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  • Ahem

    February 24th, 2015 she Posted in Learning & Education   No Comments »  

    Did I mention I got into grad school?  Oh, that might explain why I never blog any more. I barely have time to breathe between juggling work, Browncoat responsibilities and now school. Oddly enough I am supposed to be writing a learning journal to reflect upon what I’m learning in class. It too suffers from my chronic lack of postings. At the moment I have topics identified but never seem to have the time to write while I’m trying to manage the weekly readings, postings and my major semester project… Here’s hoping I survive the first year!

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    Birthday wishes

    July 31st, 2014 she Posted in Learning & Education   No Comments »  

    For the month of August, I’m making this post sticky. Scroll down to see new posts.

    After a brief chat with PayPal, I was able to determine (and get in writing) that as a private citizen I can use their Donate button to collect funds for my birthday campaign. Feel free to send me electronic cashy monies via PayPal if contacting the University of Saskatchewan’s bookstore directly doesn’t work for you.

    I’d like to think that aside from Drew, I don’t ask for too much from anyone. This year is going to be the exception. I want something very specific for my birthday and for once it’s doesn’t revolve around charity work or volunteering.

    I’m returning to university in fall to begin my Master’s in Education. With Drew retiring soon and tuition to pay, our budget is super tight. I’m hoping that rather than sending gifts our friends and family will consider helping me pay for my course textbooks.

    The U Sask Bookstore does not offer gift certificates or gift cards for purchase online; you have to physically be on campus at the bookstore to purchase them.

    Not to fret though. I contacted the bookstore and advised them of my grand plan to beg for birthday money to spend at the university. Their wonderful staff came up with an alternative for me (and you, generous donor).  You can purchase a gift card of any amount but instead of mailing it out the bookstore will keep it on-file. So as I need books, I can email or phone in my order. The bookstore staff will then delve into the gift cards on file, swipe the card and ship the books to me.

    To purchase a gift card, phone the U Sask bookstore (perhaps ask for the lovely Elaine?)  toll free 1-888-214-8888. Do be sure to say “Hi I would like to purchase a gift card for [y'all know my name] to keep on file. U Sask Bookstore staff will create the gift card, put the name on it and send you a receipt (or keep it with the cards).

    As people make their purchase, Elaine will email or fax you your receipt. You can wish me a Happy Birthday! in the best possible way!

    Elaine recommends that you also contact me and let me know of your purchase so that I’m aware of who my marvelous benefactors are and thank you with gushing praise and all that goodness.

    *fingers and toes crossed that someone other than me thinks this is a fabulous idea*

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    birthdays, school & wishful thinking

    July 8th, 2014 she Posted in Learning & Education   No Comments »  

    I’m definitely heading back into student mode these days; re-adjusting the household budget to ensure we can pay for important stuff like textbooks and tuition.

    Or, like any good student would, plotting ways to encourage friends, family & random strangers to buy me gift cards from the Uni for my textbooks!

    It’s going to take a little bit of effort and co-ordination to make it happen – it’s not something they have automated (yet!) – but U Sask seems to be filled with people who are willing to go the extra mile to make the experience good for their students. 

    Which is very good for me…assuming my friends & family actually want to help me buy textbooks at the Uni bookstore.  In case anyone actually *wants* to do that (my birthday is next month!) I’ll be posting details in a few weeks.

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    Par for the course

    June 20th, 2014 she Posted in Learning & Education, Random Burbling   No Comments »  

    Muse about writing a weekly post so I don’t forget the important, or even random, things that happen in my life and *boom* a month passes. The only surprise I can claim in this is that I hadn’t noticed a month had flown by already! What I wouldn’t do for those long, lazy days of a childhood summer. We were so desperate to grow up and wanted time to pass quicker. Now I blink and entire months disappear.

    I do have some news to share. After much worry and chewing of fingernails I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be attending the Education Technology and Design program at University of Saskatchewan in the fall. It was much first choice in programs and I can’t wait to start.

    Cue the whining about course loads and homework in 3…2…1…

    A few years ago I returned to school thinking I’d shift into an entirely new career. It appears that we can’t leave the family businesses (Education OR Nursing) that easily. Just when we think we’re done, they suck us back in. After many moons of Military History and Psych classes, I know I wouldn’t make a good Therapist. I like to think I’m a decent Instructional Designer and I know I’m far happier doing this than I would have been completing mandatory counselling hours. Despite having grand plans to help others like me, I don’t think I’m cut out for regular interaction with people.

    And so we fall back on what we know. And for once, we’re content. We think.


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    It is done

    July 26th, 2013 she Posted in Learning & Education, Random Burbling   1 Comment »  

    The final exam in my final course has been completed. Now we wait.

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    time flies

    July 15th, 2010 she Posted in Learning & Education   No Comments »  

    I registered for my fall classes a few days back and am now eagerly awaiting the arrival of my textbooks. If only I didn’t have to pay a bazillion $$ extra for them. My thankfully my Adult Dev class only requires 1 text since the Aboriginal History (mandatory course to graduate) class has a 4 text reading list.

    I have to admit, I’m really leery and uncomfortable with the idea of completing the Aboriginal History course. Partially because it’s mandated. Mostly because of a horrific experience I had in a similarly themed university course in the early 90s. I’d go into details, but I’m trying hard to keep my blood pressure in check these days. Suffice to say it wasn’t the fascinating introductory class to another culture and way of thinking that the syllabus portrayed it to be.

    Four classes until graduation. Guess I better knuckle down and get to work soon!

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    post vacation blues

    June 22nd, 2010 she Posted in Learning & Education, new leaf   No Comments »  

    I was terrified to go on vacation a few weeks back – family cruise to Alaska – because of 1) my food allergies and 2) hub’s family. Amazingly it all worked out wonderfully. Because we’d informed the cruise line that I had food allergies weeks before I got on the boat, they were prepared and let me pre-order all my meals a day in advance (giving the chef/kitchen notice).

    Hubs family turned out to be delightful in small doses. His parents usually are. It’s his brothers I was worried about. Guess this means his younger brothers are finally starting to grow up ;) Now that the youngest is in his 30′s, all I can say on the matter is that ”it’s about time!”

    I did get a bit of a sticker shock when I stepped on the scale post vacation. Despite chosing healthy options from the menu that were advertized as “low sodium and low sugar” and eating lots of fruits and veggies I discovered that according to my home scale I’d gained 10 lbs since leaving for the cruise. Since all my new clothes still fit I assumed it was mostly due to the extra sodium in my diet while away.

    I got back to eating normally – low or no salt options as much as possible – and drinking extra water. Within days I’d dropped 6 lbs. By the end of the week I’d lost the 10 lbs vacation weight and this morning discovered I’d lost another 2.2 lbs. That averages out to a 1.1 lb loss for each week I was on vacation. Which is pretty much what I’ve been averaging lately.

    There were some downsides to vacation. I arrived home to discover that my favourite cat had passed away the day before. My pet sitters were really nice and had taken good care of all our fur babies. I guess it was just her time to go.

    Downside #2 is that there’s next to no time left for me to finish my latest course at school. 8 days to finish an assignment, 15pg research paper and a final exam. And somewhere in there I have to fit working full-time and pulling off a major charity event next weekend. Ugh!

    Feeling very stressed at the moment ;(

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    babbling in public

    May 25th, 2010 she Posted in It's a Living, Learning & Education, new leaf   No Comments »  

    Last week I went home to SJ to attend the CNIE conference. It’s been a few years since I’ve been home so I spent an extra few days in the city and crashed at my mum’s place.

    CNIE 2010 was special for me this year. It’s not the first time a paper I’ve been associated with has been presented at a conference, but it was the first time that I was involved in the presentation. Needless to say I was a bundle of nerves and Dr. D might have expressed some concern thet I’d become a babbling idiot during the presentation. I may have babbled a bit, but I certainly didn’t go off the rails and both Dr. D and N should have nothing to worry about career wise. Well, at least not due to being associated with me at this time.

    Eating and exercising was a real challenge at home. Once the convention was over it wasn’t as difficult since I mostly ate at mum’s. Eating out can be a veritable mine field. Sometimes the healthy options can be filled with hidden fat, calories, sugar, etc. I decided that if I was going to go overboard on a meal or two then I’d best enjoy myself.  And with that decided, all was right with the world. Lobster stuffed cheesy mushroom caps found their way onto my plate.

    I think this attitude really helped keep me on track while I was away from home. Rather than going overboard all the time, or denying myself constantly, I had the special splurge meals and the standard lifestyle change type meals. When all was said and done I returned home 0.8lbs lighter. I likely would have lost more weight over the time I was gone if I’d been less indulgent. But I think the important thing is that I continued to lose weight and still managed to do the social eating (lunches, trips to restaurants, etc.) that would have easily derailed me in the past.

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    catching up

    February 10th, 2010 she Posted in Learning & Education   No Comments »  

    The last few weeks have been pretty crazy. I had a monster research paper to submit over the weekend and have spent all non eating, cooking, exercising, and working hours researching and writing the paper. Now that it’s submitted I can relax a bit. It was the last graded item for my International Relations class so 40% of my final grade is resting on the monstrosity I turned in. I am pretty disappointed in it but am also so brain dead and tired (specifically due to school) that I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have managed any better.

    This weekend I’m going to be spending more time studying and writing papers. Oh, what an exiting life I lead.

    December can’t come soon enough. I need to graduate so I can have a break!

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    Slow beginnings and bounces of excitement

    January 15th, 2010 she Posted in Art, Vittles & Beer, Learning & Education, Random Burbling   1 Comment »  

    Apparently the new year did not bring with it more time to post. A few short days after we rang in 2010 I was back to the mad dash scramble routine of reading articles and texts, writing papers, and prepping for yet another semester. All while I wait to receive my grades from last semester (they’re not posted yet).

    I’ve got another three weeks - two minor papers and a research paper - before my International Relations class is over. Add to this my Psych and History course this semester (they both have papers due this month too) and I’ll likely poke my head back out in the real world sometime near the end of April. Funny how that co-insides with the two weeks I have off between semester.

    Have I mentioned that this is my last year in school? Not entirely as I plan to go on to grad school (if they’ll take me) in 2011. But the last year working on this particular degree. Including the three courses I’m currently enrolled in, I have 7 courses left to complete before I can boogie my way across a dance floor and party like it’s 1999.

    Yeah, I’m planning on throwing a huge party once I’ve finished this degree. Everyone better be there with bells on.

    On an “I have the most awesome mentor in the world and am thankful every day that I had an opportunity to meet and work with this wonderful individual” note, I just got word that the group paper we were working on for CNIE has been accepted. The 2010 CNIE conference is taking place in my home town 16 – 19 May 2010. With the carrot of possibly getting to help present the paper if I can get to the conference dangling in front of me, I’m trying to determine if a flight home will fit in the budget. I don’t think I need to worry too much about food and lodging expenses since mum has been asking me to try and come home this year for a while. Flight costs are pretty exorbitant for a family on a budget and I’ll have to arrange for a few days off work (possibly unpaid as we have a family cruise vacation & the hubby’s tour trip planned later in the year). A flight home is often over 700$ – before taxes in many cases – and more lost pay this year is going to make an impact on the budget so going home isn’t as easy as it sounds.

    Speaking of the hubby, he’s off once again. For now it’s the exotic locale of Montreal. Ok, not so exotic. He’s been there a million times. Plus one. He’ll survive. After that, he’s off to Jacksonville for a little bit before arriving back home in February. It’s shaping up to be one of those years where he’s gone more than he’s home. With a 9 month tour looming on the horizon, it’s hard to expect anything else.

    Finally, I’m hoping that this time next year will see me half way to my goal of a whole new fitter and healthier me. I’ve been needing to take this step since I fell off the eating right/exercise wagon in the summer of 2004. Dad got sick. I ate. Dad died. I ate a bit more. Who am I kidding? I ate & drank everything ”bad” for me and didn’t give exercise any consideration at all. I ballooned from a semi-normal size 12 to a massive size 18. On my small frame size 12 was hefty; size 18 puts me in the realm of obese. Not chubby. Not pleasantly plump. Not all the other little things I’d tell myself rather than admitting I’ve reached orca size.

    With my dr.’s help, I’ve mapped out a plan to change that in 2010-2011. On the plan, it’ll take between 18-24 months to reach my weight and fitness goals. I’m refusing to call it a diet since it’s an 18 month plan requires a complete lifestyle change on my part. I didn’t gain all this weight in a short time and I certainly won’t be able to lose it rapidly.

    My goals are laid out in 6 month increments. By June, I want to be wearing clothes that are 2 pant sizes & 1 shirt size smaller. By December I want to be wearing clothes that are an additional 2 pant sizes & 1 shirt size smaller. June 2011 should see me another pant & shirt size smaller.  That’s my goal in a nutshell. I want to be 5 pant sizes and 3 shirt sizes smaller. I want to be able to buy clothes in any regular size store. I want to be fit enough to climb to the top of Whistler’s mountain. I have business to attend to there.

    To help me reach my goals I have a daily calorie range to meet. There’s wiggle room but I have to eat a minimum of the bottom end of the range and no more than the top end. I’m supposed to eat 3 smaller meals and 2-3 snacks each day. I’m planning my meals at least a day in advance. My portions are being weighed and measured before being plated. I’m eating breakfast each morning, bringing my lunch to work each day, and most importantly, I’m keeping a detailed food diary. There are a few reasons for keeping the food diary:

    1. To ensure that I eat the minimum calorie amount outlined in my plan each day. If I don’t eat enough I won’t get the health benefits I’m looking for since my body will react poorly (so I’m told).
    2. To ensure that I’m not eating too much sugar/carbs each day. I don’t have a minimum amount in my plan but it does have a maximum daily intake that I’m supposed to try to stay faithful to. This has made me a lot more conscious of the added sugars in a large number of products and is driving a number of my food choices. For example:I used to drink a large amount of fruit juice because it was a convenient way to get some of my daily fruit/vegetable servings. However, juice is often filled with sugar. It might take a bit longer to prepare or eat but I’ve quickly learned that eating the fruits & veggies as opposed to drinking juice fits my sugar/carbs limitations better. Raw, cooked, or frozen fruits & veggies have naturally occuring sugars but they’re often at a much lower level.
    3. To know exactly what’s going into my mouth and when I’m eating. I never ate large portions in the past but I ate all the wrong things. Often at the wrong time. I’d skip meals. I’d eat 800+ fat and sugar laden calories just before bedtime. I’d drink multiple glasses of sugar laden juices within an hour. Because I use my food diary to help me plan the next day’s meals, it forces me to be more aware of what I’m putting in my body and where I’m obtaining my daily calories from.
    4. To have a complete record of what I’ve been eating/drinking or doing for my Dr. should my next checkup have results neither of us were expecting. I should be getting all the minerals and vitamins I need on my plan, but just in case I’m not, the Dr. should be able to figure out where I may be lacking by reviewing the food diary.

    As for exercise, at the moment I have a daily treadmill routine. I’m a bit slow and it’s more of a meander than speed walking. As I get fitter I’m hoping to expand the walking to a jogging/running routine and perhaps add trips to a gym. Right now I’m not ready for that – physically or psychologically.

    I’m also not ready to go out to eat or drink with friends anytime soon. I’m still learning proper portion sizes and healthy eating choices. My intent is to learn that through routine weighing and measuring of foods when I make my meals. I’ll tackle social eating once I have a good handle on what a serving size really should look like on a plate. I think being able to recognize this will go a long way towards helping to ensure I don’t overeat or choose the wrong types of foods. For now I’m sticking to Casa Mia at mealtime.

    The most important thing for me to keep in mind is that I’m eating healthier, getting some exercise that increases my heart rate, and working on a plan that I can manage. The manageable plan is the key. I know me. If it’s too difficult to do or I’m expecting miraculous results that don’t appear quickly, I’ll eventually end up becoming disheartened and giving up.

    Which makes me doubly glad that we don’t have a working scale in the house. There’s no temptation to hop on and off the scale on a daily basis. I have to measure my successes in other things – better sleep, lack of hunger, improved moods, decreased clothing sizes.

    If you see me this week don’t expect to see many changes. I’ve just started the plan this past Sunday and don’t expect to lose more than 2 lbs a week – but more likely it’ll be just 1 lb a week – so I doubt we’ll see any visible signs of improvement for at least 8-12 weeks.

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