Monday, April 18, 2011

C for Catching Up!

Hello, lovely reader!! I didn’t set out to be away from the blog for so long--time really flies. I’ve missed it and I’ve missed you, but sometimes life just happens! I’m sure most of you (if there are any of you left) can relate, and if you can’t, I am extremely jealous. I’m going to try to update you on the past three months, and I’m going to try to keep it brief. I’m going to break it out into a few areas, including section headings so that you can skip past sections you might not be interested in.
Okay, here we go!

Taking three full-semester courses, meaning they all run for 16 weeks straight in tandem, proved to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be! That is the primary reason I’ve been M.I.A. I’ve had some big writing projects for Philosophy of Religion and lots of reading to do for the class. I’ve also had lots of reading to do for my Biology classes. I had a large research project to complete for Biology of Women, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I basically just phoned it in.

Well, scratch that, I didn’t totally phone it in and I am a little bit ashamed. I did a lot of research and put together what I thought was a pretty good presentation; however, I blatantly ignored the part of the instructions that said, “You must interview a professional researcher/clinician on the subject.” I didn’t have time for that crap, nor did I need to learn how to interview anyone because I’ve done that before. I'd like to think that, more than anything, my purposefully ignoring part of the instructions speaks less about my character and more about just how burnt out I was feeling by this point in the semester. It has really been brutal!

It remains to be seen my grade on the project will be affected by my willful ignorance. It would appear many of my classmates ignored the same part of the instructions (as well as ignoring all spelling and grammar rules of the English language, but that's a story for another day). Even though projects were due over two weeks ago, they haven’t yet been graded. Yeah…my instructor for this online course is a total slacker (I know, who am I to talk?!) and it just irks the hell outta me.

Needless to say, I cannot wait for this semester to be over!

Speaking of this semester ending, I cannot believe that next semester is my last semester at Community College!!! In some ways, it seems like it’s taken forever to get to this point, while in others it seems as though the time has just flown by. I will have officially completed my second associate’s degree by the end of this summer, which brings me to some reeeeeeeeeeallly exciting news I have to share…

The second thing that was taking up quite a bit of my time was completing my application packet for the College of St. Scholastica’s social work program. I had to write a five page essay, collect reference forms, and complete two applications (one for the school, wait for acceptance, then one for the program). All that hard work paid off, because I WAS ACCEPTED!!! (Twice! Once for the school and again for the program. It is the latter that I'm most excited about.) I am over the moon excited to officially be one of the College of St. Scholastica’s Fall 2011 Social Work Students!

Though my friends and some of my family members had no doubts that I would be accepted, I had my reservations. The program is very competitive. Only about 25 students are accepted each fall, and only in the fall, and I am just beyond thrilled to be one of those students! I will officially start at St. Scholastica in September, and within 16 months, I should have my bachelor’s degree in social work! How exciting is that?!?! I like that the program is structured so that the schedule stays the same. For the whole 16 months, I’ll take classes Tuesday and Thursday evenings and one Saturday a month. Not only is it going to be nice to finally be immersing myself in social work curriculum, but it will be so nice to always have the same consistent schedule (rather than my schedule changing each semester depending on what and how many classes I take).

My last semester at Community College—summer semester—could be incredibly easy or rather difficult. It all depends on me. I have two competencies to do and I have one class to take. The class should be an easy one, because it’s a fine arts requirement. Right now, I’m debating between beginning photography and a couple of different music classes. I’m not sure which one to choose yet, but either way, it shouldn’t be too tough. The competencies are going to be the tough part. Both are very large projects, requiring quite a bit of research and time, so I’ll have to be diligent about setting up a schedule and keeping myself on track. My innate ability to procrastinate will certainly be tested.

As you may or may not know, I work for a broker/dealer in the investment research department. Recently, an employee of the broker/dealer’s trade desk moved to another position. Since she formerly served as a backup trader when phones got busy or one of the traders was off for the day, the trade desk needed a new backup trader. I have the appropriate licenses to execute mutual fund and stock trades, and my current job is under the same umbrella (leader) as the trade desk, so I apparently was the obvious choice.

At first, it was an exciting new opportunity and I was pleased that I would finally be using some of the licensing I had been forced to get years ago yet never used; however, it’s getting to be overwhelming. In addition to serving as a backup trader, I also took over some of this former employee’s job duties. Someone seriously underestimated the amount of time it took her to complete the tasks I was given, as I find myself now buried in work. It doesn’t help that I’ve been called to backup on the trade desk for three hours every day this past week and at least two to three days a week in prior weeks. When the desk gets busy, it’s hard to multitask. One can’t exactly take explicit instructions to trade thousands of dollars of someone else’s money while simultaneously completing any other task. It just won’t work.

So, work is suddenly incredibly busy and overwhelming. I went from having weeks at a time with practically nothing to do to not having enough hours in the day to get everything done. It’s a shocking change that comes with many frustrations. I somehow need to figure out how to balance it all and how to get everything done. I have become even more thankful that my time at this company, and in this line of work, is limited. There is at least an end in sight!

I am still smoke-free!!! Over three months, in fact. Actually, over 100 days! 106 days, 13 hours, 23 seconds (as of this writing), to be exact. It’s mind boggling that I haven’t smoke 1,598 cigarettes! (GROOOOOOOOSSSSSS!) I’ve also saved 12 days and 4 hours of my life so far and $481.50. I’m still feeling really good about the decision to give up cigarettes and I grow stronger in my quit each day. It’s interesting, though, how one healthy lifestyle change can snowball into others…

I joined Weight Watchers online towards the end of February. I decided it was high time I do something about my weight rather than just whining about it. I’ve never had what I would call a good or healthy relationship with food. Part of that stems from lack of knowledge and part from never really having had a good example set. My mother seemed to be in a constant battle with her weight as I grew up. That, combined with the fact that we lived just above the poverty line (and sometimes way below it), meant we didn’t really eat a lot of nutritious, balanced meals. (Anyone else remember how vile government cheese was?) I was also taught to stuff my emotions with food, rather than to express them. Yeah…not so good.

I realized I didn’t want to end up like my mom—so desperate to lose weight that I put my life in more danger by undergoing surgery. My mother, while better and healthier than the last time I mentioned her in this blog, will likely battle various illnesses for the rest of her life as a result of her surgery and her inability, or resistance, to change her eating habits forever.

So far, I really like the Weight Watchers program. It’s not a diet!!! It’s a lifestyle change, which is exactly what I needed. I’m learning to eat a healthier, more balanced diet and I’m learning portion control. I’m also eating a lot more real, whole foods. The program cautions against depriving yourself, and I don’t. I still have cake, and cookies, and whatever else I want. I just don’t have them every day, and I eat appropriate portions. I don’t do, or eat, or not eat anything I’m not willing to do, or eat, or not eat for the rest of my life, because I want to be able to maintain (indefinitely) exactly what I’ve done to lose this weight.

I’ve learned to make smarter choices, and I am being rewarded for my efforts. I’ve lost 13.9 pounds so far, averaging over a pound and a half per week, which of course feels fantastic. But, my instant gratification personality struggles with this a bit. I would like to see the weight come off faster. However, just as I didn’t put it all on over one day or in the course of a week or so, it’s not going to come off that way either. I also know that losing weight slowly and steadily increases the likelihood that that weight will stay off, so while this make take longer than I'd like, it will be worth it. I’m certainly having to learn how to be patient and to revel in the little victories.

That lifestyle change lead to one other. Weight Watchers encourages exercise, and one of the things that compelled me to quit smoking was that I wanted to regain some lung function in order to be able to at least walk for fitness. I started the C25K running program a couple of weeks ago. This interval training program is meant to gradually introduce one to running, with the eventual goal being to run a 5K (a little over 3 miles) or half an hour straight. I used to think runners were just complete masochists. Having just completed day 3 of week 2 over the weekend, I still think that. However, I’m also starting to think that I just might be able to be one of those masochists. I am embarrassed at just how out of shape I am. My body is not used to running for even a minute straight—how awful is that?! But, I’m getting stronger and better each day, and that’s what counts.
That’s all I have for now, lovely reader!!! Tell me, what’s new in your world?

I have been reading and keeping up with the blogs in my reader, but haven’t been doing a lot of commenting lately. I’m going to try to get better about that.

Until next time,
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  1. whew! You have had a lot going on! It's great to hear what's going on and so happy to see a new post :-)

  2. Wow! Congrats are in order on many fronts! Your weight loss rate sounds PERFECT...sustainable, reasonable, and quite impressive.

  3. I am so glad you posted!!! I have missed reading your post. Congrats on getting accepted to school!

  4. Wow! I was so glad to see your blog pop into my reader've been missed.

    Congratulations on, smoking, weight loss. You are doing incredibly well and I'm so proud of you.

    As for the weight loss...I'm in your same boat, except I'm using Jenny Craig. I had no willpower for Weight Watchers. I, too, wish my weight would come off in three days, but it's coming off and that's what counts.

    Keep us posted on the C25K. I know you can do it.

  5. You have a cute blog! I love how consistent your blog post titles are :)

  6. Thanks, Kathie! Lovin' the new look of your blog! :-)

  7. Thanks, Emma! I have to keep reminding myself that reasonable and sustainable go hand-in-hand.

  8. Thanks, Margaret! Congrats on the blog design stuff-how fun!!

  9. Thanks, Shana! I've missed your blog too (among others). Thank you, thank you, thank you! Congrats to YOU on your success with Jenny Craig, and good luck on continued success! WE ROCK!!! YAY for decisions to become healthier!!

  10. Thank you! Loooooove the name of your blog. I took a quick look, but will be back soon to read more of your posts in depth.


Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for taking the time to comment! Readers like you make me want to continue writing. I will do my best to reply to your comment by either commenting on your blog or by sending you an email. In order for me to send you an email, which I really really like to do, because it's a more personal response, you need to put your email address somewhere on your blog or in your blogger profile. Also, can you please make sure to leave me a link so that I can come and visit your lovely blog? Thanks a bunch!

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