Friday, December 6, 2019

Day 201

Well, I have counted down from 300 to 201, which means I have officially completed the 100-day blogging challenge for this semester! I succeeded in fall 2018, missed the mark in spring 2019, and now I have achieved the goal for fall 2019.

Despite counting down the days and getting closer to 201, the end of this challenge definitely snuck up on me. I have been wrapped up in everything that's been due this semester, and a lot of my daily posts were short ones about how I was tired, busy, or both. This was definitely the hardest semester of my PhD program thus far, but let's be honest: I wasn't expecting it to get easier as I progressed. I implemented a 1:00 bedtime in October that really helped

To wrap up the challenge, I thought I would mention a few of the high points of the hardest semester of my program thus far. Here are ten highlights from these 100 days (in chronological order):

  1. Day 297: I set a new marathon PR of  5:18:58! I'm hoping to beat that in the next year or so. (Bonuses: I set a new 50K PR on Day 241 and a new 10K PR on Day 234.)
  2. Day 293: I got an ice cream cone from McDonald's
  3. Day 271: I got glasses
  4. Day 263: I made Vegetables Galore for a family dinner
  5. Day 256: I voted! (And then I did it again in November!)
  6. Day 251: I felt THE PUMP at Lunchtime Lifts
  7. Day 235: I made some really delicious gumbo
  8. Day 230: I presented some research at the MSERA annual meeting
  9. Day 229: One of several knitting days with Ellen, but this one involved wine, so I picked this one to include.
  10. Day 219: I made a reference to The Office in my statistics homework.
It's been a ride this semester. I might keep going for a few days here and there so I can document how this all shakes out...but that's still to be determined. 

Image result for 100 emoji
Found this photo at:

Something that made today great: I turned in two assignments, and Blake and I made meaningful progress on our literature review that's due next week.
Time I woke up: I rolled over at 8:00 but decided to sleep in...and ended up sleeping until 10:30.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Day 202

I allowed today to be the calm before the [next] storm, and it felt good. My workday was not stressful, and Sandra and I ran the lakes at LSU after work.

The real treat of the day, however, was that my sister-in-law Maryanne was in town, and we had dinner together at Elsie's Plate and Pie...YUM! A full meal (cocktail, appetizer, burger, and dessert) with people I love was a lovely way to spend a chunk of this evening.

Weekend madness commences tomorrow when I meet with Blake to work on our paper that's due next week. I'm looking forward to the running events for some fun and stress, they'll make me get out of bed earlier, which means I will either (a) get to take a nap or (b) be awake all day, which means I have more waking hours to work. Win-win.

Another stock photo from Pixabay

Something that made today great: Sandra and I had a good run after work.
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Day 203

Yesterday after work, I went for a run/walk with Ellen, then I met Richard and some of his coworkers at Olive or Twist to celebrate the end of their workweek. (Also, Tuesday is $5 Burger Night! Boom.) Toward the end of dinner, the combination of life stress, school stress, stress, being tired, and being cold (should've worn more clothes for my run) culminated in me completely freaking out and crying about how I was tired, stressed, and cold. I ended up taking a shower to get warm. Richard put my pajamas in the dryer for me so they would be warm. Then, I wrote my blog post about how I wanted a brownie sundae and went to sleep around 9:30.

Since I had a major project that still had work to finish, set an alarm for 1:30 am. I snoozed it once but eventually got up to complete the project. Something that is happening more lately (even more than before) is that no matter how little or how much time I have, that's how much time I am going to spend on a project, paper, or another task. My project was due at noon, and I submitted it at 11:45 am. I was planted at my desk for the better part of ten hours. If it had been due at 10:00 am, I would have submitted it just before 10:00; it would not have been as good, but it would have been a complete project. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am not doing well striving for a slightly lower grade in exchange for significantly less stress. There is still time to improve, though, as I have two papers and a final remaining.

Some good news is that I managed to have a really good day even though I woke up literally in the middle of the night. I am rewarding myself by knitting a few rows on my shawl and making my way to bed by 11:00 tonight so I don't crash tomorrow!

Another fabulous free photo from Pixabay

Something that made today great: I feel pretty good about my statistics project!
Time I woke up: 1:45 am-ish

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Day 204

Sometimes when I’m stressed, I start yearning for things even if they won’t do anything to solve my current problems. Take today, for instance. I wanted a chocolate cake and a mountain of spaghetti. Eating all of that wouldn’t help me. It might even create more problems for me. 

But that doesn’t stop me from wanting those things...except I think I’d actually rather have a giant brownie sundae instead of the chocolate cake. 

Photo from Taste of Home. Here’s the recipe: (The homemade sauce sounds awesome!) 

Something that made today great: I had a lovely coffee walk with Jo this morning. 
Time I woke up: 8:15 am?

Monday, December 2, 2019

Day 205

Well, the last Monday of classes is done for the semester.  I'm plugging along, but there's still so much to do! I am keeping a close watch on my 1 am bedtime this week. I'm excited about having two races this weekend (Baton Rouge Beach Half Marathon and Tiger 10K) and using the races as motivation to do as much as I can before the weekend.

Nine more days.
Appropriate stock photo from Pixabay.
Something that made today great: Scooter hung out in bed while I slept in today instead of barking at stuff.
Time I woke up: 8:45 am

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Day 206

Thanksgiving Break has ended, and I can say with confidence that I am not as well-rested after this break as I expected/hoped to be. A late night of football, karaoke, and beer before an early flight this morning certainly didn't help my situation, but I am giving myself a break on that and say that it was good to let loose for a bit. (I was also able to sleep for three hours once I made it home, and that was pretty wonderful.)

Once I started thinking about everything coming up in the next ten days, I started feeling overwhelmed about the last week of classes and finals week. When Richard and I went to pick up Scooter from Tim and Emily's house, I must have looked extra tired. She finally asked me, "Would it be better for you to just make a B in something this semester?"

It's no secret that I'm somewhat obsessed with my grades. I (mostly) deny being a perfectionist, but I do like to do well in school. At this point, though, I am wearing thin and am ready to be done with this semester. I have learned a lot and had some incredible experiences (both personally and professionally), but I am really wearing down. Maybe a B wouldn't be so bad, especially in exchange for some extra sleep and/or sanity...but I am going to try to rally. Ten more days. Just ten more days.

Something that made today great: Seeing Richard and Scooter again!
Time I woke up: 4:30 am

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Day 207

Well, it’s after midnight in North Carolina, but not in Louisiana. It’s not entirely cheating for me to make my daily blog post right now. 

The LSU Tigers are 12-0, and I celebrated that with karaoke and beers at Shakey Ray’s. 

Also, NSCU lost to UNC, which is the kind of thing that warms my heart but also makes me feel ashamed. My dad would already be looking forward to the next year, so here we geaux NCSU for 2020? Man, mixed feelings everywhere. Football is fickle.

Something that made today great: Karaoke at Shakey Ray’s was pretty rad. 
Time I woke up: 10:00 am

Friday, November 29, 2019

Day 208

I took several pictures today, so this post should be a nice change of pace from stock images and bad selfies.

I've been a bit off of my running game since my 10K on November 13. Last Sunday, I was supposed to run the Big Easy Half Marathon, and I expected to run a personal best based simply on some of my recent runs and the shift in the weather. I certainly hadn't put in extra effort for the half marathon distance since MCM. I have been doing RunBets to keep me accountable, but I am on week 2 of my newest one, so the distances have been in the neighborhood of 3 miles lately. Today, I decided to run out to the Stone family cemetery, which Google Maps told me was 2.8 miles from my residence for the week. That turned out to be accurate.

Once I made it to the cemetery, I didn't want to go back the way I came, but I didn't have much choice. The other end of Stone Heritage Road is a little over 1.2 miles from the cemetery, and I wasn't sure what the most direct route back to the house would be. When I pulled out Google Maps, it told me I was 3.4 miles from home. So, what started out as 5.6 miles became 7.5 miles by the time I made it back. Fortunately, the weather was great, and I had some speed in me. I finished the trek with a 10:57 overall pace. Not bad for stopping to take photos, too! Here are a few of the photos I snapped.

Catching a little elevation! This climb was about 2.7% grade over .35 miles (according to my calculations)...basically a mountain in Baton Rouge

The corner of US-264 Alternate and Stone Heritage Rd. Fortunately there weren't too many cars on this highway.
Shot from the road of the family cemetery
My maternal grandparents, Philip and Lou Nell Stone. I think they looked like movie stars.

The intersection of Fed Stone Rd. and Stone Heritage Rd. Fed Stone was my great-great-grandfather! This road is a dead end.
I was happy to see this sign indicating that Bailey was only a mile away!

Welcome to Bailey, y'all! Get yourself a BBQ chicken plate for $8 at the Bailey Christmas Parade to support Bailey Troop 12 and Pack 12.

Something that made today great: My mom made her famous (and delicious!) fried chicken for dinner
Time I woke up: 10:00 am

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Day 209

Thanksgiving was a smaller affair than it has been in recent years, but it was still a good day. I rolled over a little after 7:00 and saw that I had missed a call from Robin. She was checking to see if I wanted to go to the Gobble Wobble in Wilson, and we both decided that we would skip this year. (I was just enjoying being asleep, but she had stayed up late last night.) 

We had planned for an evening meal, so we took the day pretty easy. I worked on my statistics project for a while (with a hamburger lunch intermission) and went for a run. Other than being a little windy, the weather was perfect for a run! Lori, my mom, and I went over to the cemetery briefly this afternoon, then we started working on dinner. (The turkey had been in the oven for a while, of course.)  The world almost exploded when there were three cooks in the kitchen trying to make the gravy, and there was a question of whether or not we'd all be able to sit down at the table in peace...but the magic of Thanksgiving came through, and we were all able to gather for a meal. 

At least there was no political talk.

Happy Thanksgiving from Big Suz and me!
Something that made today great: Sleeping in! (see below)
Time I woke up: 11:00 am

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Day 210

As expected, the funeral was tough. There were so many young people coming to honor their friend and support the family, and I couldn't help but wonder how many of them were, like Kevin Arnold, seeing for the first time that someone who is basically a kid can cease to exist. Troy had a great showing with a beautiful message full of fun stories and sweet memories. One of the pastors made a joke about not being able to see some of the people in camouflage, and I might've laughed a little too loudly at that one. Several people commented that he packed a lot of life into 21 years, which is true. Troy was, as many said today, "solid," and that's how I'll always remember him.

Heading into Thanksgiving tomorrow, I plan to be extra thankful to spend time with loved ones. If I can pull myself out of bed early enough, I'm going to run the Gobble Wobble in Wilson for physical and mental health purposes. I'm already starting to wobble ever so slightly...

Country sunset as captured by my iPhone 6S. No filter needed. :)
Something that made today great: I made amazing progress on my statistics project (assuming my professor doesn't debunk any of the conclusions I reached or throw another wrench into my plans)!
Time I woke up: 7:45 am

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Day 211

Tomorrow is funeral day. We had a viewing for the family (which the internet tells me is a Southern thing?), and I did my last statistics homework of the semester. Now, I'm tired. Tomorrow will be a long day, but I'm glad nobody has to go through it alone.

Sweet photo of Leah, Trigger, and Troy back in 2011

Something that made today great: I went out for a run today and got to experience a little elevation!
Time I woke up: 9:30 am...but I played on my phone until 11.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Day 212

The Wonder Years is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. I first watched it on Nick at Nite in the 1990s, and in high school, my boyfriend acquired many of the episodes over the internet and shared them with me. I was thrilled when Netflix started showing it, and I was over the moon when Richard bought me the DVD set for Valentine's Day a few years ago. I have seen the entire series several times, but there are some episodes I have watched individually somewhere around twenty times.

At the end of the first episode, we learn that one of the characters, Brian Cooper, has been killed while serving in the Vietnam War. In the second episode, Kevin (the main character and narrator), says,

Brian Cooper was the first person I ever knew who wasn't old that died. I guess we all had that moment when we realized that someone who was basically a kid can cease to exist, and we're never the same after that.
(Thanks to this website for the quote, though I did add a comma and an apostrophe where needed.)

I think about this quote every time someone my age or younger dies. People from my high school class have passed away, and I recently heard that a peer from college died. Yet when my mom texted me on Saturday morning and told me that my cousin Troy has died in his sleep, I was caught completely by surprise. I know this is a thing that unfortunately happens in most families, but that does not make the loss any easier.

On my mom's side, I was the youngest grandchild for the first nine and a half years of my life, and I was so excited when my Aunt Rhonda had twin boys, Ryan and Troy. I loved going to visit them in North Carolina and hearing about their various antics, including making a number of messes. As they grew up, the twins were not as interested in hanging out with old cousin folks like me, but they were willing boat drivers for us on beach trips when we wanted to venture out to various islands and hunt for hermit crabs and sand dollars. We grew apart as we got older, but I still love all of my family members; this is not easy. 

I'm still grappling with this loss and what it will eventually mean for our family and for me. I regret that we were not in touch much in recent years and wish I had made more efforts to stay connected, but I think that's a common feeling with any sort of loss of a loved one. There are so many phrases like "Nobody is promised tomorrow," "Don't wait to tell the ones you love how you feel," that are easy to brush off, but they are also true. I'm thankful for the time with family this week and hope we can all do a little (if not a lot) better at being there for each other in the coming years. I think that is what Troy would have wanted us to do.

Something that made today great: I got a "minor revisions" e-mail about a paper I co-authored! This is exciting.
Time I woke up: 11:00 am (10:00 central)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Day 213

I had a safe trip and am glad to be among family, though I do miss my best husband and best dog. It is chilly in North Carolina, but I do have a swanky new LSU quarter zip to help keep me warm. I’m also working on some insulation with all of the food I have been inhaling.  

Something that made today great: I was moved from the back row of the plane to Main Cabin Extra on my first flight. That was nice!
Time I woke up: 5:00 am

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Day 214

Some days are not so wonderful, and you don’t want to talk about it. Today was like that for me. Thanksgiving travels begin tomorrow; I’m leaving early by plane. Please pray for my family. 

Something that made today great: family time! Also, Tigers won in Death Valley. 
Time I woke up: 7:45 am

Friday, November 22, 2019

Day 215

It’s the Friday before Thanksgiving. I am done with classes and going to work until December (!!!) but have lots of work to do between now and December. But that’s okay. 

Since yesterday was my building’s annual Thanksgiving lunch, we rescheduled Lunchtime Lifts for today. (We didn’t want to miss Thanksgiving lunch, but we also didn’t want to lift weights after eating a Thanksgiving lunch.) Today was the last day of our official sessions, so we did max outs. My bad form on the trap bar deadlift left me in a bit of pain, but I’m hoping I can sleep it off. I went for a 2.5 mile run, and my back felt fine. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I haven’t given myself an injury. 

I think this is what I did...Paul is going to send our results. I have plenty of room to grow. 🙂
Back squats - 27 kg
Bench press - 20 kg
Trap bar deadlift - 72 lb

Tonight, we hosted Tim and Emily for dinner. Emily made beef stroganoff, and I made sides. We also provided desserts (one left over from yesterday’s Thanksgiving lunch and one from Costco), so it was a lovely team effort. I made roasted brown butter honey garlic carrots (recipe from, and they were tasty and tea lovely easy. Not quite as easy as the asparagus I steamed in the microwave, but everything can’t be the easiest thing. 

The weekend is shaping up to be a busy one, but I’m excited about it. Tomorrow, I’m running with Ellen and going to the Diaper Bank before our family members arrive to watch LSU yeet ArKansas into the stratosphere. Sunday, I have a half marathon in New Orleans with Sandra, then I’ll be busy working on my literature review and hosting a movie night. Then it’ll be time to prepare for Thanksgiving travel! Whew. 

Something that made today great: Slow Mode meeting at CC’s with Volunteers In Public Schools
Time I woke up: 7:45 am 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Day 216

Most of my recent runs have been relegated to the treadmill due to weather, lack of sunlight, unfamiliarity with the area, or some combination of the previous items, but today I made it out to meet Sandra and run with Varsity Sports for the first time in weeks. It's so easy to put running on the back burner when 

Today's run was about finding the shortest possible route to two locations rather than running the course as quickly as possible. We had two stops on our route; first, we went to Baton Rouge Beach to meet an On Cloud shoe representative, then we had to go to Mike the Tiger's habitat. It's always a joy to see Mike, and he seemed excited to have so many visitors at night! While we did not win for the shortest route (we covered 3.15 miles, and I think the winner was closer to 2.95), we had a great time! It was fun to switch up the strategy, and I am always happy to throw in lots of walking with my running. We wrapped up the evening at The Chimes, where we got to check out their awesome rooftop porch/bar, then I headed home.

I'm making steady progress on my major assignments that are due by the end of the semester. December 11 is the new October 23; that's the date I am working toward. I already have a lunch planned with Becca and Diana on December 12 to celebrate the end of the semester!

Today's run map
Something that made today great: I served as a mock interviewer for HESPA's Geaux Preaux event and was able to chat with two great master's students!
Time I woke up: 8:00?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Day 217

I have been back at work for three days, and I am finally starting to settle back into my school and work routine...only to head out of town for Thanksgiving next week! I am not necessarily complaining, but I do have to stay focused between now and the end of the semester.

The only thing I did out of the ordinary today was baking a batch rolls for the Thanksgiving lunch at my office. Even though the holiday is actually a little late this year, I can hardly believe it is already time for Thanksgiving! I'm ready for family time, an enormous meal, and a long post-meal nap...but there's still a lot to do before that happens.

Image by Momentmal from Pixabay

Something that made today great: 4-mile Runch (run at lunch) with Jennie
Time I woke up: 9:00 am

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Day 218

I have one more day of classes to go before Thanksgiving. Wow. There's still so much to do, but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. I enforced my 1:00 bedtime last night but was still tired this morning; I am blaming the travel for that. I slept late and rolled in at work late, but I managed to have a productive day that included work, Fried Chicken Tuesday (though the Popeye's we went to was out of chicken sandwiches), going to the HESPA study night, climbing 1000 feet on the treadmill, and going to Walmart to pick up a few groceries. Hopefully, I'll manage to be even more productive tomorrow. I could sure benefit from getting a lot done!

Something that made today great: I knocked a few items off of my to-do list that I had been putting off for weeks
Time I woke up: 9:45 am...oops.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Day 219

I don't think I have ever used my homework for my daily blog post, but seeing that it's 11:50 pm and I'm particularly proud of my statistics homework tonight, I'm going for it. Tonight in my statistics homework, I took a reference from The Office and tied it to my discipline. The fact that I'm really proud of this suggests where I am mentally at this point in the semester.

1.         Describe a research problem in your discipline that could be addressed with logistic regression.

The Party Planning Committee is really excited about planning the spring commencement ceremony and wants to get a head start on reserving chairs and a large space for the post-graduation celebration. Angela (Head of the Party Planning Committee) contacts the Office of the Registrar and asks for a number of graduating seniors for the spring semester. Exasperated, the registrar’s staff member explains to Angela that students have not even applied for graduation yet, but Angela won’t take no for an answer. The staff member decides to use binary logistic regression to give Angela an estimate. With the outcomes of “graduate in spring” and “not graduate in spring,” the registrar uses the following predictors: earned credit hours, GPA, and registered for spring classes (binary – yes/no). 

Image result for the office party planning committee

Something that made today great: I got my teeth cleaned!
Time I woke up: 6:45 am

Day 220

I’m posting this a little after midnight in Louisiana but claiming jet lag. 

Compared to some couples, Richard and I haven’t been married very long. I realize this, but I want to dispense this advice anyway: Your partner doesn’t need to know everything, but be prepared for them to find out if you do something and don’t tell them. 

Allow me to elaborate. 

Common relationship advice includes stuff about trusting each other and not having secrets, and I believe that is important. I truly do. But there are some things that seem insignificant enough that maybe you don’t feel a need to discuss with your partner. There are also things that won’t hurt them if they never find out, so you might feel like it’s no big deal if you fail to mention them. 

Well, I got busted tonight. 

Our monthly subscribe and save box from Amazon arrived while I was gone, but Richard waited until I was home to open it. When we did eventually open it, the first thing he saw was a bulk pack of something from Avery. 

“Beebs. Did you put file folders on our subscribe and save?”
“No! That’s ridiculous! Why would I do that?”
“But I did add divider tabs for my literature review binder. And I’m only getting them every six months! And I can skip them if I still have some of these in six months!”

And that’s the story of how my husband found out that I am stockpiling Avery dividers. 

Also, real advice: have a set amount of money that you and your partner are comfortable with the other spending without discussing it together. It’s nice. 

Something  that made today great: Safe travels home
Time I woke up: 7:30 PST?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Day 221

The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Conference did not disappoint; it's been a long few days, but I have learned so much! Next year's conference is in New Orleans, and I am already thinking about submitting a proposal for the conference. Tomorrow, I travel home. I have several things to do in order to prepare for the week and get used to being in the Central timezone again. I can't wait to see my best husband and my best dog.
Three-fifths of ASHE's team LSU! I am proud to represent our university, and I'm never wearing that sweater again if I know there's a chance I'll be photographed while wearing it.
Something that made today great: Taco dinner with Anna!
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Day 222

One night I’m attending receptions and networking, and the next night I’m having solo dinner and listening to live music at my hotel. I made a semi-selfish decision to get my own hotel room, but I did compromise with a non-conference hotel. While I miss the excitement of the conference hotel, it’s nice to have a bit of time to unwind and be by myself after the long conference days. Being able to have whatever temperature I want is pretty sweet too. 

I’m looking forward to a good last day of ASHE!

Something that made today great: I attended some really interesting sessions!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am I think. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Day 223

Day 2 of the Graduate Student Policy Seminar and Day 1 of ASHE were awesome! I’ve had quite a few twists and turns in my professional journey, and I realize now that I am not on a fast/direct path to anywhere...I’m going to make mistakes and take the scenic route to wherever I’m eventually going. 

I attended a fabulous session about Critical Whiteness Studies today, and Dr. Chen and I presented our study on social capital and student transfer from community colleges to one particular research university in Louisiana (😉). We grabbed dinner, then we went to the ASHE reception. The reception itself was a bit overwhelming, but I met up with my former student Tori, and we caught up on life for a bit. Then, we stopped by the NC State reception and concluded our day. 

We still have two days left of the conference, and I want to make sure I soak in all of the learning opportunities I can get at the conference. I also love building my network and making new friends! My extrovert is showing, and I love it. 

Something that made today great: I learned so much at my educational sessions today!
Time I woke up: 6:15 am (8:15 in Louisiana)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Day 224

Being at a conference is helping me renew my enthusiasm for my work. Sometimes, I get sucked into my life in Louisiana, and I fail to remember the larger context. I am so fortunate to work in this field, and I can’t wait to apply what I am learning to the way I serve students. Today was a good day.

Something that made today great: My new friend, Anna! We both go to LSU, and we love policy
Time I woke up: 8:30 AM? Which was really 10:30 AM in Louisiana…

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Day 225

Yesterday was a bit rough, but the bright side was that I allowed myself to go to bed early. I paid for it slightly when I had to pack my suitcase for a five-day trip this afternoon, but I think I packed everything I needed, plus a lot more stuff that I won't end up needing.

I have tried to stay optimistic even on the tough days, but I think I just need a break. I am excited to change up my routine this week by attending a conference. There are tons of amazing sessions, and I am looking forward to all I am about to learn. Once I am back in Baton Rouge, I need to push hard through one more week of school, then it'll be time to head to Georgia for Thanksgiving. I am going to sleep so much that week, I just know it.

But first, conference time!

This turkey is not amused about the approaching Thanksgiving season.

Something that made today great: I arrived at work by 8:00 this morning!
Time I woke up: 7:05 am

Monday, November 11, 2019

Day 226

I have been a fatherless woman for over eight years, but I still have days where I feel like the best thing I could do is pick up the phone and call my dad. He’d tell me that everything is going to be okay, and he’d follow up with some possible ways things will work themselves out. I could have used that today. 

Fortunately, I still had a pretty good outlet for turning this day around. After an excellent Access and Choice
class, a handful of my peers and I went to Superior for SO MUCH chips and queso, margaritas (for those who wanted them), and a bit of “real” dinner too. It’s so nice to have people to gather with to decompress and discuss the things that are important to us. I would love a much lonelier life without my Tribe. 

Part of the destruction from our post-class Superior outing

Something that made today great: My statistics professor helped me figure out a direction for my class project!
Time I woke up: 7:15 am

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Day 227

This weekend flew by. I accomplished many non-school things (and a handful of school things), and LSU beat Alabama (in case you missed my blog post and the 3,432,126,754,293 social media posts about it. Geaux Tigers!

I still have quite a bit to wrap up before I head to Portland for ASHE this week. With so much travel in the near future, I am starting to worry that I am going to forget to do something before I leave. The end of the semester is also approaching quickly. While I am relieved, there is still plenty to do over the next month.

To end on a happier note, I am excited for all I am learning and am especially looking forward to my conference this week and spending some time with family over Thanksgiving.

Free photo from Pexels
Something that made today great: I'm pretty proud of my little group's work toward organizing the new Diaper Bank location!
Time I woke up: 8:02 am

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Day 228

So much for relaxing on the weekend! This morning, I volunteered at a FAFSA completion workshop in Abbevile, so I had to be up early to drive over to that. I grabbed a Happy Meal from a McDonald’s (I wanted that vintage toy! I got a red Power Ranger.) on my way back to Baton Rouge. I spent the next few hours at the Diaper Bank, then I went to early vote, and I stopped at Walgreens on my way home. I needed to drop off a prescription, but Ellen told me about a stuffed dinosaur they were I went in the store to check out the scene. I left with the dinosaur, so my next challenge is to keep Scooter away from it. I also need to name it. I’m leaning toward PhDinosaur because I foresee much cuddling with and some tears shed onto this dinosaur in the next few years. We shall see, though. 

Photo from the Walgreens app. I’m so excited about this dinosaur!

I was able to spend some time with Richard before he went to work, then I went for a run. I did a bit of knitting (finished a shawl), had a celebratory beverage after the football game, and watched a bit of TV. The time is now 9:55 pm, and I am in my pajamas ready for bed. I did zero reading for school, but I did have a good day. That has to count for something. 

Oh, and LSU beat Alabama today. That was pretty cool. 

Something that made today great: Lots of things today! I’ll go with the dinosaur. 
Time I woke up: 6:20 am

Friday, November 8, 2019

Day 229

While today was not quite as exciting or productive as yesterday, it was a good day at work. Richard is working nights this week, but Ellen invited me over to knit and whine/wine tonight. I ended up staying for dinner, and we watched some competition show on the Cooking Channel as well as Family Feud and America Says. Then, I came home and hopped on the treadmill while I watched some Friends. I am going to read for a few minutes before I go to sleep, but other than that, I did not do any reading or work for class...and I am okay with that.

I'm excited for the weekend, but I have quite a bit to do. Also, there's a football game tomorrow at 2:30 if anyone's interested.

I didn't make this meme, but I approve of it.

Something that made today great: I made a swanky calendar to identify weekends that Richard and I can relax at home between now and May. It's color-coded.
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Day 230

The last few days were a little rough, but I guess we cannot appreciate the good days without some shaky ones thrown in. Other than a blip related to some Facebook drama, there was nothing that stood out as particularly bad, but I was not enthusiastic about much the first few days of this week. (Also, some good even came out of the Facebook drama.  I have since deleted the Facebook app from my phone and am loving the time I have reclaimed for other purposes over the past two days!)

I spent most of my day in New Orleans at the Mid-South Educational Research Association (MSERA) annual meeting, and I presented the literature review I wrote in the spring as part of a paper session this morning. I loved it, and I can't wait to write and present more things in the future. I also attended several sessions today that were interesting in both content and method. MSERA was a good warm-up for next week's national conference with the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). My spring is also filling up with races and conferences; I probably need to go ahead and block off some weekends to rest at home before I overcommit. At least all of my commitments are things I love.

My friend Gina took this photo of me presenting. 
I skipped out on the business meeting portion of the conference and decided to head back to Baton Rouge so I could go for a run and attend the November HESPA meeting. Realizing that it was going to be pretty dark and that my time was going to be tight for fitting running, changing, and driving to campus, I decided to go run on the treadmill at the UREC. I need to do some hill training to prepare for the Semper 5ive and Historic Half in May, so I set the treadmill to give me some small hills. I kept my pace between 11 and 12 minutes per mile, but what was especially exciting was that I ran the whole time without stopping! I love run/walking and have no intention to stop doing intervals, but it was nice to prove to myself that I can hang for 4.5 miles of continuous running if I ever need to. That made me feel good.

With a good workout and productive day under my belt, I am feeling optimistic about Friday and looking forward to a wonderful weekend.

Something that made today great: I had a lovely pho lunch with Gina and Alicia, and I ran into Kripa (former LSMSA student) at the restaurant!
Time I woke up: 6:15 am

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Day 231

Today ended up being okay. I threw in the towel just before midnight last night and decided to get some sleep. Rather than leave for New Orleans at 6:30 this morning, I allowed myself to miss the first block of educational sessions at MSERA. In doing so, I logged an additional hour of sleep, which was much needed (as always).

Also, I ended up requesting an extension on my statistics homework. I asked if I could submit by midnight instead of 3:15 pm without penalty, and my professor agreed! Whenever people ask me for similar favors, I try to accommodate them and offer them grace (this doesn't always happen, but I try), but I tend to overdo it trying to meet a deadline rather than admitting that I need more time. I don't know why I was so afraid to ask for a small extension other times, but I am glad I took that step today. It made my day much less stressful, and I was able to accomplish everything I needed to do (with the possible exception of a run, though I rarely run on class days) with minimal stress thanks to a small adjustment.

I found this on Pinterest and liked it.

The takeaway from today is that I need to learn to ask for grace and/or extra time when I need it. For as long as I can remember, I have viewed deadlines as rigid and overexerted myself to meet them when life gets in the way and I start cutting it close to the deadline. While I don't want to make a habit of missing deadlines, I want to work on asking for grace and flexibility when I really need it. That's a new goal to start working on.

Something that made today great: Richard made red beans and rice today, so dinner was super easy.
Time I woke up: 7:15 am

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Day 232

The first time I challenged myself to blog daily for 100 days, a parameter I set for myself was that I would write at least two sentences every day. Usually, that's not difficult for me, but today I am really not feeling it. Thus, I'm going to write two sentences (and two sentences only) about today...after this one.

My day was good, but tonight's homework is frustrating. I wish I didn't have so much due tomorrow

Something that made today great: A brief knitting break with Ellen this afternoon
Time I woke up: 8:00?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Day 233

Despite the fact that today was Monday, I managed to have a good day; I would even go as far as to say that today was a beautiful beginning to a productive week. My to-do list has become much more manageable since I finished everything from October, though I am about to shift into a season of travel. Between now and the end of the month, I will be in New Orleans, Portland, and Rome (Georgia), and I still have an ambitious training and school schedule to balance with these adventures. Maybe I will rest in December.

I recently downloaded the Focus To Do app (read about it here), and it has helped me structure my study time nicely. I am still getting used to the app and might eventually upgrade to the premium version if I find that I need more features, but the free version has worked well for me thus far. Back in the spring, I had gotten in a cycle of working for half an hour and breaking for a few minutes before working for another half hour. This app does the same thing except that it also allows me to earn sunlight to grow a virtual plant. Grow, baby, grow!

My virtual plant! Since I am new to the app, it hasn't had much time to grow.
With traveling, studying, running, and virtual gardening, I'd say I'm busy enough these days to stay out of trouble. 

Something that made today great: The weather was fabulous this afternoon!
Time I woke up: 6:30 am

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Day 234

Richard and I had quite a productive Sunday! A few months ago, Ellen told me about the St. Joseph's Academy Sticker Stampede, a local 5K and 10K, and Richard and I decided to sign up. I registered for the 10K, and he registered for the 5K. As with last year's 5K at the Tiger 10K (maybe it's just called the Tiger 5K?) Richard said, "This will be the motivation I need to get back into training" when we registered and said, "Oh crap, that's this weekend?" when I reminded him that race day was approaching.

Every time I have run since the MCM 50K, running has felt more challenging than usual, and I have been tired every day since the race. (In case anyone is just tuning in, almost every blog post for the past week has at least referenced the fact that I am tired.) Still, with the beautiful weather we have had lately and the training I have been doing, I had a PR on the brain. My most recent 10K PR was an unofficial PR I set on a training run in June, so I felt confident that I could beat that and my official 10K PR, which was from the Cowtown 10K in 2018. 

Turns out, I was correct! I set my Gymboss for 4/1 intervals and cruised through all of my miles right around a 10:00 pace. The race was two loops of the 5K course, and I leap-frogged a lady with a double stroller for the entire first 5K. I finally passed her up around mile 4 and left her for good, but I hope I can run like she does if I ever end up needing a double stroller...seriously impressive. I saw AnhThauo in the distance as I came up the hill past City Park, so I picked up the pace to try to catch up to her. Shortly after mile 5, I was within yelling distance and was able to catch her attention. She thought I had started ahead of her and had spent the race trying to catch up to me...oops! Between her trying to catch me and me trying to catch her, we were both pushed hard in the race. We finished the last .8 miles of the race or so together, clinching 2nd and 3rd place in our age groups. I came through the finish line in 59:54.8, but my watch only showed 6.05 miles. I'm guesstimating my finish time would have been around 1:01:30, but I signed up for the Tiger 10K next month to secure a new official 10K PR. With some pushing, maybe I'll still make it under an hour! Fingers are crossed.

Other exciting things about the race this morning included: Sandra placing second in her age group, Richard placing 3rd in his age group, and Ellen beating every woman in the 50 to 59 age group at the 5K. Richard and Ellen became new running friends, though they have both promised me that they're not going to dump me for each other as running buddies. (Phew!)

This is the first time in a while that I've had multiple photos in a post! Thanks to Ellen for the photos. :)

After the race, Richard and I headed over to Mid-City to help move into the new Junior League's new space for the Diaper Bank! I am on the Diaper Bank Committee, and we unexpectedly had to vacate our old space at the end of August. A fierce team of movers Tetris-ed all of our diapers onto an 18-wheeler where they have been stored for over two months, but today, they came off of the truck! With many hands, carts, pallets, and even a forklift, we unloaded the truck and (mostly) sorted everything by size. There's still work to do, but we are making progress!

After a highly physical morning and afternoon, we went to Sonic for an afternoon treat and then headed home for a big nap. Now, I am finishing my reading and preparing for the week. I'll be at a conference in New Orleans part of the week, so this will be another busy week.

Something that made today great: A new 6-mile PR!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Day 235

Back before I started doing daily blog posts, I would sporadically make paragraph (or longer) Facebook statuses about funny or interesting things that happened in my life that day. Today, I was so excited about making gumbo that I ruined the topic/main point of my blog post for the day.

Despite being tired and averse to the cold, I made myself get up and go run with Slow Mode this morning. We ran/walked 10K, which was a lovely start to my Saturday. Then, Scooter's old family came over for a visit. The kids were so excited to see her! After they left, Richard and I went to Costco and did some grocery shopping. I also got in my head that I wanted to make gumbo soon since it's getting cold outside, so we stopped by Albertson's for some non-Costco-sized supplies. (Also, I don't know that Costco carries file!) I did a bit of reading and knitting, but much of my afternoon was consumed with making gumbo.

Being able to make a dark roux without burning it is one point of pride for Louisianians, but it's something I get nervous about as a non-native. I have only made rouxs a few times, and this one was definitely the largest volume I had ever made. I turned on Salt Shaker Radio on Pandora and danced while I whisked the flour and oil, and I did just fine. With a recipe to follow carefully for the other parts of the gumbo, I managed to produce a pretty tasty dish. I think this will be a winter for gumbo.

We invited Richard's fraternity brother, Marco, over for dinner, so I also made a cobbler to go with it. It was nice to have someone to hang out with, but as soon as we finished dinner, I was full of good food and ready for bed. In fact, I'm heading that way now. Tomorrow's looking busy, so I'll definitely benefit from the time change.

The second gumbo I've ever made--first chicken and sausage!
Something that made today great: I spent almost the whole day with Richard, AND most of it was at home!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Friday, November 1, 2019

Day 236

It’s the first day of November! I spent so much time focusing on surviving the madness of October that I failed to realize I’ll be traveling for about half of the month! I have two conferences scheduled—MSERA in New Orleans and ASHE in Portland—plus Thanksgiving travels you Georgia. I guess I better buckle up for this ride, too. There’s a lot of reading and writing to be done over these next few weeks!

I’m still trying to balance a solid running schedule. I had 5 miles on my RunBet, but Sandra suggested that we do the 6+ mile loop of the LSU lakes, so we did that. I can tell my body is still recovering from the 50K, but we had a good run today. The cooler weather is helping!

Something that made today great: I got into the Semper Fi Challenge! Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be doing the Semper 5ive and Historic Half in May and the Marine Corps Marathon 50K in October. 
Time I woke up: 9:15 am

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Day 237

Scooter loves to bark when we receive deliveries, so we decided to have an experiment today. We wondered, “If we dressed Scooter up as a delivery person, would she bark at herself?” Richard found a UPS costume online, and tonight was the night of our highly scientific experiment. 

While Scooter did not bark at herself, she was ready to get out of her costume almost as soon as she got in it. A limitation of this study would be small sample size (n=1); your mileage may vary depending on breed of dog and how much your dog likes or dislikes delivery people. 

Scooter doesn’t like costumes or photos. 

By the way, I am still tired. The time is 10:21, and I am heading to bed. 

Something that made today great: I graduated to the 15kg bar (for back squats only) today!
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Day 238

For the second night in a row, I'll be in bed before my self-enforced 1:00 am bedtime. I thought I was just tired yesterday from staying up late on Monday, but I think the combination of traveling and running this weekend is also playing a role. I could run an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) using hours of sleep as a covariate to see if the lack of sleep significantly influenced my tiredness following race weekend, but then I would have to collect data from a bunch of people, and I'm too tired to do that. Also, it probably doesn't matter much why I am tired. I know what I need to do.

On a happy note, my appetite returned today! I put away a large plate of pasta for dinner, and I probably could have eaten more. Instead of pasta, though, I decided I needed to eat some ice cream. I have not been very hungry the past few days, but that changed tonight. I'm not mad about it.

An adorable pasta plate, found on Pixabay
Something that made today great: I found out that I did well on my statistics midterm!
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Day 239

Apparently, I am still recovering from the weekend, because I am le tired. I also got really excited about pulling articles for a literature review I am co-writing and ended up breaking my 1:00 am bedtime and staying up until 3:00 am last night. Oops! I paid the price today when I had to come home and take a nap before I could go for my afternoon run and go out to dinner.

I think I would do really well as a bear. If someone gave me a chance to hibernate for the next few weeks, I would 100% sign up for that. I think LSU would have to accommodate my hibernation. Since hibernation does not seem to be on the horizon, however, I am going to bed right now (it's 10:16 pm!) and hoping I can wake up early and rock my Wednesday.

I didn't make this meme. I found it at

Something that made today great: Morning snuggles with Scooter before work
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Monday, October 28, 2019

Day 240

The Marine Corps Marathon 50K...whew, what a race!

Yesterday was the fourth time I toed the line in Arlington, Virginia at the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran most or all of the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014, 2015, and 2016, but I skipped the last two years just to mix up my race schedule a bit. When the fine folks at the MCM announced the 50K as an option this year, I did not give it much of a thought...until Sandra signed up. On that fateful day in February, I managed to access the website and enter my credit card information fast enough to clench one of 500 spots to run extra miles at The People's Marathon. (Eventually, the MCM opened up to a capacity of 1700 runners.) We trained in the heat and even ran a practice marathon (Sandra did two!), and we logged hundreds of miles together. Some days were better than others. Sometimes we ran great paces. Sometimes I needed to walk an entire mile in the middle of a training run. One time I had awful stomach issues out on the levee. We enjoyed many beers after Happy's runs on Tuesdays, and we made several trips to Smoothie King on weekend mornings to celebrate another long run. Race day was a long time coming, though the nerves started building when the race was only a few days away.

The MCM is famous for its unpredictable weather. There have been years when it was freezing cold and even snowing, but other years, it's unseasonably hot, which becomes problematic for runners who aren't acclimated to the heat. The start of the race was perfect as far as temperature goes, but it was raining just hard and consistently enough to be annoying. The Red Felt crew headed to the start area dressed in ponchos and garbage-bags-as-ponchos, and we had to wait about an hour in the rain for the race to begin. I was among the garbage bag wearers of the runners, and I cut the head hole in my garbage bag a little too big. By the time the race started, water was running into my garbage bag; I need to work on my bag cutting technique.

Photo from my runner friend Maria! I'm in the white hat. :)
The 50K runners got a 25-minute head start on the marathon pack, but the 1500-ish of us spread out pretty quickly. Sandra and I didn't go into the race with any specific goal beyond finishing, but we stayed within sight of the 6:30 pace group for a while. We were not fast enough to outrun the fastest marathoners; somewhere between miles 3 and 4, the lead runners in the marathon began passing us. Running in a trash bag was about as awesome as it sounds (note for the future: it would have been better if we'd cut them a bit so they wouldn't stick to our legs) but every time we thought about shedding the extra layer, the rain would kick back up again. The rain stopped, restarted, stopped, rained harder, and let up a few times, and we decided to take off our trash bags before we did the separate segment that only the 50K runners had to do.

Around 4.7 miles, we did the extra 4.9 miles as an out-and-back, and there was a special aid station where the volunteers were handing out muffins! Some people complained that they were soggy, but I thought they were just easy to chew. 

By the time we merged back onto the marathon course, we were behind most of the marathon runners.  We had an added confidence boost from passing people as we ran through Georgetown and to the half marathon (13.1 mile) point for the 50K runners. The rain continued to go in and out, raining pretty hard on us at one point, but we trudged on. The wear blue mile was, once more, one of the most emotional experiences I have ever had during a race. Perhaps my memory is foggy, but it seemed like there were more signs with photos of fallen heroes than there had been in other years. What was staggering was the number of men and women who had been killed in action over the past two years. It was a sobering reminder that men and women who serve our country place themselves in harm's way constantly, but it also encouraged me to run harder for a moment. After taking time to reflect on lives lost, the next section of the course is lined with people holding American flags and cheering the runners on. I took the time to look up and smile at each person holding a flag, and I fist bumped/high fived quite a few of them. Though pictures can't do the moment justice, here are a few pictures from the wear blue website (I think they're from 2016).

Eventually, the sun came out, and the race heated up. As we approached the first gauntlet--mile 17 for the marathon, and mile 22 for the 50K--I could hear the drums in the distance pounding out rhythms for runners approaching the famous bridge. Unexpectedly, my eyes started filling with tears, but I quickly shifted my thoughts back to making the next turn. We still had a few miles to cover before we would run by the drummers; we turned away to head toward the Capitol. We passed the first gauntlet with 22 minutes to spare! The miles were adding up, but we stayed strong. We saw Ed out on the course around mile 23, and I stopped for a hug. I rammed my shoulder into his chin (oops) but he was a good sport about it. 

Our next cutoff was the Beat the Bridge, which happened at 1:15 pm. Although there wasn't a Red Felt table before the bridge this year, there was plenty of crowd support with a group cheering, "BEAT THE BRIDGE! BEAT THE BRIDGE!" as we came around the corner. It's entirely possible that I yelled some profanity about beating the bridge to some enthusiastic spectators who roared back at me. The drummers were still pounding, and I felt my feet fall into their cadence. (Too bad I couldn't ever do that when I was in marching band.) I crossed the bridge feeling stronger than I ever had at that point in the race, even though I had five extra miles on my legs this year. It's amazing what some good training will do!

Sandra and I crossed onto the bridge about 25 minutes ahead of the cutoff time, and it felt like the entire pack shifted into slow motion at that point. We typically walk hills anyway, but there wasn't much space to run in this one because the pack was heavily concentrated, and almost everyone was walking. Practically out of nowhere, I started silently sobbing. Sandra looked at me, puzzled, and asked if I was okay. My response was something like, "Yeeesssss" (sniffle sniffle sniffle) "I just started thinking about when I got picked up by the bus five years agoooooooooooooooooo," and she said, "It's okay! We made it with plenty of time!" and I managed to wail, "I knoooooowwwww. It's just works. That's some good shit!" and she agreed that training is some good shit. Then, we laughed it out and kept going. The bridge is around 2 miles long, and it gets lonely out there. We did a bit of running when we could, but we had to bob and weave to move through the sea of runners who were hitting the wall. 

When we got off of the bridge, Crystal City greeted us with baby bottles of Fireball, beer shots, and Fireball shots. There were also the regular water/Gatorade stations. If we thought the bridge was bad, Crystal City was impermeable. We speed-walked through the few miles of Crystal City, and the last two miles or so led us to the finish. At that point, we did a few more 1-minute run intervals, as we were hoping to finish under 7 hours. By this point, we were one of a handful of people still running at all. 

Marketing for the MCM says, "Charge the District, beat the bridge, and take the Iwo." A cruel aspect of the MCM is the "take the Iwo" portion, which is a hill just past mile 26 of the marathon (around 31 miles for the 50K) that leads to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Sandra told me she was going to move to the right and try to run up the hill, so I said I would do the same. What happened, however, is that my inner Tasmanian devil came out, and I decided to blaze through the walkers on the hill (by "blaze" I mean probably run a 12-minute pace) and run through the finish line. I moved right, and Sandra moved to the other right (aka left), so we separated a bit and ended up with slightly different race times. For all intents and purposes, though, we ran the whole race together and had an awesome finish to our months of training. (Also, our watches both had us over 31.1 miles, so we ran over 31.1 miles together according to the Garmin gods.)

And that, my friends, is my tale of the Inaugural MCM50K.

Time I woke up: 6:40 am
Something that made today great: Seeing my best husband and best dog for the first time since Friday!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Day 241

It’s funny that I wrote about failure, disappointment, and rejection a few days ago, and one of the disappointments (I have learned not to look at it as a failure) was when I didn’t finish the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014. Today, even after two successful MCM finishes, I found myself getting really emotional when I beat the race cutoffs without having to worry about it. It’s amazing how far I have come in five years, and today was an amazing day to celebrate that progress. Even with tough conditions, we made it and finished strong. Hopefully, it’ll just keep getting better.

As is always the deal with race reports, if I don’t write it by tomorrow, it’s probably not going to happen.  I hope to get to it tomorrow, though, because this is a race worth documenting. I’m just really tired right now!

Something that made today great: A new 50K PR!
Time I woke up: 5:00 am