Sunday, October 13, 2019

Day 255

I had a wonderful day where I managed to squeeze in FaceTiming my father in law, going for a run, walking Scooter, and shopping for yarn with Ellen while still completing more homework than I expected to do today. I feel like I really have a grip on my life right now.

Of course, this sense of accomplishment has not come without a bit of ridiculousness.

I am currently finishing a study guide about multiple regression while "Back That Azz Up" by Juvenile plays on repeat. October 23 is still pretty far away. The "playing early 2000s rap songs on repeat while doing statistics" stage wasn't supposed to come this early. I worry about what the future holds. I will probably eat too much cereal at some point before this is all over.

I didn't take any blog-worthy photos today, so here's a picture of some candy corn that was free on Pixabay.



Something that made today great: My professor is allowing us to submit two "short" journals this semester, which is going to save me at least a few hours in the coming weeks. Boom.
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Day 256

I'm continuing to work through my to-do list, but I started the day off with a little running and brunching to ease into the weekend. I had sworn that this would be a weekend of intense studying--which it's that too--but I needed some time to chill out, breathe, and have a little fun. Then, I did what I said I was going to do and studied. On one of my study breaks, I did take a quick trip over to my polling place to cast my vote in the primary election, so I feel like I did a good job taking care of my physical, emotional, social, and civic responsibilities today. 

The countdown is still on for October 23, but I am feeling less overwhelmed with every task I check off of my list. Even though I have tons to do, I am starting to see that it is possible to get it all done if I can break things down into smaller pieces. Plus, when all of this is over, it'll just about be time to head off to the Marine Corps Marathon, and that is something I have been looking forward to for months. I am almost to single-digit territory in the countdown to my last presentation. I can do this.

I would've voted without the sticker, but it was nice to get a sticker today!
Something that made today great: Running and brunching with fabulous female friends
Time I woke up: 6:15 am

Friday, October 11, 2019

Day 257

Through my College Access and Choice course this semester, I am participating in a service-learning opportunity. October is College Application Month, but in my state, it's actually Louisiana College Application and Access Month. Today, I volunteered at a high school for their College Application Day, and I helped seniors fill out college applications at a high school located about an hour and a half from where I live. In each class, I introduced myself with a spiel that went something like this:

Hi everyone! My name is Kimberly Davis, and I am a Ph. D. student at LSU. I am here to help you with your college applications and answer any questions you might have. I earned my bachelor's degree at Mercer University, which is a small private school, and my master's degree is from Arkansas Tech University, where I was an online student. If you have any questions about private institutions, online learning, or LSU, I am happy to answer those too! 

I did not have to answer any difficult questions; many of the issues that arose had more to do with navigating the application websites than the content of the applications. What was particularly exciting was seeing students finish their applications and feel accomplished for getting the ball rolling on their college processes. Most of the students were applying to state schools nearby, and I was surprised at how many were applying to their local community college. (While they worked, I walked around to answer questions and see where they were applying.)

Most students were either filling out college applications or searching for scholarships, but one student had Google pulled up on his Chromebook and had searched for "phd student." I had to pause for a moment and remember that while "Ph. D." is something that is a huge part of my life right now (and one of the top five topics I discuss with...anyone ever), I cannot assume that everyone knows what that is when I talk about it. Tonight when I came home, I read one of my readings for class on Monday, and it was about jargon and college knowledge. I spewed out all kinds of higher education terms in the 30 seconds I took to introduce myself--not a great idea for seeming like an approachable, relatable person to ask for help. These students are going through college application processes that differ from mine in many ways, and I just know I must have looked like a dodo. Fortunately, I managed to build some rapport with several of the students as we worked through their applications.

As I have learned more about college access this semester, something I have worried about is seeming unrelatable because I did not have obstacles to pursuing a college education. I do try to be honest about that fact, and I hope that my concern comes across as genuine when I serve students. College access is climbing the ranks of things I am passionate about, and I want to do meaningful work in expanding access to higher education. Realistically, I will likely always struggle with this as long as I am in the higher education field, but I hope I will come across as authentic when I serve others. Hopefully, the joy of the service will overtake my worries soon.

Free clip art of a Dodo bird wearing a crown...because I felt like a queen dodo bird today.

Something that made today great: I stopped at Billy's and picked up some boudin and pepperjack boudin balls. Yum!
Time I woke up: 5:15 am


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Day 258

I am amazed by how much better I have felt after making that to-do list last night. Even though it's a long and ambitious list, I feel so much more organized with my life. Also, checking items off of the list (well, highlighting them to indicate that they're done) feels pretty amazing.


I am proud to report that I am not guilty of this yet, but I still liked the meme.
At the moment, my list only contains school and professional tasks, but I did have some workout/exercise accomplishments today. I went to Lunchtime Lifts, making this the first week that I attended both workouts, and I ran with Varsity tonight! We did the decrease part of a ladder on a "hilly" area of Baton Rouge (which means not really hilly at all), and I managed to run faster as the requirements got shorter, even though I was getting tired. My hope is that I will continue to grow faster and stronger as I keep at it. For accountability purposes (and future reference) here were my paces:

  • 880 m: 9:19 min/mi
  • 660 m: 8:45 min/mi
  • 440 m: 8:08 min/mi
  • 220 m: 7:47 min/mi

Something that made today great: Getting two solid workouts done in one day!
Time I woke up: 7:30 am


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Day 259

My mantras lately have been "I can't commit to anything new between now and October 23," and "I will be able to breathe a bit after October 23." Looking at my semester after October 23, however, I am starting to realize that I am still going to have a lot to do to finish the semester strong. Still, I am allowing myself to buy into the narrative that I will be able to relax after October 23 because I head to DC for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, and I am absolutely going to allow myself to breathe, enjoy the company of friends, and run the race I have been training for since the spring.

Tonight, I sat down and made a to-do list of everything school-related that I need to do between now and October 23. I broke the list down into manageable pieces because I like being able to check off tasks, but that made my list pretty long. Still, seeing it all in one place was actually kind of relieving, so I'm counting that exercise as a victory. I'll be glad to check every last task off of that bad boy and report back on my success in two weeks. Whew!



Something that made today great: I think I did really well on my statistics homework this week!
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Day 260

I am definitely getting better and more confident in the weight room, and I think I might actually like Lunchtime Lifts. (Gasp!) Today was the first day that I did not have to shorten my last set, so that felt good. Paul even talked me into adding a little bit of weight to my last set of bench presses, and I still managed to do all eight reps. I'm not looking to do anything too crazy in the future (like upgrade from the 10 kg bar to the 15 kg bar), but I'll probably be there sooner than expected if I can continue to not fall from platforms and/or cry during class. I haven't done either of those things since the first day.

With the number of things I have on my plate this week and the fact that Richard was off of work tonight, I opted to skip Happy's and spend some time with my best husband and favorite dog. I am not running as much as I was a few weeks ago, which is due to a combination of (a) being a bit overwhelmed with school and (b) embracing the taper before Marine Corps perhaps a little too much. I'm doing better with my water consumption and sleep, though, and I like to think that those things will make me a better runner.

I'm glad tomorrow is the halfway point of the week!

Paul and I sent the workout to Jennie because she was not in class today
Something that made today great: Richard and I brought back Fried Chicken Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks. Popeye's for dinner!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Monday, October 7, 2019

Day 261

Today was jam-packed with student affairs fun! The annual Louisiana Association of College and University Personnel Administrators conference was today at Southern University. With some collaboration from LSU friends, I was able to co-present at two breakout sessions. This was great fun and apparently counts as valuable professional experience, so that's a double win!

I spent the bulk of the day at the conference but headed back to LSU in time to meet with my group project partners at 4:00 before we had class at 4:30. The first group presentation was today, and it was awesome! I might talk about it in my blog a little later this week, but I am pretty tired at the moment. I will actually be heading to bed before 11:00 for the first time in a while, which is an indicator of just how delightfully exhausting this day was. (Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I might've stayed up past 1:00 last night working on my PowerPoint slides. And by "might've" I mean "definitely blew that one," but I did take a three-hour nap yesterday.)

My heart is full from spending the day doing things I love and meeting people who are doing some incredible work in our state, but I have quite the list of things to accomplish between now and October 23. I have to pace myself so I don't end up crying in my car again...ha!

Selfie opportunity with my master's advisor after the graduate student round table!
Something that made today great: Reunions with fabulous student affairs friends from around Louisiana
Time I woke up: 6:15 am

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Day 262

I had another lovely weekend, but I can already tell I will be looking forward to the next one quickly. Without question, I had lots of fun, but I was not as productive as I had hoped. Next weekend, I am really going to have to buckle down and prepare for midterms. I am possibly running the Cane Field Classic on Saturday morning, and after that--well, after lunch after that--I think I'll pretty much just stay home and hit the books. Knowing me, I will also need at least one study nap. This studying stuff is hard work!

Other than pacing myself through the week (the goal is not to stay up past 1:00 am on any day), I'm going to work on drinking more water. I'm thinking I will strive for 80 oz per day, but I will update on that. Sometimes I can be a little too ambitious when I set these types of goals. Since I didn't take any photos today, here's a stock photo about drinking water.

Photo from Pexels

Something that made today great: Quality nap and walking time with Richard and Scooter
Time I woke up: 7:15 am

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Day 263

After my marathon last weekend, I wanted to coast until the Marine Corps Marathon 50K, but Sandra reminded me that tapering still involves some running.

The LSU game was scheduled for 11:00 am, so we opted to start early enough to be ready for the game. We did about 3 miles by ourselves then met up with the Varsity Sports group for 10-ish miles that took us through LSU. While we were out, we ran/walked about 8 miles with a lady named Brandy, and the three of us ran/walked the last two with a lady named Amy. We were quite the sight running through the tailgaters and gameday guests!

Post-Run selfie with new friends!

After the run, I took a quick shower, and Sandra dropped me off on campus to meet Richard, Russ, and George at the game. We had seats in the stadium club, which was pretty cool until Russ, Richard, and I all got sunburned. Apparently, games that start at 11:00 am have challenges beyond waking up early. 

By the time we made it home, I’d experienced more excitement than I enjoy in some weekends, but the party didn’t stop there! We hosted Tim and Emily for dinner; Richard made sous vide steak with gnocchi, and I made Vegetables Galore. That’s a story for another day, but there were definitely vegetables galore involved. Not to be outdone, I made two desserts: peanut butter pie and mixed berry cobbler. 

I added onions after this. 

It’s been quite the eventful day, and I think my sunburn and full belly are the perfect recipe for a night of deep sleep. Whew. 

Something that made today great: I accomplished so many things!
Time I woke up: 6:10 am 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Day 264

I am not 100 percent sure, but I think I won at adulting today. My Friday night consisted of knitting, eating tacos, and not doing any dishes. 

The internet told me that today was National Taco Day, and while I know lots of those types of holidays are made up, I did not want to chance missing out on a day dedicated to tacos. 

After work, I went over to Ellen’s house for a bit because we bought matching yarn at Fiber Fun in the ‘Sip and wanted to cast on our knit along project. As I was getting hungry but not excited about making dinner, I asked Richard if he was okay with Taco Bell for dinner. He was quick to agree, and when I called to ask what to order, he suggested a Taco Party Pack. 

Taco Bell offers several products that can be mixed and matched in a Taco Party Pack, but I decided to keep it simple and do a dozen soft tacos. 

For dinner, I plopped the box in the middle of the table, and Richard and I each ate six tacos. Well, Scooter got a few bites of mine.) We didn’t even bother with plates, which meant that there were no dishes to wash other than our drinking glasses. Everything about this meal was a victory, and I have no shame about my unbalanced dinner. 

Photo from Taco Bell

Something that made today great: Eating 5-6 tacos for dinner
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Day 265

Today was not a day where I knocked many things out of the park, but it was a pretty okay day. I had several meetings and ended up missing Lunchtime Lifts after the combination of one meeting running over and parking by the UREC being a hot mess would have only left me with 15-20 minutes of workout time. My meetings were productive and mostly positive, though. 

My day after work was nice! Sandra and I went to the Varsity run and did three miles, then I met Richard and Maryanne for dinner at Acme Oyster House. It was such a treat to have Maryanne in town, as I had not seen her since May. I ate eight or nine chargrilled oysters and followed them up with a delicious roast beef po boy that I think is my new favorite comfort food. 

Again, I didn’t take any photos today, so here’s a stock photo (from Pixabay) of some oysters on a grill. I should’ve taken a picture of my roast beef po boy. 



Something that made today great: Dinner at Acme was a highlight!
Time I woke up: 6:55 am

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Day 266

Yesterday, I wrote that I was tired. A natural solution to that problem would have been going to bed and getting some sleep, but what I instead chose to do was stay up past 3:00 am reading, writing, and working on homework.

That did not make for a great day today. 

Not only did I wake up tired, but I ended up sobbing in my car after a dermatologist appointment when the doctor prescribed me a topical medication instead of an oral one. That was my cue that I was not going to be productive at work or anywhere else until I got some sleep, so I rescheduled a meeting and let Jennie know that I was not coming to work in the morning and possibly not today.

I drove home, climbed back in bed, and logged another 4.5 hours of sleep. I woke up feeling better, ate a little lunch, and did some light preparation for a project before heading to my Wednesday class. My class went well, but perhaps even better was going to eat Mexican food and drink margaritas at Superior after class. This semester, I am starting to realize how precious weekends are and how important it is to find time to rest and reset. Fortunately, I'll be home every weekend between now and the Marine Corps Marathon and should be able to have a better grip on my life and my business. That's the hope anyway!

I didn't take any pictures today, so I decided to pull a photo from Pexels. The ones for "crying" were more depressing than I was going for, so I searched for "tired," and this photo of an attractive person in front of a pile of tires came up in the results. I guess that's a different kind of tired.

Photo from Pexels
Something that made today great: Post-class trip to Superior!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Day 267

It's only Tuesday, and I am already tired. I think this is the part of Ph.D. life that people tried to warn me about. Despite that, I am still having a great week! In bullet form (since it's already 11:52 pm), here are the notable things I did today (letting my dog out didn't make the list today):
  • Fixed my hair
  • Did my makeup
  • Wore a stylish new dress
  • Got my headshot done for the new Title IX dress 
  • Went to Lunchtime Lifts (I changed out of my dress) and didn't fall or cry
  • Had a productive meeting with my advisor
  • Worked on presentations for a conference next week
  • Wrote a proposal for a potential future publication
  • Did most of my homework for tomorrow
...and since I did most of my homework, not all of it, this is where I will end my post for the day.
Post-Lunchtime Lifts selfie

Something that made today great: I am picking two today! 1) Catching up with Ariel and 2) Richard bringing me a delicious burger for dinner.
Time I woke up: 7:30 am