Happy 1-Year Anniversary!

So, due to the craziness that was my general exams, I missed the 1-year anniversary of the blog.  That’s sort of sad, but I’ve made surprising progress over the last year, regardless.  To celebrate, I’ve changed the appearance of the blog.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane and go back to a couple of old posts, just to remember how it all started.

  1. The First Real Post – The first non-intro blog post was about how I was attempting to give certain fashion trends a fair shake.  Since then, I’ve worn several skirts, dresses, my shoe collection has ballooned.  I got the courage to empty my closet of almost everything that doesn’t fit.  Expect another fashion post or two, as a tribute back to the beginning.
  2. Best Recipe Success – There were several attempts at slow-cooker success over the past year, but by far, the tastiest is the slow-cooker tortilla soup.  I’m going to dig out this recipe and make it again, as the craving for home-cooked food comes back.  It’s also a reminder to attempt to reproduce the green sauce.  A project for this summer, perhaps?
  3. Productivity! – In the fall, I implemented Getting Things Done for College Students.  I never really did a follow-up post, but fall semester was almost entirely stress-free (except for big exams), and this semester was very stressful, but definitely would have been more so if I didn’t have this system.  This will be helping me stay on top of things this summer too.
  4. There were How-Tos, and other recipes too.  We also discovered I don’t like turmeric.
That’s just things that have happened in the crazy first year of this blog.  Prepare for another year of crazy productivity, more recipes, more how-tos, and more stuff I haven’t thought of yet.

So, Whatcha Doin?

So, what have I been up to since the beginning of May?  Well, like most other people, I’ve been getting ready for the end of semester.  This week is finals week, actually.  This means the usual rush of grading, testing, and all those other things.  Thankfully, I don’t have any finals, which means this week is almost like the beginning of summer for me.

Since the goal for the next two months is to workout, I started by getting back into using the WiiFit.  I found a website that allows me to generate routines, for free.  I highly recommend it.  One of the difficulties of using the Wii (and exercise in general) is coming up with a routine.  I like researching things like Crossfit, and SimpleFit, and mixing strength and cardio and what kind of cardio is best, but when it comes to actually exercising, just tell me what to do.  This was probably one of the appeals of Crossfit, since you’re supposed to just follow the routine they post for the day, but figuring out how to scale it back was too difficult for me.

The WiiFit also has the advantage of being gentle.  I’ve been doing “easy” 30 minute workouts, which still work up a sweat, and as I unlock higher difficulties, more reps, and longer times, I’ve been increasing things as I go along.  I’d like to get a copy of WiiFitPlus just to see what they’ve added.  And it’s different everyday, so the exercise schedule is looking back on track.

I also took Penelope out for a spin.  You remember Penelope, right? Truth is, I rode Penelope once last fall, trying to figure out a route, and then I gave up.  May is actually Bike Month, so I thought I’d give it a whirl again.  I still feel like a dork in my helmet and gloves, but it actually wasn’t too bad.  I took a different route this time, one that uses residential streets more than the main thorough-fares, and even near the main streets, I take the sidewalk.  I know, some people will argue against using the sidewalk, but I promise that I only use it on the two lane street that I’m not fast enough to bike on, and there’s no driveways and stuff.  So, much safer than probably other sidewalks.  And I always get off the bike and walk it when crossing a crosswalk.

This new route feels a lot like cycling when I was a kid, and I’m a little more comfortable.  Hills in the middle of the route have taught me that I need to take it slow and easy and to bring a towel or something to wipe off when I’m done, especially if I want to bike in work clothes.  I’ve only done it once so far, but since it looks like my summer duties are only going to have me coming to campus a few days a week, I think I’m going to try it again in the near future.  It actually felt really good, and I’ve already bought new gear for carrying things.  (The basket I have on the back isn’t the biggest, and I carry a lot of stuff to school.)

This week, I’m focusing on tutoring, proctoring tests, and meeting with my advisor to discuss the research I’ll be doing over the summer.  Now that my generals are finished, research is what most of my schooling is going to be about, and while I was sort of starting it last semester, now it’s going to be serious.  I can’t let myself sit on the couch all day, all summer long.

Holy Crap! An Update!

Oh, gentle readers (if there are any of you left).  What an awful two months it has been since I last posted.  I was all prepared to do my two workout months.  I thought I could handle it.  Alas, being a mathematician, my academic endeavors trumped all.  And by that, I mean THE GENERAL EXAM.

Now, many of you know what the general exam is, and have gone through it yourselves.  For those who don’t, it involves two written exams, and then an oral exam.  You have to pass all three in order to officially be a Ph.D. candidate at my university, so it is a BFD (big freaking deal).  The dissertation is almost like a formality after this.  This is bigger and badder than the qualifier exams.  I, like an idiot, decided to schedule mine at the end of April.  I should have known this would sabotage my workout efforts.

You see, the Shay has become a creature of paranoia and panic since entering grad school.  Where she used to be the smartest kid in the class, and then became one of the smart kids, when she got to grad school, she felt dumb.  D-U-M-B.  Not a happy feeling for our protagonist.  So, even though she feels she knows her stuff, even though she knows that she knows more than a lot of other people, she is still terrified of appearing dumb in front of her professors.  Especially her committee.  So when big exams like this come up, everything gets dropped by the wayside except the big exam.  Sleep, laundry, cooking, working out, blogging.  It all disappears in the wake of the BFD Exam.

Whew.

Now, you may have surmised that the exams are now over.  Life is slowly returning to what counts for normal around here.  Andrew told me it was over a week before I began acting like my old self again.  But now I’m picking up where I left off.  Since I basically lost two whole months, my goals need a little more reorganizing.  So here’s the revised goal list: (you can see the original list here)

  1. (May/June) Start an exercise program.
  2. (July/August) Real food.
  3. (September/October) Regular time for craft projects.
  4. (November/December) Pick up piano again.
Now, some of these may blur.  Summer is a great time for me to pick up a lot of projects I’ve been meaning to do, but I’m not going to force myself to try and accomplish more than one goal this summer.  I’ve got research to start after all.
Next post will be an update on what I’ve been doing since the beginning of May.  Stay tuned.  This blog isn’t dead yet.