Rant: 4 am

It’s funny when I first started Facebook my feed had the following photos and statuses:

  • Things people did over the weekend (usually it was dorm or house parties and clubbing
  • People hanging out in the room playing video games, studying, or smoking
  • Complaining school is hard

Now my feed has photos and statuses of:

  • engagement rings
  • weddings
  • giving birth
  • ultrasounds
  • talking/preaching about motherhood

Today, on my feed I had this status:

“It is so amazing how much you can get done when your up at 4 am with a baby laundry is done and folded dishes are done and put away _____s lunch is made coffee made just waiting for ____ to get up so i can put the laundry away lets hope today continues to be this productive”

First of all, why are there no punctuation marks? There wasn’t even a period at the end of this status.

I know I’m not the best writer but this is just awful. Maybe an accomplishment can be proof-reading your status? You did wake up at 4 am — maybe take a minute to proofread before you post your status. It’s unbearable.

Probably what made me sick was the part “It is so amazing how much you can get done when your up at 4 am with a baby”. It’s like nobody EVER wakes up at 4 am unless you have a baby. Plenty of people without babies wake up at 4 am for the following reasons:

  • Work
  • Work, because you got a long commute
  • Work, because you got a report due that day (Been having plenty of those)
  • School, because you got an exam or a report due in a few hours (Had plenty of those too)
  • You have to pee really bad and you can’t go back to sleep
  • You can’t sleep because you woke up from a nightmare
  • Something loud like sirens
  • Natural disasters like earthquake or maybe just rain :-P
  • One night stand and you got to leave before s/he wakes up
  • Getting ready to go to the gym before work

See what I mean… Plenty of people all over the world wake up at 4 am. A lot people, including myself, sees sleeping in as a luxury. I would feel terrible if I sleep in whenever I wanted everyday.

Public speaking

As of Friday, I signed up for a Public Speaking Course through the University of Washington on Coursera. The course started last Monday and today is Sunday 10:11 PM and I finished the first week of the course. I need to finish my assignment which is due Tuesday.

I am taking a public speaking course to practice my public speaking. I have learned that writing is not the same as speaking. The job I am currently at — 7 months later, I learned I needed to work on my public speaking skills. I am speaking to more people nowadays — I would think it’s something I would pick up naturally, when really I need some extra practice. When I say “public speaking”, it does not necessarily mean speaking to 100 people. When I say “public speaking” — I mean the ability to get my point across at meeting (usually consists of 10 people at most). I guess there has been some situations when my mind has been so scattered and distracted that day and it shows during the meeting.

My boss told me the other day I was dragging during the meeting — which I tend to do. He knew I was nervous, which I was. I guess I was worried when I was leading the meeting it was very shorter than the previous meetings I’ve lead. I told him that after the meeting, I realized I shouldn’t have mentioned (fill in the blank) to (fill in the blank). (Fill in the blank) is so minor and didn’t affect the project — it’s useless to mention it. Every week, I’ve encountered major issues to report — I was uncomfortable that there were no issues to report this week.

He told me that knowing when and what to hold back takes practice too. In the past, I just haven’t had a lot of opportunities to do pubic speaking. I have a lot of catching up to do.

My grass does have flowers but I sewed them myself!

Generally I’m pretty comfortable with whatever I got in life. I asked Mr. Fish if he was happy with his life when he read this article with me. He said “yes I am because at least my expectations are realistic.”

In general I thought the article was pretty funny yet true. My favorite part was when they featured the unicorn barfing rainbows.

Anyways, just because I’m happy about my life overall, does not mean I don’t have expectations and it does not mean I don’t dream. The way I see things is that I work hard for what I want. I always tell people “you get what you give to the world.” If I performed really poorly, do I still deserve kudos? If I clearly know I did a bad job but I still had to turn it in, I already know what to expect (back to the drawing board). And if I get a bad evaluation and they didn’t like it then I’m most likely not upset because I already had it coming. I tell myself I’ll do better next time.

Example would be at work, I had to draft one proposal for a project and now I had to draft proposals for two more projects. The thing is, I never written a project proposal before so I tried my best to write my best first proposal. I look through past projects on how they wrote their proposals, looked online for ideas, and researched more about these upcoming projects. I drafted and my project manager took a look and sent me back with revisions and comments. I corrected my revisions and I replied to my project manager regarding the comments why I wanted these key questions there. But overall, I didn’t think it was too bad. Like I said I did my best.

What I don’t understand is that there are people who do a half-assed task and knew they did a half-assed job but then when they’re told they did a bad job, why do they go on some rant/rampage on twitter/facebook/instagram on how the person who told them so was a jerk and they really did work hard on their half-assed task in the first place?

“Are you on a diet?”

There has been multiple times when I found myself in this situation where people assume I’m on a diet. Maybe I’m on a budget and instead of buying more food from the grocery store, I am making recipes with spinach before the spinach spoils.

Another situation that happened multiple times was how my former cubicle mate would always give me her snacks and I use to take her snacks but then I would get sick afterwards so I decided to no longer share her snacks. She assumed I was on a diet or that I needed to eat more. I told her “I already ate.”

But she still would try to give me her snacks. I’ve said quite a few things to turn her down like “I don’t eat anything with trans fats” or “high fructose corn syrup” or “aspartame”. It did annoy her and she kept asking me “if I was on a diet” and I said “no, I’ve avoided all those things since I was in high school.”

But then in the end she decided to avoid trans fats, HFSC, and aspartame all-together. In fact, she became very preachy and I did find it annoying like “ooh this yogurt is good (looks at the ingredients in the back)…eww! yuck there’s aspartame! bleh, I’m gonna throw up! (No you’re not…)” If you were a real health-freak, you should have looked at the ingredients first before you buy it because I’m not buying your whole “I’m a health goddess” act. As aggravating as she came out, I didn’t ask her “why are you avoiding aspartame?” I just kept all comments to myself.

I love reading posts and articles about people’s bad fallout from dieting and weight loss because it makes me realize that I’m not alone. You’d think people would be more supportive of reaching their goals. I wouldn’t think that people would try to  sabotage people’s weight loss/healthy eating effort. 

Why am I writing about weight loss and dieting? Well it’s been 6 months since I left San Diego to Los Angeles and I have noticed a weight loss except the thing is I haven’t done anything crazy. My lifestyle is about the same:

  • I drink a protein shake when I wake up in the morning to cut my breakfast preparation. It makes a huge difference since most of my mornings I rush for the door. I use to cook oatmeal every morning but I hated waiting for the oatmeal to get ready. Plus you can’t really drink your oatmeal when you’re on the road.
  • Eat whatever I like throughout the day it could be pasta, salad, sandwiches, etc. Snack on almonds, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, bread, chocolate, ice cream, and cheeses. Nothing restrictive.
  • Going to YogaWorks about 3-4 times per week. Been doing Yoga and other mat exercises for the past two years. I don’t really call it “exercising”, more like a “hobby”.
  • I work out more for recreation like running with friends or going out to the pool at my apartment because its hot or kayaking at the beach. I simply like doing active things.
  • Still eat out with friends. Actually Friday we went to Lazy Dog Cafe ordered a beer sampler and an ahi tuna burger and it was yum! Plus I finished the whole plate.
  • Yes, in the end, despite me eating — I still do exercise.

I think I exercised a lot more though back in San Diego and I felt like I had to work out a lot harder to maintain my weight. My lifestyle now is still the same …or actually I exercised a little less. I don’t run 3-5 times per week (plus do youtube workout videos) anymore to burn off Saturday night’s potluck. But lately, I’ve noticed my clothes have felt more comfortable.

My boyfriend thinks the reason why I’m losing weight is because I’m less stressed. True, I’m less stressed but at the same time, I’m more busy. Busy in a good way. I’m more active in the community and pursuing more hobbies. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just less stress because I care less what people think what I’m eating. I guess that’s what a 100 mile buffer between you and San Diego does to you. I don’t have to hear “that’s it? That’s all your eating?”

Anyways the point is that summer is coming up and there are wedding parties and birthday parties to attend in SD. It’s been a while since I’ve seen people in San Diego– the same people who have guilt-ed me for eating salad and doing outdoor sports and yoga. Not sure what they would think with my unintended weight loss and what I’ve been doing lately. It’s misleading that I share pictures of Aebleskivers pancakes, scones, chocolate tarts, sushi burritos, and bratwursts. The best part of it all is that I am not judged here.

Your days are numbered San Diego!

Three years of living in San Diego, I decided to move back to Los Angeles. I got a better job with better pay and a better (stable) company. The truth was all year I was looking for a job outside of San Diego. After three years of living in San Diego, I was still in the same job title doing the same work and I felt like I was not growing here. Sure I got scouted by a few companies in San Diego but they were not offering better work or better pay. The work was either the same work I was doing or maybe less challenging work and I felt the people who were scouting me were treating me more like merchandise rather than someone who wants to grow and add more caps to their feathers.

My group leader who I’ve been working with for the past (almost) 2 years told me how surreal that I’m leaving because I do a lot of the work and I’ve always stayed on top of my work. My group leader was telling me how she was happy I was moving on. She’s not upset that I’m moving on to a different part of the industry but she sees where I’m coming from. She saw my salary and what I made for the past three years and she told me for the work I did, I should’ve gotten a much higher raise. Unfortunately, she does not have control of my raise.

I went off tangent about the salary but there’s just so much I want to write to you, San Diego. How you’re so expensive, but yet the employers collectively don’t pay very marketable wages to live here. Is it the sunshine discount you love to hand around so much? Last year, my boyfriend and his sister were considering buying a house in San Diego but it seemed like with the salaries they were making, they could never buy a house that met their expectations and constantly kept compromising but still expensive. I thought, “wow, if I move in I might be stuck here and struggle to pay the bills for the rest of my life if I don’t find better work.” So that was when I expanded my horizons and told my boyfriend to do the same.

Big mistake was when earlier this year, me and Mr. Fish announced that we were thinking of moving out of SD to our friends. The feelings were 50/50. People fully supported us and other people thought we were crazy. The people who thought we were crazy thought we were ready to leave at any minute. At the time, to me I thought the announcement meant “we were thinking about” or that “we were open to the idea of looking elsewhere.” I would have never thought of making a big deal.

About every week I got the question “are you guys still thinking about moving?” I usually answer, “actually I don’t know” or say things like “I’ve been so busy with school” or “I haven’t found anything better.” I tried side-stepping my answers because I was busy with school and getting asked by the same people week after week about our thoughts on finding opportunities elsewhere made me think people were starting to take us less seriously.

Well now it’s happened. The official news have been announced and the people who have constantly asked us week after week about us moving have sadly stopped talking to us. They haven’t congratulated us or wished us luck on our move. That’s another rant, I’ll mention in another post. It is sad but it’s their problem and I guess they were not truly friends to begin with.

Stay tune for my blog posts and my moving adventures this week. I’ll also talk about how to get through your last two weeks of an old job, not burning bridges, my attempts of moving up, and other fun stuff!

I cleared the PMI-CAPM exam!

See? Look what happens when you study really hard and use your resources — it finally paid off.

I took the test on Saturday and I felt relieved that I passed the test and my PMI membership should be coming in the mail in the next few weeks. Sunday, I felt like I got hit by a train because of all the late nights of studying and researching even though I know I have to wake up at 5:30 to start the work day. I guess you could say that I was retrograding on my sleep.

For those who want to know my strategy for passing the CAPM exam, here is what I did:
1) As soon as I finished my classes and earned my minimum 23 education hours in Project Management, I applied through the PMI website and applied to take the exam.
2) When scheduling for the exam, try to do it about a month after you take your classes so whatever you’re studying for during the month is pretty much review. I was thinking about taking the exam in December but instead I decided the sooner I take and pass my test, the better. Also, I tend to get paranoid about overstudying.
3) My study tools was Rita Mulcahy’s book and Brainbok.com. I thought the quizzes were the most help. I did buy the Brainbok study materials.
4) Everyone said to memorize the ITTOs but with Brainbok, I didn’t think I had to. I think after quizzing myself (on Brainbok), I felt that each output that becomes an input to another process made sense. Or why organizational process assets is an input to one process but not another.
5) I think you should memorize were the equations but there were surprisingly not a lot of math problems.
6) During the week, I studied about 2 hours a day and on the weekends, as much as I can.
7) I Googled “CAPM practice exams”, “free CAPM practice exams”, etc. It was a little frustrating that a lot of the practice exams varied in difficulty. I couldn’t figure out the feel if the real exam was going to be easy or very difficult. I had some results from practice exams that made me feel better and other results that got me discouraged to the point if I should really reschedule my exam. I guess practicing as many exam problems would give one more confidence on the day of the exam.
8) Don’t study AT ALL on the night before exam. I’m sure glad I did. Friday afternoon, I drove to Irvine from San Diego. The testing facility was the closest one that was open on the weekends. I was anticipating on the Friday afternoon traffic but being aware of being stuck in traffic didn’t make me feel less frazzled. Friday night, I stayed over at a friend’s place and just ate and watched “How I Met Your Mother” on Hulu instead of studying.
9) On exam day, I brought a couple granola bars, water, and juice. I had three hours to take the exam and I took 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes.
10) I smiled when I felt being under pressure. It works and relieves my test nerves.

It’s been a long time since I taken any form of test so coming up with test taking strategies were pretty hard. I went on LinkedIn, joining Project Management groups and CAPM groups reading their discussions and their advice.

See? Look what happens you use your resources. Without LinkedIn, I don’t think I would have known about Rita Mulcahy’s book and Brainbok. Reading through threads on LinkedIn, I found links to free practice exams and advice on career transitioning to Project Management with a CAPM. I may have gotten my credential, but I still feel I have to work for it to get to where I want to be.

The following day, I thought about volunteer opportunities in Project Management with non-profits and organizations. You see, I’ve been working in biotech for a long time as a Lab Associate. With the skills I learned on the way, I thought maybe moving in Project Management in the biotechnology, healthcare, or technology industry made to most sense with what I want to do next. But the problem was that most of my work was in the lab such as process development and projects and I was looking for more versatility and doing something bigger. If I want to move on to bigger things, maybe volunteering on the side as a Project Coordinator or Lead would be a good way to show that I have interacted with my team and my community on different levels. Plus earning hours towards your PMP doesn’t hurt either :-).

(Hopefully, I hear from Engineers without Borders!)

Happy 25th Birthday to me!

I am the big 25 years old! Wrote a list of things to do before I turned 30. Not as extensive as my 101 things list though.

Anyways looking through my 25×25 list, I did ok. Wish I did keep up with the Traveling Bear Project blog but in fact, I do have lots of pictures from the past year taking Mocha to South East Asia, Anza Borrego, NYC, and more! I’m very back logged.

I wrote “Shake things up” on my list. I’m currently taking Project Management Classes hopefully it would help things out. I believe things just don’t happen, you make things happen.

I think “Shaking Things Up” is more of a daily reminder than just a thing on my checklist. I think people need to “shake things up” more in their life.

Happy birthday to me! I hope 25 is just as exciting as 24 and many years to go!

Will also add learning to surf or paddle board on bucket list…

Did another thing that I did for the first time: going to the La Jolla Caves. Been to the shores many times but not to the caves.

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On Sunday, I went kayaking with my boyfriend and friends. Just to let you know, when you rent the kayaks, you’re not allowed to go into the cave unless you are in a tour group – the tour group wears helmets for safety. When you’re kayaking in the cave and when the waves get strong you WILL crash into the rocks. The weird thing is, they allow you to park your rental kayak a few meters away from the entrance of the cave and swim or snorkel to the cave. But you need to proceed with caution. It can get dangerous. Didn’t know until I swam to caves myself.

So I swim to the caves and grabbed on to a rock and just sat and people watch from the rock. It felt awesome being able to be at the caves at last — another thing to cross off on my San Diego bucket list. Then the waves happened, though the waves looked small, they were strong enough to push me back.

I was terrified and I tried to cover my neck and my head so I wouldn’t hit anything there. Since the waves were so strong, I was in an enclosed area and it was hard to swim through and grab to another rock (warning: there are some sharp rocks in the cave).

I swim to my friends telling them what happened. Even though I wasn’t too far from my friends, they told me they saw some waves but they wouldn’t have guessed I fell over. They thought I jumped off the rock and swam away. Scary. I don’t think you can scream for “help” underwater.

Overall, the wipe-out didn’t too much damage to me. I have scratches all over my arm, stomach and legs and back. My knees are swollen so it’s kind of painful to stand up from my chair or my bed. Worst case scenario would have been drowning or getting hit in the head by the rocks and got unconscious.

Maybe I should learn how to surf or paddleboard. For some reason, I always got too scared to learn how to surf or stand up on a paddle board for the fear or falling off, but getting pushed by a wave and getting hit by rocks is probably the worst case scenario when you’re at the beach (and any body of water, I must add). Getting pushed by a wave from a surfboard probably doesn’t sound too bad because I’m not surfing in an enclosed area. I would probably just land on more waves and waters.

Time to Give Back, World

After my South East Asia trip, I want to travel more often. Thanks for the warning folks.

As soon as I got back home, I was already dreaming about my next trip would it be heading to the Antarctic Circle since I’ve already been to the Arctic Circle? Would it be visiting a fellow travel buddy in South Africa? Or renting a car and driving around Australia? Or would it be taking the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing?

I even dreamed of vacations where I volunteer in countries at a cooperative or a farm or maybe take a chunk of the year to teach English.

All these ideas overwhelmed me because there’s just so much of the world to see and because I like to go to places, I feel obligated to more than just take a vacation but also contribute back to the country. Then an idea happened…well actually…another dream…

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Not going to say yet but we’re in the process of making that dream into something more tangible.

How would I describe my blog?

I’m not a fan of labels. I’m really not.

I guess I can’t quite put my blog in a label. My blog actually started as a list — a list of 101 things to do 1001 days after my last day of college. I accomplished some on my list and some I didn’t, but that’s fine. Two years after graduation, I’m not doing too shabby but it could be better and it has nothing to do with crossing off more things on the 101 thing list.

When I turned 24, I decided to write a list of things to do before I turned 25. I’ve only looked at the list during the month of September (my birthday month) and forgot about it in October and beyond. Next month I turn 25. I forgot what I wrote on my 25 things before I turned 25 but that’s all right too, I think I had a great 24th year.

I guess to me, my blog is just a self-realization, a self-improvement blog and just a focus on putting my best self forward. I write these  goals to give myself a little bit of direction but it’s not necessarily a destination. The other day, I was reading an article on the NY Times on letting go of the outcomes and expectations of your goals and focus on the process on getting there and also don’t turn your goals into expectations — it’s a sad and defeating cycle.

My blog is a one-woman show. I cook, I do Pilates, I do yoga, I run, I write, I work a full-time job, I catch up with my friends, I travel, I take photos, I study, I do my homework, I clean the dishes, and do the laundry and I wouldn’t have that any other way. You really can’t put a label on my blog. I love write my rants, share things that inspire me, share my photos of places I’ve been and writing about my frustrations, what I can do better, and of course my accomplishments — recording how far I’ve come.

Question for you: How would you describe your blog?