Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Learning Curve

It sucks that an inevitable part of the learning curve in graduate school is figuring out how to handle being pissed on from a very great height.

After a small panic-y breakdown and some hours to consider, my solution is thus:

1. Try to ascertain the cause of the technological problem at hand
2. Calmly explain the results to the one who is pissed
3a. IF person calms down or becomes otherwise rational, continue with my job, and go to 4.
3b. IF person continues to be irrational and does not land after flying off the handle, quit.
4. Continue with my job working hard to minimize future errors and issues.

Yep, I have decided after reflection that the paltry amount that I'm paid (hourly) for this job is not worth putting up with people who can't handle problems in a constructive and useful way. I may be a graduate student, I may be poor, and I may have to deal with consequences down the line. But I will not be anyone's flogging post just because they think it's OK to treat underlings like dirt. I didn't put up with it 2 years ago, and I'm not about to put up with it now.

We'll see how this all falls out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Time sure does seem to get away from me.  And when time isn't sprinting past, I'm much too good at frittering away and wasting time.

I try to be organized an productive. I make lists, I break large projects into smaller tasks, and I'm even working on getting out of bed earlier in the day. When I do have a hard and fast deadline I'm good at getting things done. It's the lack of deadlines, or loosy-goosy deadlines that are my bane. It's so easy to put things off when there's no end point for the task in question.

So. Shawn has two student defending their doctoral dissertations with in the next two weeks. After he's done with them and has time again, I am going to have a sit down with him to hammer out a solid timeline. AND I'm not going to show up at the meeting empty handed. I will have at least a detailed outline of my dissertation proposal and a list of people whom I intend on contacting as potential committee members. I may end of having to do some things out of "order," such as writing my full proposal this summer and then having my oral examinations at the beginning of fall term, but that will allow me to launch into my research and writing once my exams are out of the way.

So now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go read 16 pages in Cultivating Communities of Practice, 1 dissertation related article, post 3 things on Craigslist, clean my kitchen, and look over some work materials for an upcoming meeting. Not in that particular order.

Friday, March 15, 2013

spring break

Ahhh, Spring break hasn't been kind to me.  I helped Jenn with her garage sale organizing and we ate Pot Belly sandwiches, and thunderclouds sandwiches and I age home made cinnamonon rolls with pecans and last night we had mexican food.  This morning I weighed 134.5 lbs.  GUH!!!
Tomorrow night it's new orleans seafood.  How can I resist?
no dessert?
maybe grilled instead of fried.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It's been a while. This past month if I haven't been actively working on something I've been almost completely shut down. Every time I start scrabbling up the side of the mountain of things I have to do,  it feels like an avalanche buries me again. It is overwhelming and, at times, disheartening.

Right now I'm going to go see if I can climb at least as high as getting the kitchen clean...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

sugar is my downfall

I'm still struggling with too much sugar in my life. 
Yesterday I had a couple of small candies. 
Saturday's food:
cornflakes, skim milk, 50% sugar o.j.
oatmeal, skim milk
one bean/beef chalupa, one beef puffy taco, chips, one beer.
one mint candy
one tootsie pop without the tootsie roll.

I know it seems like not too much, but I would like to add more vegies and less breads.
sugars:  milk  sugars, bread starch, sugar from oj and candies, sugars in cornflakes.

Friday, February 8, 2013

counting calories

well, I decided to count my calories and fat intake for the day:
milk   80/0
corn flakes 100/0
oj 50/0
splenda 0/0

coffee w/ 1/2 & 1/2  20/0
breat & butter:  bread homemade (unknown) butter 100/11

1 small piece pizza from EZ's (unknow)
oj  50/0
chocolate piece 30/3

activia  110/2
chips  140/6

Chicken 160/8
dressing 110/1
cauliflower  ?/11
strawberries ?
with coolwhip 20/1

1/4 small bag popcorn from Target (unknown)

Well, I did pretty well until I was tempted by the popcorn.  Too much salt, but I only ate about a quarter of the bag.
Total: at least 970 calories and 43 g of fat.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Check-in

January went fairly well. I'm building a habit of going to the gym twice a week, I've found a machine that I really like using, and watching Netflix really does make it feel faster than 30 minutes. So far I've lost about 3 pounds according to the scale, but I think I've also been building muscle.

I finally finished a long outstanding spinning project, 2 ounces of carbonized bamboo is now 336 yards of heavy lace weight yarn.

I found a fantastic deal on a new (to me) wheel this past Saturday, so I purchased a Lendrum with awesome accessories, and so far it's been a wonderful spinning wheel. Most importantly it does not hurt my back the way the Joy did during long spinning sessions.

I am still tired from this past Saturday, which was the annual Newport spin-in. The weather was perfection, the company was excellent, the bargain on my wheel was epic. But it was a whole day of being around lots of people and being engaged and social, which is really quite draining for me. Yesterday was a wash for me as it was mostly spent on recuperation, today might require a bit of white tea to get me going. I've got lots to do for work and school, and I'm determined this week to not fall behind on things.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

good information

I discovered that I am eligible for the Silver Sneakers program thru my insurance.  I get to join a fitness club for free and use their facilities as much as I want.  No more xmases, summers, spring breaks where I don't have a place to exercise.  hurray for me!!
I did miss aerobics Thursday (I did go to yoga) as my knee was acting up and I didn't want to make it worse.  I guess I did a little too much stretching on Wednesday.  When I was going down the stairs Thru. morning, I felt a pain a weakness.  It seems to be better today.
Yesterday Rodney came and he and his helper painted the stairwell.  It looks great.  By the time they left, I was very tired from being on my feet from 7:30 to 2:30.
Today I cook slow cooker meatballs and marinara.  Hope it turns out good.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I was on time for class this morning (7:25am) and we worked with the large balls.  Then we did stretching.  Boy, I've been wanting a nap all day, but have resisted going tot sleep ( mostly because I was driving a lot)
I hope I'm not sore tomorrow.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Busy Weekend

On Friday, when I was feeling quite anxious and overwhelmed, I decided that physical activity was the key to bleeding off some of my excess negative energy. So, on Friday afternoon, I started moving furniture. By Saturday night I'd moved everything but the bed, nightstand, and cat tree in my living/sleeping space (I left the pantry and closet alone since I did them earlier in the year). Sunday morning I put the finishing touch on things, brought gobs of unwanted items to charity, and started enjoying my new space. The key is that I got rid of 2 pieces of large, unused furniture (also donated, since I got them for free). Here is the result.

Front Door View

 This looks like the same seating arrangement, but that's only because I moved it all and then moved it back when it became apparent that this works best.

New Yarn Home
I'm working on getting this neatend up, I just have to figure out how to get the boxes to be bigger on the inside.

New Desk/Entertainment Area

I have a second green shelf to hang, I just need more dry wall hangers. It's going in that empty spot above the second monitor.

Oh, and I finally got a frame form my master's diploma. I found an official frame at the thrift store for $10!

New Sewing Area
Those books in the desk support are all my sewing books. I haven't finalized the set up, but you get the picture.

This is a much safer place for the bookshelf. This way if there's an earthquake, rescuers won't have to dig me out from under all those books.

And my sleeping space. It feels so much roomier without the looming doom of the bookshelf, and I finally got around to hanging my shell lights.

So, while none of this actually decreased the amount of work I have to do for this overwhelming project, at least one source of frustration in my life has been conquered.

Oh, and just so you know, the glass on my desk/sewing table weighs 60 pounds and I moved it three times over the course of this endeavor, trying to get just the right feel. I moved it to where it is now, from where it is now, and back to where it is now. I currently feel like Xena.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

sore today

Well, yesterday morning I worked out with a bunch of 20 something year olds and I held my own. But I'm a little sore today, mostly on the backs of my thighs and my upper arms.
The next youngest person is the teacher (50) and a Scottish woman who is missing her left hand/fore arm.
It was a very invigorating class and after stopping at HEB for a few groceries, I came home and moved furniture.
Tom asked me who helped me, and I showed him my muscles.
I was a little discouraged in the afternoon when I had an appointment with a gutter company and they quoted $2000 for gutters that don't have tops on them to keep out the leaves.
So, I'm going to call Sears and get another quote. 
After he left, I worked some more moving stuff but my feet were swollen, so I layed down on the sofa and watched the last Batman movie that had just arrived. 
I checked my blood pressure last night and it was kind of high.  No more hot gods.  They're just too salty.
Today's lunch was tomato heart healty soup, crachers and milk.
Dinner tonight will be chicken gumbo.
Monday is a school holiday so my next workout is Tuesday morning.  I think house cleaning will be my weekend workout.  The weather is supposed to be in the 60's, but I am still avoiding outside and cedar pollen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Feeling Down

I've been feeling down the last few days.  Every so often I get very frustrated and overwhelmed by the things in my apartment. Right now I have too much furniture, and too large furniture. It takes up way too much space and I feel claustrophobic trying to move around. Also I can't get to the things I want to do, like sewing, because there is too much stuff in the way. Finally, there is so much little stuff all over everything that I can't get organized despite constant trying. So now instead of feeling relaxed at home I feel anxious and overwhelmed, which spills over into my work and school life and interferes with my performance there. That further spirals me down until I'm left sitting in my chair staring off into space in an effort to escape.

So today I've decided to spend the morning going through the things and really thinking hard on what I need. And if I don't really, really need it, I'm going to put it in a bag for donation. And then, I am actually going to take the bags to a donation site, instead of having them sit around on the floor taking up more space. I wish it was the garage sale time of year because I'd have a patio sale, but it really isn't and I can't wait 6 months for good weather to come around. I've got a few things up on Craigslist, but around here it's a one in a million chance that selling on Clist will actually work and while I wait and wade through the scam after scam after scam, the stuff is still here, taking up space in the physical and mental areas of my life. So away it goes. I have a friend who calls it "buying peace" when she gives things away. I could use some peace, and those less fortunate than me can use generosity more than greed.

And on a final note, I want to make it abundantly clear that I do really, really need all my yarn.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Well, I decided that I needed to do more workouts so yesterday I signed up for not only my aerobics and yoga class on Tue and Thur, but I signed up for a flexibility/conditioning class on Mon/Wed at 7:30am.
After class I plan to use the gym's machines and do a 30 minute workout.  Class starts tomorrow!
So, I'll be getting up at 6:30am 4 days a week this semester!
Hope my knees and feet allow me to work out.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Contra dancing Wednesday

I exercised yesterday, but today I was expecting to do some Contra dancing tonight, but after one dance, Tom said he was too tired and we came home.  So tomorrow I'm going to go to the gym around 10 am and get in a workout.  I did cut out a dress, get my hair cut, bought some fabric at The Common Thread and cooked dinner.  So I did quite a bit of moving around and not too much sitting.

I hope your hiccup is better.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Set back

I've had a slight set back in my "move more" goal. This past weekend I slipped into old habits and had the TV (well, the iPad, but same principle) on and just sat for most of the weekend. I also slept in both days, resulting in my sleeping in till 10am this morning. I am not quite behind today, and have a bit of a headache (I'm hoping some hydration helps with that).

My habit is to let this minor set back completely derail me. However, part of changing habits is dealing with hiccups in a different way and that's what I'm going to do instead. So I'm going to go put the roast in the crock pot, work on hydration, do 10-20 minutes of cardio later this afternoon (headache permitting), and get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. The TV is staying off until Bones at 8pm, and when Bones is over the TV is going off again.

I did go buy new pillows on Saturday, and I have been sleeping much more soundly since then, and I'm not waking up with contact pressure headaches. So at least there's that positive thing to report.

a new day

Well, yesterday was a wash.
I didn't do much and spent lots of tiime on the sofa.
I did cut out the pattern for a new wool dress. I found a pretty piece of dark gray wool in my stash and ironed it.  I might need to buy some lining fabric at JoAnns today before the weather gets nasty tomorrow.
I think I'll sew on Tue and Wed since they are predicting 80-100% rain.  Good days to stay inside.
I was careful about what I ate yesterday, though.  I made almond moulded cookies and after dinner ate a small round one made from leftover dough.
Loved Downton Abby.The clothes were beautiful.  But, even though the wedding dress was period, I didn't like it.
Today, I plan to eat very sensibly. And exercise this afternoon before Tom gets home.
Today is also Tom's first day back to work!!!
My knees are better.  My left one is almost healed, but my right will probably give me trouble for a couple of months. It's still a little swollen and they are both very tender to touch.  I forgot and got in bed the other day on my knees and remembered rather quickly.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Well, we got home from a 3 day trip to south texas and the weather was crummy.  Since it was cold, light rain, and very very windy, I didn't get as much walking done as I would have liked.  But then, there was only the beach  as I am not into shopping at crappy tourist places.  There was a Tuesday Morning right next to the hotel, but it was closed for inventory.  Oh well. 
Anyway, I did spend about 20 minutes in the hotel's exercise room on the bike (since I need to stay off my feet as much as possible.)  I was very careful about what I ate, but still ended up eating fried seafood (it was very good) but kept the portions small. 
I will be truthful also and admit to using Alli after meals that have more fat than I want to absorb.  But since I usually don't eat high fat foods, I usually don't use it.  But on the trip, I did use them twice.
I find that most of my weight gain is from sugar.  So, I am going to try to severely limit sugar this month. If I say this year, I might be overwhelmed by the magnitude if that commitment.
I weigh 132.5 pounds and last year at this time I weighed about 127 lbs.  I hate that I gained 5 pounds. I have never been able to loose weight easily.  So, I am looking forward to your help.
(Maybe Tom will loose some weight, too)

can images be uploaded from home computer to this blog?
if so, how?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Starting Point

My biggest goal this year is to lose weight by improving my living habits. Openness is going to play a big part in achieving this goal, so here goes.

Currently I weigh 155.7 lbs. In England it might be said that I weigh 11.12 stone. I like the sound of that a bit better, but probably because it's not a unit of measure I frequently use.

I've been rather slothful in the recent past. Partly it was a medication that I'm no longer on, but partly it was a habit that I've grown into. Being in graduate school has involved a lot of sitting. Sitting and reading. Sitting in class. Sitting and writing. Sitting in meetings. Then, when I come home, there was sitting and knitting. Sitting and knitting while watching TV. Sitting and watching TV while intending to be knitting. Sitting and spinning (yarn on a wheel, not an exercise machine). And, most depressing, sitting and playing on the internet while neither knitting nor spinning.

Since a radical change in occupation isn't going to happen (I've invested far too much into graduate school and love the field I'm in), class and work related sitting are unlikely to change much. Therefore, it comes down to all of that sitting at home that will need to change. I've done well so far since I returned home after my holiday a week ago. A huge part of that success has been a direct result of not having the TV on all the time when I'm home. I'm working on building the habit of only having the TV on when I'm ready to sit and knit in the evening, and even then I only watch my favorite shows and then the TV goes off. I've got 6 shows I watch, and only 4 are on now (Downton Abbey starts Sunday!!). On nights without a show, DVDs and Netflix are good for knitting but I don't turn anything on till 8. It's been fantastic to not feel completely controlled by a 19" skinny box all day and a plethora of crap on cable.

The only exception to this is when I use the TV for exercise. I have a DVD I like and several dancing games for my Wii that are great cardio workouts.

So, 4 days into the new year and already I'm teaching myself new and exciting habits. it's amazing how much I can get done in a day when I get out of bed at 7 and stay off my butt as much as possible. I'm sure there will be more sitting when classes and meetings resume next week, but I'll still have the pleasure of coming home and not sitting down. Except when I really, really want to knit something.


This is going to be a blog where two people, mother and daughter, can share their goals, challenges, and daily happenings through the year. It is meant to be encouraging and positive, even in the face of set backs and road blocks along the way.