22 May 2011

Catching Up

For those of you who have missed my blog posts, I apologize for the long break. Since my last post on April 6th, I've been exceptionally busy. This post serves to catch up some of the things I've been doing over the past nearly-two months.

First, I've been attending a lot of baseball games. As I may have previously mentioned, I was awarded the weekend 28-game Season Ticket Scholarship package from the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, and so every home weekend, I've been out at Chase Field with various friends and family watching the games. I've even caught a grand total of three BP baseballs (on the fly!), and have been having a marvelous time. It's kind of fun how some of the players and ushers recognize me now when I walk by... Barry Enright, the starting pitcher who was recently sent back into the minor leagues, used to give me a nod and a greeting when I'd see him during batting practice, and he hooked me up with a baseball or two. Cool stuff.

On the job front, school is coming to a close now, so my substitute teaching gig is on hold for another three months, which means I need summer employment (I'd love full-time employment, but I need a summer job at the very least). Sadly, I've become one of those unemployed thousands who basically completely stopped looking for work. I tend to get really bad anxiety from job searching these days, which I'm not trying to use as an excuse. It's just the reaction I'm having from the many resumes I've had disappear into black holes in peoples' offices and inboxes. So I'm working hard to get over that so I can start trying to find a decent job soon. It's not very easy. (I seriously don't recommend having panic/anxiety attacks. They're not really very fun.)

But speaking of school, I've now finished my first semester as a distance learning student for my Master's degree at UA. This is the biggest reason I've been so busy (and so unwilling to do much writing). I completed one class with a twenty page research paper which took me about 20 hours of writing and research to complete over a total of four days. That one was a killer. The other final project I did was a comprehensive annotated bibliography of digital government resources for middle school science teachers. I had to find resources which corresponded to the Arizona Science Standards and which were affiliated with federal or state government agencies, and then write a couple short paragraphs analyzing them. Plus discussion board postings, other papers, and the like, and I hope you'll all understand why I needed a break from writing.

In mid-April, my little sister was the runner up in the Arizona CD-6 Congressional Art Competition. She received a certificate from our congressman, Jeff Flake, and her art will be displayed in the congressman's Washington, DC office for one year. In the following photo, the congressman is presenting my sister with her certificate, and her art, a drawing resembling a stained glass window entitled "Kaleidoscope" is on the left. It was a nice little ceremony, and one of my sister's friends won the first prize in the competition (her artwork will be displayed in the tunnels underneath the DC Capitol Building complex for one year, and she and her parents get free plane tickets to go there for the unveiling).

Other than all that, I've been taking advantage of the nice weather the last eight weeks, though it's now getting to be actually hot, so I won't get to do any more hiking for a few months. And I've been trying to relax and de-stress. Hopefully I'll be able to find some kind of job soon, which would be a huge load off my chest.

I leave you all with an interesting video sent to me by CD-6 Member At-Large Paul Brierley. I wrote about talking to him after an LD-19 meeting in January during which we discussed youth involvement in Arizona Republican politics. He recently attended the inaugural class for the Arizona Civic Leadership Academy put on by the Flinn Foundation. It's a nonpartisan training class for up-and-coming leaders in Arizona politics focusing on helping shape leaders who will put Arizona, rather than partisan ideologies, first when analyzing and making policy decisions for the state. I'm going to try to learn more about this academy class, but in theory it sounds like a great idea. If you are also interested, this link goes to the Arizona Public Media video interview featuring the directors of the program, Paul Brierley, and several guest analysts from local media (Arizona Week Episode 19): http://originals.azpm.org/azweek/