Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mostly non-school blog about my life.

I'd like to take a moment to assess my personal satisfaction with my life... And I feel pretty good :)

My sons' basketball season wrapped up yesterday and throughout the day my husband and I kept talking about how much we really like the *Orange County rec department. In a month they will start soccer season, which will run to the summer basketball season. Basketball was fun, but I grew up playing soccer so it is the sport I feel more comfortable training them in.

Speaking of sport-ish things... I've been squeezing in gym time. I spent 2009-2010 losing 60ish pounds, most of which I regained in 2011. I do miss my gym in my old town and the friend I used to workout with, but I am lucky that my apartment has a decent facility. I bought a pedometer/sleep track/gadget thingy that tracks what I do during the day and it has been interesting to see graphed out (like that sedentary time spent in class/studying). Also, I do occasionally sleep walk/talk/text, and it is neat to see that documented (so I can wonder what was I doing for that 8 minutes I was "awake" at 4 am this morning?).

And, we're half way through the spring loan disbursement and I'm sticking quite well to my budget. Hooray for me! Going from having a regular paycheck every two weeks to having to make a finite amount of money last for four months was hard. Especially since my husband was traditionally the one to write the checks and pay the bills. The fall disbursement seemed to disappear quickly but the expense of relocating was a big part of that. So, yes, you can live off the student loan allotment--even if you're me and have an enormous apartment (half of my classmates have roommates or significant others that they share expenses with, one rents an apartment that is part of a private home and the other two have one bedroom apartments.).

Living with my dad is fine. He is easy to get along with and the kids love having him here. He takes them to the playground and reads while they play or he sits outside on our patio and they ride bikes around our building.  He's lost a lot of weight since he moved in with us (I cook foods that work for his diet) and seems to be in better health than since before he retired; although, he has taken up cigar smoking. He sits on the patio in the sun while the kids are at school and smokes stinky cigars while reading. On the upside it provides an object lesson for the kids -- smoking smells really bad and everyone in our family will corner you at family events and lecture you about it of you do it.

Socially, I'm good. My husband is coming up on non-test weekends which means that we actually get to go out together, unlike what we did in the fall where he came and watched the kids and I locked myself in my study room. My classmates continue to be awesome and I can't imagine being in this program with any other group of people. I still miss my dog but he is coming up to visit me for spring break! I wanted to get a cat but my husband vetoed it even after I cited the research that they increased oxytocin levels and suppressed cortisol release. His rationale being that my dog at 120lbs was already the equivalent to having two normal sized dogs and several cats (and that I and our oldest child are allergic to them).

I'm so glad that I got into Duke, and I am insanely curious about the folks being interviewed for next year's class (I've seen a couple of them in random places during their interview days)! There was a 25% increase in the number of applicants this year, so it was a competitive year even to get to the interview stage. I am glad that some of them have read my blog--not just because I love getting blog traffic but more because it means that they've put enough effort into learning about the program to be able to ask more targeted questions when they're interviewed, at least about the didactic year. Hopefully that means the program is a good fit for the ones who get in and they will be happy here. Of course there are a lot of questions that they might not get answers to, since this year is a transitional one when it comes to class format and we have really just started this unit. The administration seems to be listening very keenly to the students, so all that can be said for sure if that next year will be different (and better, as long as this years class continues to give useful feedback).

*I was worried about living outside of Durham when I was apartment hunting but it has worked out really well. The commute to the parking garage is less than 15 minutes, the drive to classmates' apartments, movies and malls is 20 minutes or less, and I have been really pleased with the schools, parks, and everything else I have seen in my little town. 

PS: Sorry if you find this entry boring but I have family on three continents, friends on four continents, and I am horrible about returning emails/phone calls. This way everyone stays updated. :)

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