. So far, I’ve only done the introduction and a Tai Chi app that I purchased through the Oculus store. I want to get into gaming, but the games are kinda expensive and I need to check them out before purchasing stuff. In all, it is a very cool and easy platform.

Lastly, I’m planning on a long road trip from the east coat to the Seattle area at the end of the month. I’ll probably take the new puppy, Pepe, and just kinda meander along the way until I get to my destination. Then, after a couple days, I’ll meander back another route to see more stuff. In all, it will probably be about six thousand or so miles. I think this is something like the route I’m going to take, but I’m not sure. I’d like to hike each day in a different park with the dog. Nothing too strenuous, just 3-5 miles each day. I’ve got two weeks off, so time isn’t really an issue. I even bought a little Martin travel guitar so I can keep up with my music practice in the evenings.

That’s about I have for updates. I don’t even know if anyone reads these things, but I’ll keep posting sporadic updates nonetheless.

New Year, (Re)New(ed) Endeavors

So it’s February and motivation for accomplishing my goals for 2019 is still high… I’ve practiced daily yoga and meditation since January 1st; I’ve been trying to eat better, though I’m not really dieting; I read the complete short stories of Ernest Hemingway in January and have started reading select Beat authors, three books by Kerouac being next on my list; and I’ve been working out 3-5 times per week for several months without fail. I even added to my home gym with the purchase of a Concept 2 rower; so that covers the “swole” part of my goals.

“Here are my goals for 2019… eat better, sleep more, read more, get swole. Let’s see how this pans out in a year. (I’m already an hour past my bedtime.)”

11:04 PM – 10 Jan 2019 – via Twitter

I do need to start spending more time focusing on quality sleep though. I should probably try to treat sleep just like a workout or how I’m practicing daily yoga and meditation—adding it to my daily scheduled routine. Sleep is tough because of teaching. When I get home from the University, I’m tired and haven’t really unwound. So it takes me another 30-45 minutes before I can go to bed and fall asleep. That means I’m not getting to sleep until at least 11 or 11:30 in the late evening two nights a week.

Last December I started taking guitar lessons. It’s been pretty good so far. I’ve learned a lot and I’m augmenting my guitar lessons with online music theory classes I purchased from Udemy. I’ve always wanted to play guitar, but never made time for it. Now, I’m making the time and putting in the effort. I think I’ve had about eight lessons so far and I can already play several songs and I’m just now starting with chords. In middle December, I’ll decide if I’m going to stick with it.

I also want to continue traveling and even added a travel section to my blog. I have a trip to Guatemala coming up, over spring break. I’m pretty excited about it. That’s about it; I’ll post something in a couple months or if my daily yoga and meditation streak comes to an end. My last streak was just shy of six months. Let’s see how far I can go with this one…

 

End of Twenty Eighteen

This will be my last post of twenty eighteen. I didn’t initially think that I had a lot to post about; but, after reflection, this year has been fairly busy. I taught two classes in the spring and another two in the fall; I visited Sweden and Denmark in late spring; read about seventeen or so books; and changed jobs, moving from Ellucian over to the Qurate Group. Oh, and I finally started to take guitar lessons! Learning to play the guitar has been a goal for quite some time.

One event that has been in my mind a lot over the past year was my estranged father passing away on October twenty-second of last year. He and I had been estranged for a very long time, approximately twenty-nine years. During that time, I only visited with him four times: once in the late eighties, once in the early nineties, and twice a few years before his death. He seemed a very strange man to me and his motivations were base from my perspective. I guess most of my thoughts surrounding my father’s passing have something to do with second guessing if I should have allowed the estrangement to continue as long as it did. It isn’t really regret, it’s something else—undefinable really.

I have a few ideas of what I want twenty nineteen to look like and some plans are already taking shape. I’ll be teaching a lot in the coming spring semester; that’s for certain. Other plans are more fluid, so I’ll comment on them at a later time. That’s about all I have to write about. I wish whoever is reading this a happy and safe Christmas and New Year’s.