progress at work

I guess I haven't said much about my job. I work for the Commercial Business Division, and for the past 6 weeks or so, I have been working out of the Corporate (down the street) office on a special project. I am single-handedly rewriting the programming language that we use to pull the policy data out of the mainframe and validating that the data is good. Six weeks ago, I had never seen the programming language that I am using (SAS). And today, I am almost finished with the job. I guess I'm what you might call a "SAS-Master."

My position is extremely unique and I am doing very non-traditional actuarial work that causes me to have direct interaction with upper layers of management. I have made a fine impression on a lot of people and have already seen some direct benefits.
  • I am officially admitted to the Actuarial program now, which means that they are paying me to study and helping me with fees, seminars, etc. to help me pass subsequent exams (and reimbursing me for the one I just passed.)
  • The VP in Corporate Risk Management has made a deal with my boss in Commercial to transfer me into his department at the end of the year. (I think I am not supposed to know this yet - but I am elated because I basically keep doing what I am doing - walking distance from my house - for good.)
  • My promotion paperwork is in, so I get the Actuarial Assistant job title and a raise (I've been there <120>
My only regret is that big car payment I'm making on the idea that my commute would be 70 miles a day. (Hey, anyone want to take over payments on a brand new Mazda3 with less than 4,000 miles?)

I am trying to study for my second exam: Interest Theory and Financial Deriviatives. It's extremely hard to make the commitment necessary to master this stuff in 16 weeks. I made it on goal through week one. (Which is why I haven't posted anything.) My typical day involves working until 2:30. Coming home and studying until bed. Cooking and eating dinner and showering are the only short "breaks" from study I get. Weekends are: hang out with Mark until noon. Study until bedtime. (Obviously, given that I am posting this, I am a little more liberal with the breaks when I am studying for a 9 hour block.) I realized that if I put in enough effort to pass every exam on my first attempt from now on, I could be an "Associate" in three years. (That would be really exceptional - the average is 7 years - so reality probably lies somewhere in between.)



We re-upped our phone plan. I kept my same number because it's just too much of a hassle to update everything. However, Mark wanted a local area code for his, so he has a new number. If you are trying to reach him and can't, just give me a call.



I haven't really written anything in a while. Life has been a little slow.

Work is becoming routine and comfortable. The home is starting to feel lived in.

It is my greatest hope that someday I will be able to have a designated parking place. Those of you with garages or carports or assigned parking, hear me: You are living my dreams. Don't take it for granted.

I started studying for my next exam. It is 15 weeks away and I had to prepare a study schedule. I'm accountable to someone now for how much time I put in. I thought I put in a lot before, but I realize now that I was taking it easy. I have to do 400+ hours in 15 weeks. That means 20 hours outside of work per week. Hmmm.

I was supposed to do 6 hours today. I got a late start but I have a good method. I set a timer and work for an hour straight. Then, I set a timer and take 30 minutes and watch a movie or do something mindless. Rinse. Repeat. It's always hardest at first because the problems are so ridiculously complicated that when you are just learning the topic, it can be very demoralizing. But, once you can get down to solving problems within less than ten minutes without having to get help and actually get them right some of the time, it starts getting easier to sit down and do it. The hard part is the discipline to stay at it until then.

At the moment, I am trying to master a new calculator - which does things in ways I don't quite get. I press the [+] button expecting, nothing to happen until I enter the next number to add, and it treats it like an [=] and adds the last two numbers I entered, even though there was a different operator in between them. Actually, I don't know what it is doing. This is just a wild guess. All I know is that I don't know how to key it to get what I expect. I found a book on it... so I have some leisure reading.



The most exciting thing to write about is getting my latest scrapbook magazine subscription in the mail.

Well, I guess it's exciting that I started a writing project. If I stick with it, I'll fill in the details here. So far it is just a 7-page fun little sci-fi story.

And Evan told me that I've reveals the depth of my nerd to him and now he can't see me any other way. I consider that an endorsement of character.



Why is it that when a dish breaks when you are washing dishes it is always directly after you wash it...

I mean, if it broke before you washed it, you might be able to look on the bright side and say, "Terrific. That's one less dish to wash."

Instead, you have, "Crap. I just washed that darn thing. Now I have to clean it up, too." Hard to put a positive spin on that.



The OFFICIAL results are available online for my actuary exam, P/1.

If you are dying to find out whether or not I passed, go check the website for my candidate number, #27384. If you find it, I passed. If you don't, I failed.

Hey, and let me know will you? I'm too scared to look.



I came home from work and put what looked like a roast from the freezer into the crock pot.

Much to my surprise, it was leftover thanksgiving yams. That's when you know that:
  • you are so cheap that you freeze leftover yams from thanksgiving
  • pickin's are slim in the freezer
  • you need to clean out the refridgerator more often
  • you might was well go to Jack-In-The-Box



I just found a snarky read. I've been trying to find ways to cheer myself since my knee casually mentioned during cycling class yesterday that it's tired of the sport.



I have to resume study for exams in one week. Mark and I picked out fabric for the rocking chair seat, and I am designing a series of layouts that are proving to be challenges. I expect that I will have something to look forward to finishing when I pass the next test...



Nothing has been ebbing or flowing from my creative juice factory lately. But I perscribed myself an hour of looking at flickR and I'm healed.



"I just bet that if world peace breaks out someday, there'll be lots of parties around the world.

Then someone will get drunk and start a fight."

~ deep thought by some chic named Natalie


two down. 28 to go.

I did the finishing touches so that my 2005 and 2006 books are finished. Which is awesome because I can show them off now. As time goes on, my pages are looking better and better.



I was going to start a daily blog to publicize my food journal on a health challenge I am doing... but thanks to the fact that I program all day at work, I didn't feel like debugging the html issues that came up with inserting a table... so I am spared the accountability.

I am back to cycling, though and it feels great. I really don't know how I get along without it when I don't take the time.




All of the red paper is hand cut paper lace I designed and cut today....
(please take a moment to view it large to see the delicate product of 10 hours of my time today.)

We finally broke down and just bought new batteries for the cell phones, which have been broken for ages and still waiting to ship back to us. So I talked on the phone catching up with everyone I've been missing for so long... (while I cut paper)

I also watched Michael Moore's new movie, "SICKO" about our countries healthcare mess. It was extremely funny and I think it will appeal to a broader audience than he usually attracts. So, I recommend watching it even if you don't like his stuff, usually.