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