Belated post: With Gratitude

I spent Thanksgiving weekend 2010 (nearly two years ago) feeling very thankful. During that time, I started writing the post below, but I didn’t finish. I now present to you my completed (and after) thoughts

On Thanksgiving in 2009 I spent the day with my in-laws. We were at Grandma’s house,  with Hubby’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, Aunt and Uncle, cousins, and (of course) Grandma. We celebrated Thanksgiving in their traditional way; Oyster stuffing (made specifically because Grandma thinks Hubby likes it), Poopernickel Bread (there’s an inside joke here), green bean casserole, turkey, and wine.

That Thanksgiving I had a migraine. While the rest of the family visited and played games, I took my netbook and hid in a dark, quiet room, and started writing (I was hiding because of the migraine, I’m not really that antisocial). I joined WordPress, created this blog, and wrote my first two mediocre posts; one as a brief introduction, the other as a letter of thanks to my friends and family.

Thanksgiving 2010 was spent with my family (4 siblings, 2 nieces, 5 cousins, Mom, Aunt and Uncle, Grandparents, and various boyfriends and girlfriends of cousins and siblings. It was the first time in several years that myself, my 4 siblings, and the 5 cousins had been all together in many years, and it was very nice. [I originally had something witty that I was going to say about my family’s Thanksgiving traditions, but have since forgotten.]

To all of my family and friends, who supported me while I was in school. To Lisa, Michelle, and Keri for being the best team that I could ever hope for in our business simulation project. To my nieces for being my constant source of inspiration to finish school. To Kreg, for always prodding me in the right way to keep me motivated to work toward my dream. To my D&D group, for working around my schedule so that I can be part of the once-per-month drinking and dragons session. To each of you – I am eternally grateful.

The main focus in my life in the fall of 2010 was finishing my bachelor’s degree. To me it was an important step to move my career forward as well as a very important personal goal. While I was mostly doing it for me, I also knew that it was important to my family.

I had no idea how important until my surprise graduation party and later reading something my brother wrote in his blog. I still tear up when thinking about both the party, my brother’s kind words, and how much the support of my friends meant during that time.

Resolutions for Twenty Eleven

Oh yes, it is that time of year again. I might have forgotten if it had not been for Stargrace sharing some of her resolutions.

Last year I made three resolutions: To take care of myself, complete my bachelor’s degree, and work on my blog every day. I did complete my degree, but I am disappointed in how I did with the others. There were weeks when I didn’t even log in to WordPress, and months where I didn’t post anything. I may have been a little better at making “me” time while I was in school, but I was also worse at taking care of my health. I gained about twenty pounds.

I do expect and hope that it will be easier this year, since being done with school gives me so much more free time. This year I’m going to focus on the things I missed and neglected while in school.

In 2011 I plan to:

  1. Spend more time with Hubby
  2. Spend more time with family and friends
  3. Give myself more “me time” – Painting, Reading, Walking, or whatever else I want to do
  4. Study for PMP certification, but at my own pace.
  5. Take better care of myself and Hubby.
  6. Participate in the Post a Week challenge

Perhaps when I’m lacking inspiration for my at-least-weekly posts, I’ll share my progress.


I am done with school. For now anyway. I’ve completed my bachelor’s degree and my diploma will arrive sometime next month.

I finished school on the Friday before Christmas. The next week I was busy with Christmas shopping (I’d hardly started while in school). Hubby and I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at his parents’ house. He spent most of the time curled up on the couch with a nasty cold, while I visited the family and helped his mom make Beef Wellington (yum!).

On Sunday, Hubby was too sick to join me for my Dad’s Christmas party. He really wanted to go, but I made him stay home and rest. I had a great day helping prepare dinner, putting together puzzles with one of my nieces and one of my brothers, decorating the tree, and opening gifts.

After dinner Dad invited me up to his in-laws’ place; he needed to pick up a couple of things and thought I’d enjoy meeting them. We visited for about half an hour and just when I was starting to think that I should really head home soon, Dad received a text. It was his wife wondering why we’d been gone so long. (To make sure I’m not giving the wrong impression: I really like Dad’s wife, but she’s not my step-mom. She is more like Dad’s life partner that is also becoming my friend. Since I don’t use names, I’ll just call her Dad’s Wife.)

When we got back to Dad’s place, the house was dark and the door was locked. Both of which are unusual. Someone unlocked the door from inside, and I stepped in as the lights came on and everyone shouted “Surprise!” and started blowing on noise makers.

The room was decorated in my school’s colors (red and gold/black) with streamers and balloons that said Congratulations, Amanda, and 2010. My younger niece came over and covered my eyes. My sister slid something over my arms while Dad’s Wife messed with my hair. When my niece uncovered my eyes, I saw a black tassel hanging to one side off of what I was sure was a graduation cap (even though I couldn’t see myself) and looked down to find myself wearing a bright red gown.

I looked around the room and saw that all of my immediate family was there; my Dad, my sister and nieces, all of my brothers, even Mom.

I was shocked. I’d been under the impression for a long time that Dad didn’t really care that I was in school and maybe even disapproved. On top of that, Mom and Dad have an extreme dislike for each other. The last time I recall seeing them in the same room was at my wedding reception eight years ago.

I had no idea what to say or do. I am not used to being the center of attention. When I’d had a moment to take it all in, my sister disappeared for a moment and some music started (Pomp and Circumstance, the traditional music that is played at graduation ceremonies).

Dad took my arm and walked with me into the living room, and then someone told me to turn my tassel to the other side. One of my brothers or nieces asked me for a speech.  I had no idea what to say, and was already on the verge of tears.

I said something like “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was born” (a joke for my brothers). I went on to say “and my mommy and daddy raised me right. And I went off to school, but had no idea what I wanted to be so I dropped out. Then I found what I wanted to be and so I went back, and I worked hard, and I finished. And thank you all for being so patient with me.”

I’m pretty sure I really did sound that dumb.

The party was great. Mom made an amazing cake and gave me a beautiful frame to put my diploma in. Dad gave me a beautiful pearl bracelet and necklace. (I was in shock again. My dad doesn’t do big gifts like that.)

Everyone visited and had a great time. Mom and Dad even had some polite and very comfortable conversation.

I regret not having the presence of mind, while I had my whole family in one place, to ask for a family picture. Perhaps in the spring when my niece graduates from high school I’ll get another opportunity.

The reality of being done is just starting to hit me.

Even at the party, it seemed unreal. Then this past week I received an invitation from Capella to attend commencement, and the reality of being done and not being able to actually attend commencement sunk in.

I am grateful to my family in so many ways for the party that they threw me and their support over the past five years. I don’t know how I can ever express it, but I’ll definitely try.

Now to enjoy some of my new found free time.


I’m taking a break from trying to post regularly while I finish school. I may still post periodically, but check back in late December for fresh posts semi-regularly. Have a great fall!

~ Amanda

Monday update; and maybe the last for a while

This last weekend was busy. Saturday afternoon and evening when Hubby and I visited some friends and had a nice relaxing time playing games (the D&D Castle Ravenloft board game and pinochle).

The rest of the weekend was pretty much all school work. This quarter is going to be intense, there is no doubt about it. I spent most of the weekend trying to get comfortable with the simulation software that we’re using and how all the different options in each screen impact all of the others. My brain hurts. It will be a fun project, but it will take a ton of work.

Realistically, I don’t think I’m going to get to do much more than the random lunch-time post for the next couple months. I know I’m sporadic about posting normally, and not having new stuff here never really comes as a surprise, but I thought I’d give some warning.

I hate knowing that the five posts in progress that are just going to sit untouched in my drafts, but school comes first.

My last class! Is it over yet?

It is almost time. I started working on my bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2005. Actually, let me rephrase that. I returned to school in the spring of 2005. I had about one year worth of general credits that transferred from my time at WWU when I started at Capella.

Now, I’m starting my last class. My dreaded last class. I’ve heard rumors about this class over the past year, and it seems the rumors are true.

Holy crap ton of work! I’m not kidding. My textbook alone weighs at least ten pounds.

The course is called “Business Capstone Project”. It should be called “Business Capstone Projects”. Plural.  There are three main components to the class: Discussions (40% of my grade), an individual course project (40% of my grade), and a group project (20% of my grade). Both projects have a strategic focus.

It looks like the group project alone will be as much work as any other class I’ve taken since I returned to school. It looks like it will be fun though. Well, as long as I’m not stuck with a group like my last group project; I did most of the work on the group presentation, we had to give a presentation via a conference call, I had bronchitis, and no one else got the material well enough to present.

My group looks like they will be good though, and the project will be interesting. It is a business simulation that takes place over 8 years, with each week of the course being a new year. This week doesn’t count because it is a practice week.  The entire simulation is strategic business decisions, but it will play out like a game with each team’s strategy impacting the other teams. No cute little avatars dancing across the screen though, that part is a little disappointing.

The discussions are the typical discussions that my classes have had. Read the text, read an article or a case study, analyze them, then discuss with the other students.

I’m a bit apprehensive about the solo-project. It is a critical analysis of the strategy presented by a case study. It is supposed to be no more than 6 pages (including references) and it counts for 40% of my grade. I am not good at being concise, so I expect it to be a major challenge.

Well, this really isn’t what I had in mind when I started writing. Apparently I needed to vent a bit.

Bed time! I’m going to try to get up early enough tomorrow morning to meet up with my east coast team mates for a team meeting before I have a bit of social time tomorrow afternoon.

I’m Back!

I intended to start posting about my experiences at PAX the day I arrived home. That didn’t happen… So what’s been going on?

First of all, I was exhausted from all the fun and craziness that is PAX. That coupled with that I’m not the most eager writer ever might have been enough to get me to postpone writing about PAX.

And then there was the suitcase ordeal. That is a story for another post. It was Tuesday afternoon when the suitcase issue was resolved and then the reality that part of my little vacation was set aside for studying sunk in, and I had to move on to school work.

My final for last quarter’s class (Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting) was due two Fridays after PAX. (more…)


I had big plans yesterday. I got up bright and early, went out for coffee and to drop my brother off at work, did a little shopping, and came home and paid bills. I planned on doing a mission in STO, reading some more from my textbook, and then going to get my hair done.


Sometimes I wonder…

Is my goal too focused?
Should I try for it now?
Should I wait until I graduate?
Is it really realistic and attainable?
How do I get in?
How do I prepare?
What if it doesn’t happen?
Why do I doubt myself?
What if there is a different excellent opportunity?
Do I try for it?
Do I take it?
What am I willing to do?
What sacrifice is worth while?
How far would I go?
How far would he be willing to go?
Is the dream impacting my work performance?
In a bad way?
Is the impact to my school work worth while?
Am I overly ambitious?
Can I afford to dream?
Can I afford not to?

Pardon my mess…

I’m in the middle of switching layouts here, and so my colors and heading are a bit screwy. I’d like to finish it up tonight, but I must switch back to my studies.

By the way, thank you WordPress people for Enterprise.

EDITED 16 May 2010: Click here to see my thoughts about Enterprise.