Life, Work

Learning How to Study Again

February 22, 2021

Last summer I had a crazy idea — I decided to sit for a professional exam that, if I passed, would certify me as an association executive. I’d have initials after my name on LinkedIn! I am already an association professional and no letters or lack of letters can change that, but my scope is currently a bit narrow. I know a lot about one facet of association management, a little about another, and cursory info about the rest.

Even I sit for this exam and fail miserably, the reading and studying would make me a more rounded professional. I’ll need to register by mid-September to take the December 2021 exam.

Because I’m me, I’m nervous about taking that step and committing to the exam. Therefore, I decided to boil a frog. (The frog being me.) I purchased the 2 larger of the 5 recommended books and have begun to study. By the time I make it through these two big books I’ll be so far along that registering for the exam will be the natural next step. Right?

a text book and notebook on a kitchen table with sunlight streaming in
This photo is from January. I”m much farther through the book now.

But I haven’t studied for anything in a long time. Clinton-era long. No, not even THAT Clinton…the one before her. And have I mentioned how huge and dense these books are? After a very rough start which looked like this…

Don Music forever.

…here’s what’s working for me.

  • Day 1 of the cycle, I then read a chapter fully, highlighting the passages that I think are important. Vocabulary, concepts, theories, and any word that I have to look up. Example: drayage.
  • The next day, right after work, I’ll get my notebook and review the chapter, taking notes on what I’ve highlighted. Because I’m easily distracted, any ideas that come to mind while I”m taking notes are scribbled onto a piece of paper or napkin.
  • Then I skip a day.
  • The next day I read the next chapter.

My goal is to get to a point where I’m not skipping a day in between chapters. And to register for this exam in September. And then pass the exam.

If you’ve been in a similar boat, studying for something after a lifetime of not studying, feel free to drop your tips below or email me at kim (and then the at sign) kimberussell (DOT) com.

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I live in New Jersey, I love the Internet

Friday 5: Brr!

February 19, 2021

Happy Friday from my day off, which is being spent in the same place as where I am when I work. I took today off because I’m supposed to be receiving my first COVID-19 vaccine. ALAS…

snowy front yard
On Wednesday, there were only a few patches of snow left.

We have had winter storms here for the last 3 Thursdays and this was no exception. Because of this … mess … my vaccine was rescheduled (automatically!) until next Friday. I’m not taking next Friday off – I’ll just zip out there and back and call it a lunch hour. Kim of last April would have been crying for a week about it. Kim of this February sighs and keeps on keeping on. I’m lucky to be getting one this soon anyway.

And I’m also lucky to be living in an area that is (mostly) prepared for winter storms. If you’re in place to do so, please donate to the folks in Texas whose leadership is … subpar … on the best of days. Here is a google doc (via Adriene Mishler) with resources for Texans – scroll to the bottom for donation sites. It’s easiest to be a Millennial here and use CashApp/Venmo for your donations.

And via Lindsay at Bourbon, Lipstick, & Stilettos, here is how to help Eastern Kentuckians.

Fittingly, this week’s Friday 5 theme is Brr! BTW, if a month has an R in the name, I’m cold.

  1. What will you remembrr about this past week?
    My relief at Mom getting her first COVID shot. My cousin’s kid having fat, healthy twins.
  2. What’s trying its best to clobbrr you these days?
    Inertia. ALL I want to do is … nothing. I’m even having trouble reading again. This darkness of my mood is reminiscent of what it was during the early days of the pandemic. I think it’s because March (spring!) is close.
  3. What’s going on in the neighbrrhood?
    Everybody is tired of shoveling. One person keeps trying to “report” cars she doesn’t recognize on Nextdoor. Another caught a meter reader on her Ring camera and wants “info on this guy” – also on Nextdoor. I am BARELY on Nextdoor, except if I need a recommendation on a business and even then you get responses from Moms promoting their sons’ businesses, never realizing that it is not very hard to figure that out.
  4. When were you recently required to summon some brravery?
    Basically any time I have to leave the house. I’m much better with being out in the world but I lately I’ve started with the “how do I even drive? I haven’t been on a highway since October!” willies. I think “suck it up, buttercup” needs going to be my theme for 2021.
  5. Over what will you happily labrr this weekend?
    Most of my seeds arrived (waiting on potato tubers and strawberry starts), so I’m going to figure out when to start them and what kind of fertilizer we’ll need. Oh, and I also need to update my SSL (that’s what gives me an https instead of http in my blog’s address) and I only do that every 2 years so I have to find my documentation. The labrr involved is minimal. It’s “upload this thing to this spot.”

Have a great weekend!
Buttercup, who is trying to suck all of this up

kim, grumpy out in the snow.

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My EIB award winning post

February 18, 2021

(excellence in blogging, of course)

Rush Limbaugh died yesterday of lung cancer. I’m in with a pretty solid crowd of very liberal people on Twitter and IG and the blogging world. I donate money and time to Democratic candidates locally and across the country when needed. I have a RGB action figure and still have my 2016 HRC “I’m with Her” magnet on my laptop stand. Safe, loved, and warm, right?

When news broke of Limbaugh’s passing and my Twitter feed began its tapdance of glee, I tweeted this:

Unlike many here, I actually used to listen to Rush Limbaugh forever ago and if he had used his presence and talent to build America up instead of bitterly dividing it, today would be a completely different mood.

me, twitter, yesterday.

I garnered only 3 likes and probably lost some followers. I completely expected that because I’m sure people where shocked that 1) I listened to Rush and 2) I admitted it.

But I have never hidden that I have a mildly conservative past. It’s all in the early days of this blog. I voted for Bush 43 and McCain with a super reluctant vote for Kerry in between. The 2000 version of Kim and the 2008 version of Kim had her reasons that she thought were decent. I was a registered Libertarian for a while too, before THAT party turned sour. Or did I sour on the party?

I listened to Rush in the late 90s/early 00s when I had a crappy car with a radio that only pulled in a few stations. One of them was the local talk station, and it ran a slate of conservative hosts. At the time I was convinced that Bill Clinton was reprehensible and unfit to be president (It wasn’t the blow job, it was the lying about the blow job, and that it all happened in the Oval Office. I am about the age of the intern whose name is forever affiliated with him, and ugh.) I am simultaneously still enthralled by and repulsed by Bill Clinton.

But at the time, Rush was ON FIRE with parodies and darkly funny jokes. (and some that were distasteful no matter who you voted for) We were all witnessing the first slow-motion political train wreck of the Internet age. And he had some howlers about Al Gore when he ran in 2000. But as we moved past Clinton into Bush 43 and the post 9/11 era, Rush and the rest took a very cruel and xenophobic hard-right turn.

Or rather, I realized that they were ALWAYS that way.

Shortly after, I left conservative radio behind. I also left behind the conservative columnist in Minneapolis who used to write about awful food recipes of the 60s/70s. If you know, you know.

What changed? I started reading books and blogs from people who were different from me. I began talking to more people outside of my dumb little suburban enclave and as I worked to make my own world larger, I realized that all people are valuable and worthy of love and what I thought was Rush being darkly funny was him being a terrible human being.

To mangle some famous words, I’m not writing this to praise Rush but to bury him. And to put out there that not all of us have an unblemished ideological past, and some of us didn’t emerge from an clamshell fully kind and liberal, we had to put a lot of hard thinking and work to get here. I’m still not perfect, none of us are.

But I’m working toward it.

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