Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can you hear the angels sing?

'Cause that's about what it sounds like every year when the Thanksgiving issue comes out.
This year's cover with that gorgeous eggplant color is divine.

Mini WHS reunion in Chi-town

In the last couple of years there has been a mass exodus of people fleeing LA to Chicago. Ok, perhaps not an exodus per se, but several folks from WHS (my old church group) have coincidentally made their way to the Midwest. And not that I need a grand excuse to have a dinner party, but getting everyone together provided one nonetheless. And though Liz, Jason V & Lehan were unable to come at the last minute, it was great to see Jason D, Dolo, Ron + kiddos.
Olivia was eager to be my photo model. Not shy, that one!
See a few more pics HERE.

The school week is over.

Thanks to a little wine, some vanilla Oreos and new school friends Caitlin & Andrea, I made it through midterm week. This is not to say the craziness doesn't continue; it does. But for this week at least, is finished. (And now on to the projects and papers due next week. It never ends. At least not for another 5 years. Oh wait, and then there are licensing exams. Make that about 6.5-7 years.)


Monday, October 27, 2008

This looks fun.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dating Advice

Single ladies, take note.


It allows me to stay connected to friends such as this one. 1.5 hours later...


Liz mentioned a few days ago that she'd heard that we could get some snow this weekend. I insisted she stop raising my hopes like that as no report I'd seen mentioned snow. She recanted and apologized for her misleading information, and I graciously accepted her apology.

Weather forecast as of 2 minutes ago:

Sitting under a blanket working on my midterms with the window open, I wondered what the temperature was as it seemed to have become markedly colder over the last hour or so. I suppose the forecast above would be why.

I take back my insistence, Liz. And you can take back your apology if you want.

UPDATE 10/27 @ 11:34am: It never snowed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My weekend:

Work training + long bus ride home + dinner + whining & complaining to a friend about how I just don't want to work on my take-home midterms + verbal butt-kick to get busy + completion of 3 of 4 essays on one of my take-home midterms + sleep + more work training + quick straightening of my little apartment + study/discussion/friendship-building time with classmates over Chinese food & wine & chocolate (currently going on) = My Friday & Saturday so far.

Fri/Sat + more work training + competence testing for all the training I've had to do at work + completion of one take-home midterm due Monday + working on the second take-home midterm due Wednesday + flash-card making for an in-class midterm also on Wednesday= My entire weekend.

Wanna trade lives?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Well then.

Tonight was an eventful evening at work. Let's just say it involved running and my yelling "Security!" This job ain't dull, that's for sure!

Friday, October 17, 2008

First LA Visitor: Sara P

Random start to the post: I just realized that my recent visitor, Sara P., and I have known each other for about 20 years, having met in the 6th grade. Holy cow! Her would-be travel companion, Kelly, is another friend I've had for 20 or so years, who, unfortunately, was unable to come due to a pesky pneumonia. (Don't worry Kell, Sara & I tested out lots of places so when you can come, we know just where to go. And we saved a few places to explore for the first time together.)

Sara's visit was fun, filled and fast, catching many of the "must-see" sites along the way, with enough time to enjoy the "must-eats" too.

Day one of exploring included lunch followed by a visit to the Art Institute; a walk up Michigan Ave to Millennium Park to see The Bean (officially "Cloud Gate"); a bus ride further up Michigan Ave to the Hancock Building for cocktails, appetizers & a sunset viewing from one of the best vantage points in the city; ending with a dinner we weren't actually hungry enough for at Cesars' for Mexican food. The day was capped off with a bedtime viewing of The Office online.

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Our second day exploring the city started with breakfast at Ann Sather for their famous cinnamon rolls; followed by a stroll down Miracle Mile (Michigan Ave's famed shopping area where we discovered that most of the "malls" in that area have an average of 7 levels filled mostly with shops that sell very expensive clothing & accessories) & a peek inside the Fourth Presbyterian Church; frustration with the masses crowding the streets who were in town for the Chicago Marathon the following day; lunch at Nordstrom's cafe; a walk around Navy Pier (a place I feel no need to take any future visitors to unless you insist); ending with a dinner at Lou Malnoti's for pizza & dessert.
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Sara left Sunday morning to spend a day/night with family that live in the suburbs, but we couldn't let her leave the city without a quick walk to Wrigley Field.
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Thanks for coming to visit, Sar, and being my first LA visitor. Hope you enjoyed Chicago!

PS. Lou Malnati's was the last on my list of pizza places to try and I have reached a verdict on which of the famous four is my favorite. In order of preference...Giordano's, Lou Malnati's, Gino's East & Pizzeria Uno. The quest has ended!

A Little Night Music: Cartoon Network Version

The past two nights I've been serenaded to sleep by:

  • One group of neighbors sitting on their back porch belting out Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" at 12:30am. (I sang along.)
  • Another group (with just their windows open) shouting "SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS!" every time someone else would sing their part of, "He lives in a pineapple under the sea..." This lasted for a good 10 minutes. This was around 1am.
It's all very funny, and fortunately, doesn't keep me up too late at night. What, er, unique behaviors do your neighbors demonstrate?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tagging is fun.

Thanks to Molly, you get to learn a little more about me. Oh, happy Thursday!

4 things I was doing 10 years ago:

*Living in Denmark, going to school & working as an au pair.
*Learning (& loving) the art of entertaining, the Euro way.
*Riding my bike up a hill and down a hill, just to get home. That sucked.
*Discovering I actually love red bell peppers

4 Things on my to-do list for today:
*Drive my car
*Get an Illinois drivers license
*Get fingerprinted for DCFS
*Work from 2-11pm

4 Random Things I miss about California:
*Lancey-Hugs, Bailey-Jokes & Samuel-Questions
*Finding a parking spot on the street isn't a 45-minute long activity
*My peeps
*An easily accessible Trader Joe's

4 Jobs I've had:
*Barrista at a UCSB coffee bar
*Dish washer at a UCSB cafeteria (a group of friends all did it for the free meal card)
*Telemarketer (for about 2 days while in school at UCSB)
*Holiday-time cashier at Williams-Sonoma

4 Movies I've Watched More Than Once:
*Last of the Mohicans
*Dirty Dancing
*Emma/Sense & Sensibility/Pride & Prejudice
*Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

4 Favorite Albums:
*Anything by Coldplay
*Dan Wilson - Free Life
*Vivaldi's 4 Seasons
*Anything by Erasure (the earlier years)

4 Places I've lived:
*Santa Barbara, CA
*Altadena, CA
*Aarhus, Denmark
*Chicago, IL

4Places I've Been:
*Battle Creek, MI
*Tramping through the wilds of northern Sweden & Norway
*Wall, South Dakota
*The Honda Dealership in Bozeman, MT

4 Places I want to visit:

4 TV Shows I recently started watching:
*Family Guy
*Gossip Girl
*30 Rock

4 Favorite Meals:
*Kraft Original "The Cheesiest" Mac-n-Cheese
*1 Cheese, 1 Chicken Enchilada Combination plate from La Adelita
*Pepperoni & Corn pizza
*Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Chicken (Their steak is great but this is Uh-MAZING)

4 Things you may not know about me:
*I firmly believe the 'ol adages that "Bacon makes everything better" and "Cheese makes a meal" (i.e. Cheese + Pasta = Mac & Cheese, Cheese + Bread = Grilled Cheese, etc)
*In addition to any school reading I may have (or be procrastinating on), I probably read 30+ books/novels/trash a year.
*I only look organized. When cleaning up for company I stash things in random places and then forget about them. This is bad when it's bills.
*I once knew every word, every song, every sound from the Little Mermaid movie (I recorded the entire movie onto an audio cassette tape that I would then listen to over and over. Summer of 89, baby.)

And since the fun must continue, I tag Denise, Brandi, Liz & Jan.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tested Today.

Mixed thoughts on how it went. Will let you know next week when I get my grade.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On FSIQ, VIQ & PIQ : A general discussion

(One friend suggested I explain what I'm trying to learn to another person, in hopes that the concepts that I am having a hard time remembering will stick better as I prepare for an important test tomorrow. You, dear readers & friends, get to be those 'persons'. )

The particular Intellectual Assessment/Achievement test that I am becoming proficient at results in a Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ) score, as well as a Verbal IQ (VIQ) and a Performance IQ (PIQ) score. The test contains 14 subtests, half of which fall under the VIQ, and the other half under PIQ. Your VIQ score is indicative of your ability to work with abstract symbols, your verbal memory skills and fluency abilities, as well as the amount of education you have had, and whether you actually benefited from that education. Your PIQ score indicates your ability to work with concrete situations, to work quickly, to integrate perceptual stimuli with motor responses, as well as your visual spatial ability.

If there is a significant difference between your VIQ and your PIQ, there are potential reasons for this. Typical reasons for a higher PIQ are if the test-taker is ESL, or has less education. They may also have a learning disability, some level of autism or mental retardation, and possibly even emotional trauma (though additional background information is needed to support the last possibility). Additionally, a higher PIQ often means the test-taker has low auditory processing and conceptualizing skills, meaning that they have difficulty in understanding auditory directions and putting them into practice. A significantly higher VIQ may indicate the test-taker has a high level of education/schooling, they have a deep fund of knowledge, and they are probably caucasion or mainstream American. A higher VIQ may also indicate some level of a mood disorder such as depression, or right-hemisphere brain damage.

The VIQ score is further broken down into 2 indexes, those being VCI (verbal comprehension index) and WMI (working memory index). Subtests that load onto the VCI include Vocabulary, Information and Similarities. WMI includes the subtests of Letter # Sequencing, Digit Span and Artithmatic. The PIQ score is also broken down into 2 indexes, including POI (perceptual organization) and PSI (processing speed). Subtests that fall under POI include Block Design, Matrix Reasoning and Picture Completion. PSI subtests include Symbol Search and Digit Symbol Coding. The three remaining subtests of Object Assembly, Picture Arrangement and Comprehension do not load onto any index.

Here is a visual representation of how things are connected with the specificity of each subtest:
A few thoughts on calculating the IQ scores...Symbol Search, LNS & Object Assembly scores do not calculate into the FSIQ or the VIQ & PIQ. They may, however, load upon an index score, as seen in Symbol Search loading onto PSI and LNS loading onto WMI. As previously mentioned, Object Assembly does not load upon any index.

A few thoughts on reliability & consistency...As with any assessment test, reliability & consistency is important. The FSIQ has a high split-half reliability of .98, VIQ reliability is .97 and PIQ reliability is .94. VCI has a reliability of .96, POI has a relaibility of .94, WMI has a reliability of .93, and PSI has the lowest reliability of .87. Internal consistency for this intellectual assessment test ranges from the low .70's - low .90's. The subtest with the highest split-half reliability is Vocabulary, which is .91, and the subtests with the lowest split-half reliability include Object Assembly at .7 and Picture Arrangement at .74.

If for some reason a subtest is spoiled, you may substitute the Object Assembly score for Matrix Reasoning, and the LNS score for Digit Span. A person's score may be affected by repeated administrations of this assessment as seen by an increase in the FSIQ, VIQ & PIQ when taken a second time within 1 year. FSIQ may raise 4-4.5 points, while VIQ may be raised by 2.5 points, and PIQ by 6.5 points.

On validity...this intellectual assessment has good content validity, construct validity is high as seen in the way that the Vocab & Block Design scores correlate highly with FSIQ, and has a high criterion validity in that the FSIQ correlates highly with other achievement tests, such as SB-IV & V, WISC III & WIAT.

So...did you learn anything?

Coming up in my next installment of studying, the various subtests, what they measure and their specificities! Aren't you excited??

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Misc. Sunday

It was a fun-filled weekend with an LA visitor, lots of site-seeing, walking the city (with the blister to prove it) and catching up with my long-time friend Sara. Plenty of pictures to come soon, but I worked tonight and have a busy next few days with classes & tests, which means it will be some time before it's all re-capped here.

In the meantime as I study for tests, I'm curious if any of my helpful readers have tried-&-true study tips they'd like to share with me. As I study I'm finding that some information stays nicely in the memory while other info, no matter how many times I read the same darn flash card, 5 minutes later it's as if I'd never heard of the answer. It can be so frustrating and I'm all out of study techniques (and patience). So what are your tips??

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An unexpected benefit of taking public trans

Relying on public transportation means being flexible and willing to leave early just in case the stated departure/arrival times don't happen to be accurate on the date & time you are using that particular bus or train. This need for early-departure/flexibility only compounds when one is taking 2+ different buses and/or trains. All this to say, if your expected travel time states it should be 50 minutes, you had better leave 90 minutes before you need to be there. Just in case. Especially if it's work or school you're headed to.

The positive of this system is that it allows you to relax a little if you arrive early. Or in the case of going to work, this means I get to stroll around University of Chicago campus in the south-side neighborhood of Hyde Park. With a good 30 minutes to spare until I had to be at work last Thursday I wandered along 59th street looking at the beautiful English Gothic buildings. I had only my trusty point-and-shoot with me, but here's a little of what I saw.