Yarny Photo Challenge – I’m lazy!


It turns out I don’t have the discipline to stick with a photo challenge just now. It’s not a big deal and it has at least made me realise I’d like to keep my blog going and share some bits and pieces of craft as I make them.

I have been crafting very simply recently – crochet squares and hopefully working towards a blanket I can donate to KOGO (knit one give one). I also have study to catch up on (a creative art subject) and plenty to keep me occupied at work. So the photo challenge? Not my priority and not worth feeling too guilty about.

I  trying to get myself back into some good habits and it will take some setbacks before I get there. I’m attempting to use a pen and paper ‘bullet journal’ to help me. Let’s see how that goes!


Online Learning


I am enrolled in the first two subjects of a Bachelor of Information Technology.  It is with RMIT University, but via Open Universities, which means that I will receive all the content and do all my tutorials and learning online.  This isn’t my first time learning in this way, and I really like it.

This is the moment where I share a weakness (yes, another one) … that is, I am not the world’s best listener.  Okay, I can do better than that.  Deep breath, calmly say it.  I am a poor listener.

Not every day, and not in every situation, but I do have a preference for talking and telling my own stories, let’s be honest.  I also have a preference for learning by doing, and when I was almost 18 years old and first found myself in a University environment where I was expected to sit and listen in lectures for two hour stretches, it didn’t go so well.  I could have applied myself better, and knuckled down, but that was nearly 20 years ago and there is no point being disappointed that I was immature in my youth – duh.

As an adult learner, I have also sat in many classrooms over the last few years where the teachers hand over the material and then spend their time reading it to you.  Death by Powerpoint.

So I find the format of Open Universities really suits me.  I did some Psychology subjects a few years ago and really enjoyed those – the reading could be a little dry sometimes, but then there were online tutorial chat rooms with text-based chatter and questions and discussion.  I am a very fast reader and typist, and I found many “voices” typing away in the chat room to be the perfect format for me.  In a 3 dimensional classroom with lots of students all talking and personalities colliding, I would have found this frustrating.

I’m looking forward to these subjects.  I expect “Introduction to Information Technology” will feel a little silly, as I have been working in technology for quite a while.  But “Introduction to Programming” is going to feel completely new, and I expect will give me the opportunity to learn by doing.  The “semester” doesn’t officially start until August 29th, but I have been online today and found e-versions of my text books (Hooray!  No trees died to bring me my lessons!).

Over the years I have started no less than four degrees, and perhaps one of these days I will finish one.  In the meanwhile I am going to enjoy my online lessons and see where this one takes me.


Maybe I’m not cut out for study at the moment


Sorry I haven’t posted for a little while.  I’m sticking to my “no Facebook” challenge for July, and have missed it at particular times.  But mostly I’ve realised it is an enjoyable habit rather than a necessity.  It will be interesting to see whether I change my Facebook habits once I log back in after the four weeks are up.

What I came here to chatter about are the following list items:

  • 009 – Enrol in and complete a free online course to learn something that would never have occurred to me
  • 068 – Enrol in and complete a free online course to increase my personal wellbeing
  • 093 – Enrol in and complete a free online course that will help me with a career goal

I have been browsing ever since I made these goals for myself, and even half-heartedly started a couple of things.  But nothing is sticking.  This week a free online course started called Creativity, Innovation and Change.  Through Coursera and through The Pennsylvania State University, it was actually recommended to me by someone at work.  I thought “okay, cool, this one could knock off the career goal thing if this guy says it has increased his creative thinking, why not?”

I enrolled and I started reading through the week 1 materials.  Then I came across a guy talking about this great ‘acronym’ that helps him teach students about being successful.  This is his acronym:


Then he explained what it stands for.  Character, Entrepreneurship, owNership, Tenacity, Excellence, and Relationship.  Um, N is for owNership?  Does this guy understand acronyms at all?  IS THIS WHAT PEOPLE SPEND MONEY ON EDUCATION TO LEARN?

Ahem.  It’s a free course, I need to get over myself.  But I don’t think I’m cut out for study at the moment, and I have no passion for reading any further.  I am clearly not in the right mindset to be open minded and learn from others.



Sunday and Changes


Sunday so far is about tidying a little, washing a little (dishes and clothes) and lazing a little.  My week started with very careful eating and exercise, but after our Thursday night dinner party and all the leftover cheesecake, things relaxed a little!  Last night we visited Dave’s brother’s new flat and went out with the boys and ate what felt like a million dumplings – so delicious!  All this means that my weigh in this morning was good, but could have been better.  I am happy and content, as my weight has been creeping up in the last few weeks and to be taking some back off this week was a victory.  Isn’t the terminology “losing weight” silly, I didn’t lose that weight, I deliberately told it to go away!  I am no longer on a journey of weight loss, it is time to be on a journey of weight abolishment!

I enrolled in and started my next subject for my study, Introduction to Sociology, and nothing about it has caught my imagination or my interest.  I have been thinking about all the reasons I decided to start studying psychology, and have realised I am in a different head-space now.  I still get frustrated at work, but my career has moved forward and I look around and realise that I now feel that my career has potential to keep moving.  I don’t feel stuck and frustrated as I did when I took up my studies.  All this is positive, but leaves me unmotivated to continue with this particular degree right now.  I feel like I want to spend some time learning something more relevant to my current role – even if that is as simple as being better at using programs like MS Excel and MS Project.

Where does this leave me?  I was studying this degree for purely personal interest (ie, nothing to do with my current career) and funding each subject myself, and it will take me years to even complete the undergraduate part of it.  I can think of so many other things I could do with my money and my time, and so I am sitting this aside.  I am going to call on Monday and withdraw from the subject and leave it there – I guess I’m dropping out.  The results I achieved will sit on my record with Open Universities and if I change my mind later I can still use those, and that’s okay.

I guess that although my quest for Self-Improvement is ongoing this is a fair indication that what I am determined to focus on will change regularly.  I think that is who I am, and it is part of the culture I live in.  I am so lucky that I get to pick and choose my activities, all the while earning enough money to pay my bills and enjoy my leisure time.  But I will keep trying to be a better person and put my time and resources to good use, and it is interesting to review my own blog and see where I’m succeeding and where I am not.  I have never been a perfectionist, and that’s perfect.


Small Changes are Helping


This is my food diary from yesterday:

What Did I Eat?

Calories (approx)

Bircher Muesli


Cup of Tea, Skim Milk


Beef & Vegetable Soup


Small Bread Roll


Hand full of Cheezels


Jarrah Vienna Velvet Coffee, Skim Milk


2 slices Grainy Toast with Devondale Light Butter


Beef Vegetable Casserole


Sugar-Free Lemon Drink


Nestle Maxibon Ice Cream




Conversations with some friends recently have helped me to get some personal insight.  Not because they’re offering unsolicited advice, or even any advice at all, it just helps me to talk through my behaviour and come up with ideas myself!

Something I have been worrying over is that I decided to drop some of my other self-improvement projects with the aim of getting some focus for my energy.  It had been cleverly suggested that I might have too much on my plate, and that was why I was letting my health goals slide.  So, I deferred some study plans, and said “I will focus on one or two things only”.  The expected result was that I would focus on exercise, and eating well, without those other distractions.

This is not what happened.  I relaxed some goals and the others all followed!  I did not focus on improvement at all, in fact I got lazier, ate more sugar and fatty foods, and became apathetic even about this blog.  My conclusion?  My natural propensity for laziness takes over when I am not applying pressure.  So where the advice was good, I think it was not the right path for me.  By juggling too many balls in the air, and dropping some, I was still achieving and learning.  Once I sat some balls down, I lost interest and relaxed and stopped juggling anything at all.

I hope my analogy makes sense, haha!

Small changes are helping me this week, and I will admit that I have enrolled to start my next subject for my Uni study.  I also would like to get back into the Celebrancy Course and keep that ticking along in the background.  I am happy with what I have eaten the last two days and can confirm that keeping the food diary is keeping me in check.  Yesterday I got home and Dave had a friend over gaming – they had a packet of Cheezels opened.  I ate a hand full and then stopped, knowing that I would have to add this to my food diary.  Last week I would have kept eating until they were all gone and then potentially moved onto something else!

Conversations with friends have also meant that I confessed to some that I have been driving to work every day – paying for petrol and city parking, even though I live so close to the train station.  So a mental slap upside my head and some better weather meant that I walked and caught public transport this morning.  Better for the environment, better for my budget, and better for me.  I knitted on the train, too, and will also be able to study on the train, and read on the train, and I am weighing up the pros on purpose, ignoring any cons.

Getting back on track this week, and feeling good.


One Year of Blogging


7 August 2011 is the day I set up this Blog, and so today is day 365.  My father had just passed away after a very long illness, and I was feeling sad about that, but calm because the illness was over.  I don’t associate the start of this Blog with any kind of “I’m fat!  I’m dumb!  I’m useless!” tantrum or epiphany, but I guess I must have been motivated a little by wanting to feel that I was someone my Dad would be proud of.  He was proud of me, of course, but he was also someone who believed strongly in health and fitness, and keeping your brain ticking over with activities (his hobbies included his guitar, and his gardening).  I hadn’t been able to have a conversation with him since 2005, his illness had injured his brain terribly, and I guess missing him was definitely the catalyst.

Therefore I decided that I would think about little Self Improvement activities, including trying to move away from morbid obesity.  I wasn’t enjoying my job, and I was thinking about studying and perhaps an entire change of career at some point in the distant future, and how I could keep myself motivated.  This has been about constant little steps of improvement, there is no end point.  That said, I could have worked a little more on the weight loss, and I think it’s something I need to take more seriously over the next twelve months.  Here is a wee list of some achievements:

  • On Sunday morning, I was 17.7 kg (39 pounds) lighter than this time last year
  • I can now jog for three minutes without stopping, when before I struggled to make 30 seconds
  • I completed four university subjects and got good marks, and enrolled in a certificate of celebrancy
  • My career has changed a little, I achieved a promotion in that time where I moved into a new role, new team, new everything, huge learning curve
  • Our finances are under control and we have started saving for a big overseas holiday next year
  • We are about to take some letters to the bank and officially apply for the mortgage to buy Mum out of her two-third share of our house, making it all ours

There might be more, I know that I’ve continued to enjoy my hobbies – I learnt how to play Warmachine (but still ask lots of dumb questions) and took part in my first ever gaming tournament – Blood Bowl.  I have continued to knit, and although I am still a fantastic starter of projects but terrible finisher, I have not stressed about it – I think this one could be a genuine personality flaw, haha!  My house and health and brain are still a bit messy, but I can honestly say that by Blogging about a whole year of my life, I can look at it as evidence that I am happy.  Or, that in the moments when I am unhappy, I am continuing to try to find ways out of that, which is great.  I have much to improve, but this doesn’t make me sad, it makes me content.  This is what it is supposed to be about, I think.

Thank you for reading.


Today I Eat Right


Chocolate every day.  Pizza, fish and chips, other junk food meals.  Daily.  This needs to stop.

This morning I have cooked myself porridge with fruit and yogurt for breakfast.  I am going to log everything I eat into My Fitness Pal.  I am going to pay attention to the FitBit and try to be more active throughout the day, and although I’m to go straight from work to Good Games to roll dice with the boys, I am going to go for a quick walk in between around some city blocks.  Weather permitting.  I know, it sounds a cop out, but although it will be cold and windy today there is apparently little chance for rain, so I should be good to go.

My knitting projects are all growing.  I am going to finish a project this weekend that had been troubling me – I think I mentioned it in a previous blog entry.  I finished all the knitting then couldn’t work out how to put it together properly so I sat it aside and waited for help.  Mum was here Tuesday night and pinned some pieces together and showed me.  So very soon I will be able to post away this gift, and then not long after that, put a picture up on the blog for proof that I can finish things!  If finishing my hobby projects is the only self-improvement I can show you this winter, that is something at least.

I have started the Certificate iv in Celebrancy, and now that work has calmed down I am going to get stuck into the study for that.  Yes, this means that in six months or so I could be applying to be a qualified celebrant!  I could potentially marry people, plus preside over other ceremonies such as baby naming, funerals, etc.  Some friends that I have told this to think funerals would be the most difficult, but part of me thinks that might be where my strengths could be.  I’m not sure yet – study first!  It’s fairly relaxed study compared to the university stuff I was doing, no word limits on projects, just write how much you think you want to, and they mark you ‘competent’ or ask you to add a little more.

Oh!  My last subject that I did, PSS120 Introduction to Psychology 2, I got my result back, and it’s 71%, a Credit!  I’m so happy and relieved – I knew I wasn’t going to get as good a mark for that one because I wasn’t really putting the effort in, so I am really pleased with the result.  That means I have four subjects behind me now and can apply to enter the Bachelor of Behaviour (psychology) degree.  So in the next semester or so I’m going to get stuck back into that, depending how this celebrancy thing is going.  I think I will be able to do them in parallel though, depending on how work is going.