Sunday, November 23, 2014

September through Thanksgiving in one fun post!

So, grad school AMIRIGHT?  Between the immense amount of work I've been doing and the immense amount of visitors we've had (I guess Colorado is like a cool place to live) I haven't even thought about blogging.  But right now I am currently on Thanksgiving break and even though I have a long list of work I have to do before school reconvenes, I miss updating my blog. So here we go.

Where to start.  Well, at first, I didn't think grad school was very hard.  It was probably 3 or 4 weeks into the semester before I really started getting pummeled with work.  I was disappointed about that false sense of security I was lulled into.

All of my classes are going fine. Even though I'm in grad school, I'm kind of being forced in a certain direction on which grouping of classes I have to take since I want to be a dietician.  I'm way more interested in the exercise physiology/nutrition sciences biochemistry type classes, but as instead I'm taking more like health education theories and epidemiology type classes.  While I understand those classes place in my education, its annoying because I've already taken them at the undergrad level.  So why are they forcing me in that direction you ask?  Well I think its because they don't usually get grad students with a background in nutrition in their program, so they assume that in order to meet my DPD requirements, I also need to be in the "community" masters program so I can fill the requirements and get my masters at the same time.  I asked why I can't be in the nutrition science masters degree and fill my remaining DPD requirements at the same time I the answer I got was "it just doesn't work with the coordinated program."  Really explicit, I know.

But, on the other hand, I'm not really that annoyed because I am learning TONS even though I supposedly already learned it.  My favorite (and hardest) class is an advanced nutritional science class.  I have to record the lectures and re-listen to all of them after class, hitting pause and hitting play over and over so I can understand what he's saying and put it in my notes.  Studying for that class takes literal days.  The first test I studied for probably 30 hours.  The second test was probably more than that.  Luckily for me, any grade above the median score in that class is an A.  

I am in the middle of (actually almost done with) my application into the coordinated program.  It's due on Dec. 4th, and I'll find out if I got in by February.  If I do get in, it'll mean I start in the Fall, and complete I think 1600 hours of work and when I get done I'll be ready to sit my exam to be a dietician.  That means that by May 2016 I could be a dietician.  THAT'S 18 MONTHS FROM NOW.
However, there's only 6 spots and I'm the only first year grad student applying.  So I'm not sure what my chances are.  I've been pouring my heart and soul into that application so we'll see.  If I don't get in, then that won't be so bad either.  I'll just take another year of classes that I'm more interested in and complete the other requirements that I'm more interested in as well.  It's a win-win either way.  By then I'll have in-state tuition also, so hopefully I won't be going into major amounts of debt to do another year.

I've also been doing data collection on my research project.   Its not really my research project and it was started well before I got here, but it's the project out of which my thesis will hopefully come.  What we do is run a person through a pretty rigorous strength training protocol for 100 minutes in the evening, and then the next day we feed them a drink with a lot of sugar in it (fructose, to be precise) and we draw their blood every half hour for like 6 hours to see what kind of response they have.  Then we do it again but without the exercise the night before.  We had 8 participants go through, but I only really helped with the last 2 or 3.  We actually just finished up the data collection, so the next step is to analyze the blood and figure out what we found so we can write some theses. Our advisor is out of the country next semester, so that's we're trying to wrap all that up in the next 2 or 3 weeks.  

I've also been doing TONS of grading.  I'm the TA for like 400 (at least) students, and each project takes like 10 minutes to grade.  IT'S REALLY GREAT.  Just kidding.  It's not that bad.  Also the department hired a few people to help me, so I only had to do like 1/3 of it.  Not so bad.

Every weekend since the beginning of October we've had visitors, too.  This is the first weekend we've had to ourselves in SO LONG.  First Rob's cousin came, then my mom, then Rob's friend from home, then Rob's dad, then Liz, then Rob's uncle, and then my mom came back last weekend.  It's been nuts.  When Liz was here, we hiked Horsetooth rock and dressed up as the three blind mice for halloween.

The hiking here is great, obviously.  Rob and I wanted to climb a 14,000 foot mountain this break, but I'm a little nervous about all the snow and the cold this time of year.  I got a new backpack for my birthday for when we do go on fun expeditions, though.

Update on the cats:

They don't like the vet

and they follow me everywhere.

They love to go outside and are very good about staying away from the road.  They love to climb trees and fences and roll in the dirt as often as possible.  Every night when I go to bed Winky snuggles with me, and every morning when I wake up Dobby is in her spot.  THEY ARE SO ADORABLE.

In other, WAY MORE EXCITING news,  I got a new baby cousin!  First one on my mom's side of the family, and he is almost exactly 24 years younger than me.  His name is Chandler and Rob and I are going to my aunt and uncle's for Thanksgiving.  I'm so excited to meet him!

Rob and I got belay-certified at the rock wall on campus.  I love it and hate it at the same time.  Its so fun but the wall is SOOO tall and I get so scared.  I'm also working on my finger strength so I can hold on for longer.  Its awesome that its free, though.  At Ithaca College it was not free. 

Andddd thats all I got for now.  Maybe more later.  Or at Christmas.  We'll see.  :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Custom Textbooks

This post goes out to all the professors out there who think custom textbooks are cheaper and make students lives easier.

But first, let me explain what a custom textbook is just in case all of your professors are smart enough to not make them and you've never experienced one. Basically, they work with a publisher of a textbook and usually just take out a few chapters that this particular professor isn't going to use, and then sell the book to the bookstore for less money than the full retail price of the book because there is less content they are paying for I guess. Professors get all excited because they get to save students money and they think they're so cool.  But allow me to tell you why they're not cool.

1.  They change the ISBN number.  So, when you look up online what book you need for the class, and then you type the ISBN into Amazon looking for some used deal, nothing comes up.  Because its custom.  For your professor only. So it's like, rare.

2.  This means that the only place to buy the book is at the bookstore, so you can rarely get a used one.  And yes, it is cheaper than the full retail price of the original would be, but it's usually like $100 instead of $175 or something ridiculous like that.   And there's probably $6 used copies of the full edition (WITH ALL THE CHAPTERS) on Amazon but you can't get them because you don't have the ISBN like you do with all your other books.  YEAH THANKS FOR ALL YOUR MONEY SAVING HELP, PROF.

3. You have to by the book INSIDE OF THE BOOKSTORE DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF CLASS.  You have to go all the way there, stand in 10 million lines, and pay 10 billion dollars for this stupid custom edition instead of sitting on your couch paying Amazon and having it delivered to your door.

4.  Then on the first day of class we ALL get to sit and listen to the teacher give their spiel about how excited they are to be helping us out like this.

5.  At the end of the year, you can't sell it back to anywhere (like Amazon) except the bookstore. Because it's a custom edition. And they usually give you like, 1/3 of what you payed for it. (See how I'm still not saving money on this?)

So I had to do all of this, as you may have guessed. Except step 5, of course.  But after I bought the book, I took it home and not only did I find $6 used copies on Amazon after searching by author (because another thing about textbooks is that the edition doesn't matter so if you get the second most recent one you're really not missing anything), but I found a full 600 page PDF of the entire book FOR FREE on the interwebs.  Thanks interwebs.  I downloaded it into my iBooks and now I have it forever.  

So then I got to stand in another line to return the book.  But at least I got my $93 dollars back.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Advanced Human Nutrition

So today was my third day of grad school.  I'm taking 2 undergrad classes and 3 grad classes. I've been to all of them so far except one. Most of them are fine. Today was my second day of Advanced Human Nutrition, which sounds like something exciting but really is like a horrible combination of organic chemistry, biochemistry, and nutrition sort of.  On Monday, I thought the teacher was just trying to scare people who couldn't handle it away by lecturing continuously with hardly a breath, using words casually in a sentence that should never be used casually in any sentence.  Unless its a sentence about what the definition of those words are.

I was wrong.  He did it again today.  I brought my iPad to class and recorded all of his words.  Whenever I got to the point in my notes where I forgot the beginning of his sentence by the time he got to the end, or I didn't understand, or I spaced out for 2.47 seconds and missed way more information than you would think could fit in that time span, I just wrote what minute the recorder said down.   I did this many times.  Then, after class, I went back to that minute, played and paused and rewound and played again and looked up words and rewound and played again until I figured out what he was saying and could right it down in my notes.

And this is the beginning of a two-semester course.  Welcome to grad school.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Greetings from Fort Collins!

Let me start from the beginning.  My dad started in Delta and loaded up the truck and trailer with furniture.  He took that furniture to our new house in Fort Collins where Casey had already been residing for a week or so.  Then, he drove all the way to Ithaca with an empty truck and trailer, and we loaded up basically everything Rob and I owned, including my car, into it.  We got to hang out in Ithaca for about a day and a half, and my dad showed us some cool spots and we took him to Moonies for Jagerbombs.

  Finally, we packed up everything, cleaned our entire apartment, put the cats in the car, and headed to Casey's house, where we had to load her entire bed and a trampoline on our already completely packed load.

And then we drove across the entire country looking like that.  My car got a few scratches, a few things got wet, and we fish-tailed all the way across the country, but all-in-all everything got here safe.

The cats were a little nervous at first, but after several hours we let them out of the cab extender and they pretty much just relaxed with us up front for two days.  They had cute little collars on in case they escaped.

Most of the time they just sad between Rob and my dad and slept.  I think they were happy to be out of the car by the time we arrived though.  Heck, so was I!

We arrived at our new house at about 2 am (with one stop at a hotel), and after a much needed rest, we unpacked everything in the mud.  My dad took off, and we spent the next 3 days moving boxes around and unpacking and cleaning the muddy floors and arranging and re-arranging things until we got them how we liked them.  The kitchen was the worst, and I still haven't figured out where we keep everything.   The house is very cute, and has a nice backyard and a cute little downstairs where Rob and I can do homework.

After living in Ithaca, we've become masters at finding nice things on the side of the road and obtaining them to make them ours.  Well, that's exactly how we obtained our couch!  We're still looking for a slightly bigger one without a broken arm, but this will do for now.

Fort Collins is a major brewery town and we've been doing lots of tastings and samplings of different types of beer (note: I still don't like beer).  

This bar had swings!

One night we were out and we met this guy who not only was determined to both Casey and I a drink, but also invited us to this really cool river jumping spot the following day.  All afternoon we hung out on this rock that is positioned at the bottom of a class 4 rapid, and watched commercial groups go through.  One of the rafters even let me borrow his helmet because I wanted to do a backflip off the rock but I was terrified of cracking my skull.  Don't worry mom, I cleared it by several feet.  Then I did a few more sans helmet. It was awesome.

Rob and I have also been working on our residency status.  We have to have a bunch of stuff done before school starts, because it has to sit for 12 months before we are officially residents and get in state tuition.  This has meant that we've spent many joyous hours at the DMV with many more to come.

I am official a teaching assistant for a 100 level nutrition class.  There are 3 sections of about 200 kids each.  Mostly I will be grading papers and just helping them with their homework, but occasionally I get to stand in front of them and teach their class.  We all know how good Andrea is at public speaking...  Anyways, I will have my own desk and office hours and all sorts of other cool perks.  Being a grad student is cool!

Fort Collins is a major biking town, and I'd planned on getting a new bike when I got here.  My other bike was a little old and kind of uncomfortable for me to ride, so I went to a bike shop and told them what I wanted to do and had them fit my on a bike and now I am the proud owner of THIS beautiful piece of machinery:

I have already taken it on several long rides and the difference is incredible.  And, I'm pleased because I won't have to buy a parking permit since campus is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.  On my second ride, Rob and I were trying to get to Horsetooth Reservoir, and we couldn't find the road that cut up.  Google insisted upon taking us on this little dirt trail, and even though I got off, in fear of flat tires, I had two by the time I got home. Darn thorns. I now have goo-lined tires and can hopefully avoid doing that in the future.

Rob and I finally set up our trampoline the other day, and it makes me SO HAPPY.  I forgot how much sheer joy a trampoline can bring.  Backflip after backflip after backflip.  I spend at least 30 minutes a day on that thing, and let me tell ya, it's not as easy as it used to be.  But I'm really glad we have a backyard for it.

I'm working on kitty-proofing the backyard.  There is still one open spot that I'm trying to convince the landlord to put up a temporary fence.  Other than that, I've been blocking off any big holes with stick and branches to make it less-penetrable.  I'm full aware that if the cats wanted to get out they could just climb, but I'm hoping to deter them enough that they won't feel the need.  Once we get a barrier up on the side closest to the street, I think I will try to let them out.  In Ithaca, they LOVED going outside and they had no fence, and they always stayed away from the street and always came home.  But, I just want to be extra sure here because the road is extra busy and a smooshed kitty would make me SO SAD.

Erik (friend from high school) came for a visit last week. He's been living in Longmont with some family for the summer.  We went to Rocky Mountain National Park and did this really pretty hike.  We also ate lots of Mexican food and went to a movie and drank tequila.  Erik actually enjoys beer so we took him to a beer tasting place.  I got cider.

We had lots of fun and it was the first time any of my high school friends got to meet any of my college friends.

This weekend, all 4 of us will be going on Westwater together (unbeknownst to us) and I'm SO EXCITED because ever since Casey and I have been friends we've been talking about going on a river trip in Utah together.  In 3 days it will all come to pass.  I'm excited to be closer to home where I can do these trips more often YAY!

And anyway, that's pretty much what I've been up to.  School starts in less than two weeks, and I have a lot to do before then!  I'm actually getting excited to do homework again.  Weird.

Friday, June 6, 2014

But I am le tired

I just wanted to tell you all about my workout today because I felt like superwoman!  And I don't use the word "felt" lightly--right now I'm so tired that I can't decide if eating or sleeping is more important. But in the moment I felt pretty cool

1 mile run

Lower body:
4x10 leg press
3x20 hamstring curl
4x12 leg extension
3x12 seated calf raise
2x12 each leg weighted rear lunge
3x8 thigh abductor
3x10 thigh adductor

Upper body:
3x12 dumbbell bench press
2x10 butterfly machine
3x8 tricep pushdown
4x10 shoulder press with dumbbells
18 chin ups with assistance (by the way I can officially do a pull-up by myself these days because I've been practicing! Yay!)

3x10 low back machine
110 situps
45 crunches
45 leg lifts
2x36 second planks

And all of that was at a heavy weight. If you don't know what any of it means....I lifted weights for 1 1/2 hours.

THEN, I got in the pool:

200 swim
150 kick
100 pull
50 swim
100 kick
150 pull
200 swim

kick set, w/ fins:

25 easy
25 hard, 25 easy
50 hard, 25 easy
75 hard, 25 easy
50 hard, 25 easy
75 hard, 25 easy
50 hard, 25 easy
25 hard, 25 easy

10x150 with a sprint 50 embedded at different times during each 150

4x200 individual medley (all the strokes)
700 hundred yards of random kicking and cooling down to get me all the way to:

2 1/2 miles.  or 4500 yards.

That took me another 2 hours, almost.

And then I taught swimming lessons for 2.5 hours.

And now I'm pooped.  But sometimes, ya just gotta work out for 4 hours.  Tomorrow is a rest day.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

First outdoor swim of the year

After 6 months of snow at least 3 times a week, Ithaca finally gave in and warmed up.  On my day off, Casey came over and we went and spent some time at the creek that runs near our house.  It was still a little cold, and the current was a little swift, but to get to the island in the middle that we wanted to sunbathe on, we had to cross somehow.  This is me and Rob trying to safely get our stuff across.

Yeah those towels got wet.


I decided awhile back that I wanted a filing cabinet to put all of my school work and important documents.  I went to Walmart, and a small, 2 drawer cabinet was $50.  NO THANK YOU WALMART.

I settled on an ugly plastic box with a rail inside to hold hanging folders. It was only $10.

BUT THEN, I was doing my laundry and while I was driving up and down the hill to the laundromat, I saw some old stuff on the side of the road that someone was getting rid of.  I slowed down, and saw that a small, 2 drawer filing cabinet was amongst them.   It was old and rusty, but I put it in my car and took it home to see what I could do.

[This is where, if I was a professional DIY-er, I would insert a "before" picture. But for some reason I always forget that step.  I think I never think it will turn out as good as it does, so I don't bother.  And then it turns out really good and I wish I had a before picture to put on Pinterest or something. Oh well. Imagine a gray, rusty filing cabinet.]

I cleaned it out, and purchased a roll of contact paper for about $5.   I covered the entire thing, including taking the fixtures off the front and then re-attaching them.  A bit of blue tape and some frames for the inside to hold the file folders up, and my total bill ran me about $20.


So I returned the ugly box to Walmart and saved myself $10.