Brain Dump

The list of things I’m constantly thinking “I’ll post on this soon” is growing. Time for a Brain Dump.

Jenna Cole

My Aspirations full day session is approaching capacity. Anyone else out there who might have been putting off finding out more? Email me! And in the spirit of my latest post on Jenna Cole, I decided to cancel the half-day session due to lack of interest. Whew! That was hard for me to admit, but sometimes we try things and they don’t work, right? I think I’m ready to keep trying new things, even if it means failing sometimes.

Try This

I discovered a fun new game. Put your camera on the floor and teach your toddler how to push the button. Do all sorts of crazy things in front of the lens while they peer at the screen on back. Laughter and smiles will follow.


I am currently allowing myself to write this post as a little pat on the back for making it through two whole sections of Statistics today! I’m on track to getting to where I need to be. To fill you in since my last psot on this topic, I decided to take Calculus online, but first needed to bump up my math skills to the algebra level. After almost a decade of no serious math classes, my skills were rusty, as in write 2x+2=10 on a piece of paper and I will rip that paper up and tell you it’s impossible for me to figure it out. After dedicating myself to Khan Academy for two months, I was working with linear equations once again and felt ready to give Calculus a try. Before I could start on the course material, I had to take an algebra pre-test to prove I could handle the course.

I opened up the open book pre-test, and within 10 minutes had giant tears running down my face because even with Google’s help I had absolutely no idea what they were asking me for. Khan Academy had been (and is) great, but once you rephrased the questions into a different format I felt lost, confused, and frustrated that the last two months I had just spent were a waste of time. And if the pre-test was this hard, how would I ever make it through the actual course?!?!?!

Within the last week I switched to Statistics and things are much, much better. This stuff is interesting to me, much more applicable to my normal life, and so far I’ve been doing really well on my Speedback quizzes. I have to have the class finished by the end of March if I want to have time to finish my other online course, Brit Lit, so That Wife posting should continue to be sparse (if I’m posting everyday again, feel free to remind me of my responsibilities).

This summer I’ll be taking Managerial Communication, American Lit, and the class I’m most looking forward to… women’s culture, women’s folklore as my senior course. If ever God gave me a sign that I was headed in the right direction, this is it. I cannot imagine a class that’s a better fit for me, as the Intro to Women’s Studies class and multiple Folklore focused courses at BYU were my very favorites. SQUEEEE! I’ve actually had the professor before (in one of the aforementioned Folklore courses) and I really enjoyed working with her.

House Hunting

We want to live somewhere along the peninsula south of San Francisco. I thought we had a great lead on a house, but it’s not the right situation for us. We’d really like to rent, but I can’t seem to find anyone to advise us on when we actually need to be digging in our heels and trying to find a place if we are moving in this August. Everything on Craigslist right now is listed as available immediately.

T1′s Therapy

We’re still loving our speech therapist, and haven’t sought out a new developmental therapist. He keeps having these wonderful mini-explosions which are delightful to hear. Last night it was the word “cracker”. He used it over and over and over, and we kept giving him crackers until he stopped asking for them. This morning on the changing table he tried out poop, diaper, pants, cup, up, and down. We’re making progress!

Weight Loss

Are you a part of That Weight Loss Challenge Facebook group? Because I haven’t been doing a good job of checking in here regularly regarding my weight loss efforts, but you’ll find all sorts of motivation and support over there! To try to summarize where I’ve been, when TWLC2 launched I weighed about 155 lbs. I went all sorts of crazy eating truffles over Christmas and when I came back to Chicago I weighed in at 160 lbs. Of sugar and refined-carb induced bloat. After a week of drinking my calories, mainly via fruits and vegetables, and a few more weeks of really trying to limit carbs, I’m back down to my pre-Christmas pants again. My plan is to continue limiting carbs and drinking lots of soup/smoothies to get where I haven’t been since my wedding day… below the 150lb mark.

As far as exercise, I’ve fallen hard for the Ripped in 30 workout DVD by Jillian Michaels. Remember that time I said I wouldn’t Shred? Well I still won’t Shred, but not because I think Jillian is a hypocrite selling diet pills and making unrealistic weight loss claims (she is) but now it’s because I like her other DVD better. Ha! After almost 3 months of doing the Ripped in 30 DVD an average of 4+ days/week, you can actually see my biceps when I flex. I don’t know that the rest of me looks any different yet, but my biceps are significantly bigger than they were in this photo. (A note to say that I’m working out to build muscle, not to lose weight, as I think that’s where diet comes in). We’re probably about halfway through, right? I should do some progress pictures.

38 thoughts on “Brain Dump

  1. In general, I think, normal non-math people are good at stats or algebra, I see stats and cry.

    I think you will love Folklore. Have you ever read anything by Andrea Dawrkin (sp?) she has a great essay about the birdcage. She can be a little extreme for me, but she is thought provoking nonetheless. My first women studies class was in law school (I can’t believe it took me so long) and it changed my life and I have never been the same again.

    Housing in California is hard to snag until right before. I can’t speak to SF, but Santa Barbara is very, very difficult to find anything until right before and we had cash in hand. When I moved to LA I was able to get a place maybe 5 weeks before but that’s only because I moved into a huge apartment complex. We have found all our CA housing on Craigslist.

    Sunny Reply:

    I agree completely!

    “In general, I think, normal non-math people are good at stats or algebra, I see stats and cry.”

    I love math and it comes easy to me. I’m an engineer so I’ve been through the calc and diff eq series and I’m so lost on stats. I’ve never had a stats class so maybe that’s my holdup. :)

    Michelle Reply:

    OMG – give me calc or differential equations any day of the week, just don’t make me do stats!!!!!! :)

    Jenna Reply:

    I think I’ll give this one a try?

    Emmie Reply:

    That’s a good one — the great thing about her is that she is so radical that it really makes you think but also find what you agree and don’t agree with — and I think that is the best part about charting your own course, in that, you can take in all the different ideas and view points and then decide what you believe and what works.

    I think she is the one that talks about how law influences behavior and that honestly changed my life and how I view the law.

  2. As someone who’s moved long-distance a few times, I would advise NOT renting until you are there, for the following reasons.
    1. You need to see the place in person to get a sense of the space/light/overall condition. Also, not to be really mistrustful, but it’s very easy for people to mislead you about its level of maintenance, etc. over the internet.
    2. The most important thing about any house/apartment is its location. You can’t get a good sense of this (like how far it is from stores, or how bad the traffic is, or if you feel safe there or not) except in person. If you are planning on staying in the place a while (say over a couple years), it’s probably worth it to rent for a month+ in the area you’re interested in, to get a sense of it and make sure you like the vibe.
    3. If you are renting (especially a house!), the second most important thing is that your landlord is not crazy/dishonest/unscrupulous. The only way to tell is by meeting them in person.

    Does TH’s company offer relocation benefits (hotel costs/rental agent fees etc.)? Use them if possible!

    Easiest way to do it: put your stuff in storage; move to a furnished apartment for a few weeks (lots of these available in SF/Silicon Valley for businesspeople); hire a rental agent (the company might even have a recommended one). They should be able to find you a great place quickly.

    You can save money doing other things (most of which I’ve done at some point) but if you have the money, believe me that it’s totally worth every penny. (Better to economize on movers, furniture and decor.)

    Aims Reply:

    Totally agree looking now is a waste of time you will just get depressed. Plan for hotel or temp housing for the first month. It is easy to get in quick when you are physically there.
    In all my cross country hops (5) I found great places within 2 weeks of being in the area. I would not have picked any of them without being there. 1 week of getting my feet on the ground 1 week of looking moving in the 3rd or 4 th weekend.

    Jenna Reply:

    Our Thailand/Poland trips are making things hectic, but I’m going to trust that this is the way to go and make it work. This idea of rolling into town without a place already secured is kind of scary for me.

    I’m/We are going to fly out at least once, though we aren’t sure when yet.

    Grace Reply:

    Don’t worry, it will work. I saw Singapore for the first time when we moved here in July, and even with the cultural differences, quirky issues with the rental market (for instance, we only wanted an 18 month lease but almost all leases here are either 1 or 2 years) and banking issues (you must pay a huge sum in cash, but our bank at the time had no branches in Asia: oops!), we found a perfect apartment in under two weeks. Thanks rental agent!

    As long as you have money/good credit and an internet connection all things are possible.

  3. Hi Jenna! When my husband and I made the move from L.A. to San Francisco, we came up a month before we wanted to move to scout apartments thinking we were smart. NO ONE would rent to us, because everyone wanted someone who could move in in 2-3 weeks. I can’t speak for the peninsula, but I know that in the city, the sooner you’re able to move in, the more likely you’ll get a place. Finally we were able to convince someone to hold this 2 bedroom, 1 bath because our landlord liked the idea of renting to married, young working professionals. Just wanted to let you know your experience is common and you might have some trouble, unfortunately :( P.S. I love that camera-play idea you’ve got with T1!

    Jenna Reply:

    Sounds like this is just the way they do things in your area! We will adapt accordingly. :)

  4. My heart hurt for you when you described crying over math. Math has never come easily to me, and I had many hours of tears through high school. But in college, I also took statistics and LOVED it! It’s such a fascinating field and, like you pointed out, it has a lot of applicability in normal life.

    Good for you for recognizing that the struggle wasn’t worth it and switching to a different course!

  5. Have you tried her No More Trouble Zones workout? It’s a bit longer (50 minutes), but just doing it twice a week I’ve noticed significant improvement (running three days also). I like mixing it up so maybe I’ll grab the Ripped in 30. Good luck! :)

    Sophia Reply:

    NMTZ is a great workout. It kicked me to the ground, even though I was already physically pretty fit.

    Jenna Reply:

    My mom had 6 Week 6 Pack so I’ve been supplementing with that. Eventually I will probably have her whole collection, haha ( didn’t really like 30 Day Shred though).

  6. Quick weight loss thought for you – yeah, the eating right helps the weight loss, but don’t sell strength training short. Muscle burns more calories – so the more muscle you have, the more effective cardio calorie burning becomes! Just like everything else in life, its all about balance. Toss in some running or some swimming in with your Ripped and healthy choices to see max effect. :) btw – super congrats on what you’ve done already.

    For the posting while in school with family etc – it SEEMS like part of the reason you post is to say something, and sometimes its just to be involved in this community you’ve created. Don’t be afraid to post a fun pic and a “woohoo for tuesday!” type of quick sentiment. You don’t have to spend hours laboring over each post – you’ve got a life, don’t forget to live it! (’cause then what would we read about? ;) This is your blog, post however much, and however often you want. [BTW - I was thinking of Healthy Tipping Point's sometimes very brief posts - short and sweet, yet we blog stalkers still feel involved. :)]

  7. Just a quick coincidence that I noted – I just weighed in at 155 this morning, and weighed 160 at the doctor’s office right after my holiday break. My goal is also to get under 150! Sending out generally supportive vibes!

  8. Does Ripped in 30 have a lot of lunges like the Shred does? I can’t do Shred right now because I am still dealing with knee issues.

    Jenna Reply:

    There are 4 weeks with 3 different circuits each, and all 12 circuits are completely different. I think each week has at least one minute of either lunges or squats? I don’t really pay that much attention though because my knee is feeling good lately. So sorry about yours :(

  9. I have to hide my little point-and-shoot because it is just the right size for little ones and they like to grab it and go crazy LOL I do hand it over periodically when I can keep an eye on them because it is fascinating to see what they think is important and see the world from their eyes :) the camera has some dings but it’s pretty durable–I hide my bigger camera really well, though, and they don’t get to cart that one around ;-)

  10. Love this update! It’s great to know that both T1 and you are making such great progress in your educations! The photos that T1 took of you are so fun. I want more house updates! I can’t wait until you find something!

  11. We rent a house in Palo Alto (4bd / 2ba, $4k-ish a month)! We signed our lease on March 24th of this year for a May 1st lease start date. I really, really, really wanted to find a place sooner than we did because my son was born on February 24th and I wanted all of this taken care of before then, but very, very few people list house rentals more than 1-2 months in advance. We had the most luck with finding houses via Craigslist. I will post to the Palo Alto / Menlo Park mom’s club message board and let you know if anyone else has other suggestions of places to look for a rental house.

    I have heard that the rental market heats up a bit more over the summer as many families wait until the end of the school year to move, so *fingers crossed* you may have more options than what you see now.

    JamieH Reply:

    The parents group message board agrees that Craigslist (in addition to word of mouth) is the best route to go. Good luck! I know it is frustrating to have to wait until right before you move across the country to find a place to live.

  12. Hi Jenna! Long-time lurker here. I live in San Carlos, mid-peninsula, and love it. I’ve lived in several cities along the peninsula, so let me know if you have any questions. It’s a great place to live- I’m sure you, TH and T1 will love it here! Good luck.

  13. Don’t worry about trying to rent for a while. Most places won’t ask their tenants if they are going to re-up their lease this far in advance (unless you find a place you love and are willing to pay rent for it while it sits empty). We’re moving again this fall too and haven’t started looking yet. It’ll be my 9th move in 10 years. And I think we will move again after that.

    I took my freshman seminar in Feminism and Fairytales. A-mazing!

  14. I think in general, most places up for rent in your time aren’t listed for quite a while. The exception being large apartment complexes that have quite a few units available. As daunting as it sounds, you may just have to be patient and wait awhile.

    I’d also recommend taking advantage of whatever relocation $$$ you have and absolutely seeing the neighborhoods in person before you make any decisions. Ideally, it’s nice to be able to take a trip out to get the lay of the land, but if that’s not possible some time in corporate housing can buy you a little more time. This is also one of those instances where I would HIGHLY recommend working with a realtor, especially if the CA rules (which I don’t know) are that the landlord pays their commission. They are great when you are not as familiar with the neighborhoods and renting rules in the state not to mention they seem to have the best access to inventory. I looked around CL as well as apartment finding services before going with a realtor and she found properties that were far better, but still fairly priced.

    Jenna Reply:

    I didn’t know that sometimes landlords will pay the realtors commission. That would be really nice. I’ve heard that there is a realtor that a lot of LDS people like, I’ll have to try to get in touch with her. Thanks for the tip!

  15. I am a Calculus teacher and (no offence) I thought it was pretty hilarious that you said you brushed up on linear equations and now felt prepared for Calculus! Definitely need much much more background than that.
    Anyway I agree with your change to Statistics, it does seem much more applicable to your life!

    Jenna Reply:

    Oh I wasn’t learning algebra because I thought it would get me through the calculus course. I just wanted to be able to get past the pre-test! I felt like I had a good handle on everything listed on the pre-test summary page, but it was a no-go.

  16. A lot of my husband’s family lives in San Francisco and the first and maybe only piece of advice they would give someone moving to SF (they are nice and don’t give tons of unwelcome advice) is to look at a certain type of map (I am blanking on what it is called) that shows you what kind of foundation is underneath the top soil–for example where Uncle T & Aunt L live, their home is sitting on top of tons of solid rock, but (and now I can’t remember the name of the neighborhood) a very popular area is built on sand pulled up from the ocean. This makes a huge difference in earthquake safety–apparently you’re way better off built on something solid than on a pile of sand, and honestly I don’t know if Uncle T & Aunt L would “allow” any of their loved ones to live in the sandy neighborhoods. Not that you know them or anything, but they are both highly educated, very successful, not paranoid or anything and I really respect them–I promise they are not crazy types! Anyway I am just sharing since it’s something you (or I or whomever) not local to the area might not consider since it’s so location-specific. Also a lot of my college friends moved to LA and SF after college graduation and I can’t think of anyone who found an apartment more than a week or two in advance. Not great for Planners but it all worked out for the girls I know :)

    Stephanie C Reply:

    This comment reminded me of the “Wise Man built his house upon the rock” song! Guess it’s really applicable to real life ;)

    Jenna Reply:

    I hadn’t even thought about this. Thanks for adding something else to our “must discuss” list (that was not sarcastic, I’m genuinely thankful :) ). And it’s definitely not the kind of thing we’d learn from anyone trying to get us to move in!

    Kristin Reply:

    Yes, we heard all about this growing up, well at least I did (my mom’s masters is in geology). Sandy foundations during earthquakes lead to liquefaction. Here it is the wikipedia link: and here is a map showing the extent of it in the bay area,

    Hope that helps!

  17. oh man, just reading about your math class brought back all kinds of horrible memories of my undergrad experiences. I hated those classes. But I made it through (with a tutor), got my degree, and haven’t looked back. Until just now of course. :)

    Speaking of your toddler… ours is almost two and he’s just now starting to pick up words. He’s up to about eight so far and his newest one as of yesterday is: Bravo! Random, right? He and his daddy do the Little Pim series every morning which is a cartoon educational program aimed at helping little ones learn a new language. They are practicing Italian and Henry loves it because it has a game for him to play and at the end of the game, the cartoon character says Bravo. Hence the new word.


    Jenna Reply:

    I’m going to look up Little Pim!

  18. Hi! Just wanted to pop in with some advice for renting on the SF peninsula. I grew up here and currently own a house in Redwood City (30 min south of SF). Due to the economy the rental market in the bay area has become very, very competitive (less people buying houses, etc.).
    I would definitely recommend working with a Realtor, they can get you in places before they appear on Craigslist. It is practically impossible to get a place more than a month out on Craigslist as people literally stalk the rental page for every new listing the second they come out. I would also look into condos, townhouses, etc. Property management companies are also a great resource and usually only charge a small fee.
    Hope this helps, I have been a renter here and have a lot of friends who rent and its a cutthroat market!

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