Sunday, 16 July 2017

Is there any energy left?

Wow - for some reason I am completely wiped out lately!  No particular reasoning behind it, that just appears to be the way of things.

I'd like to blame the quilt, or the weather, or the child, but none of these things are really to blame. I just feel washed out for no reason at all.

Waiting for the final course results is of course not helping, it's like a 'side order' of stress while hoping for the best!  And of course, it being the last module, I need to pass it in order to finish off the degree.  So I will admit to a small amount of trepidation - I don't think I have done badly enough to fail, but I will still worry till the results are here and gone.

And then I can start to book graduation numbers etc.  Eeek!!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

I love it when a plan comes together

Cue the A-Team music and start recording the montage.

Erm well...not quite.

But finally, I have begun the part of my OU journey that appears to have caused me the most trouble, or at least certainly had as many false starts as any of my modules along the way.

What gave me this much stress?   Deciding upon a plan for my graduation quilt, mentioned in a previous post.

Now, I knew only for certain that there should be frogs... As my reader will know, frogs are where the whole Object Oriented Programming world began for me.  So they hold a special place in my heart when thinking of the journey as a whole.  But how to incorporate the frogs, and what else alongside them?  How to make it significant and meaningful without being twee?  How to not make it into just a frog quilt, but something that told more of the tale?

I looked at frog panels, hmm too froggy.  I looked at frog pictures to quilt as outlines...either too childish or too complex.  Nothing was quite right.

Then, finally, after finishing up the last assignment and vegetation on the couch for (to be fair, quite....) a while, a Facebook group called Quilt As You Go! provided the answer I was looking for.  The idea behind quilt as you go is to break down the process and make smaller quilt panels then join them together to build a bigger quilt.  I'd been wanting another go at the process, so it appealed to me.
So the design is quite simple - strips of material including small amounts of froggy fabric will build up into squares, being quilted to the backing material as they go.  The modular nature of this appeals to me too, just like the OU degree it will have been built up piece by piece, and amount to an overall achievement in the end.  But each piece in itself is an achievement along the way.

So far I have 11 completed squares, the plan is to get to 16, lay things out on the bed and work out what the next part of the plan is.  I completed 17 modules to finish this degree, so a little part of me wants 17 pieces, but that's not a given or guaranteed figure yet.  I'm just enjoying being back at the machine for the first time in ages, with plans that should get me to the end of the quilt before graduation day in November.

More pics to come as I get my head round each stage of the process - and of course only 13 days until the final result(s) are due out too.  Whoopie!!

Friday, 9 June 2017

What lies beyond? A big box of mojo please?

Well, the deadlines have come and gone, the assignment was submitted and the family holiday has been had and returned from.

And to be honest the blogger in me went a little quiet there, not quite sure what to say for myself as I was shellshocked or battle-weary or some such military thing, suffice to say I was knackered after so much intense study I couldn't quite think what to say beyond 'Phew!!' or what to talk about now there wasn't a next module to plan for.

But having had a week off to recover from the holiday, I'm ready to pick up the keyboard again, if only to remind myself how to type before I return to work next week!

So - now for Life Beyond the OU Basket. (or at least as beyond as one can get while awaiting the final results...)

I have to admit to a fair amount of couch-vegetation, such is the way after most assignments to be honest, so this one was no different.

But slowly, gradually, I am beginning to realise that there is actually still a bit of me left at the end of all this.

With the help of my BFF I am planning my graduation quilt which I've talked about in previous posts, where the two biggest hobbies in my arsenal come together.  Not too much about that one just yet, as I think that deserves a post of its own, it's been so long in the thinking...

But it's so exciting to finally feel the mojo returning, to feel that desire to sew and plan and make things.  I have to admit there's been a fair amount of trepidation around it all, I'd lost a lot of confidence in my making skills, having lain dormant for quite some time on a lot of crafts (I've suffered a fair few false starts this year, where I have been poised with ideas and then failed to make them happen, then gone off the idea before I even began.

And if I can get the crafting mojo happening, that may help the Weightwatchers mojo, as I will have other things besides food to occupy my hands and thoughts!!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Big Red Button

Eek - it's done!  Having worked my butt/socks off on lots of extra daytime study sessions, the assignment is finally finished, and before my own deadlines too!

It's been safely parcelled up and set to one side, with backup copies made just in case.  Then it will wait a day or two, get passed through one last final common-sense check, and then - the button will be hit, sending it on its merry way to await marking.

It's still all a bit surreal, can't quite put together in my head that it's over - the OU study journey is finished, although there will be a most pleasant journey towards the graduation ceremony still awaiting me after the results.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Overthinking and Dreaming in Code

Oh, you can tell the assignment is getting to me now - 3 nights in a row I have been dreaming of data analysis in Python.  Very frustrating, particularly as it never solves any of the problems and just wakes me up unrefreshed.

Today however in my studies, I was the victim of my own overthinking.  Spent 2 hours or more undertaking a chunk of data mining to predict some missing data from one of the EMA datasets.  Thought that I had 36 things to predict, so hey good practice with the data mining, right?

Err - not quite!  Turns out I had 4 things to predict, which I could find on a simple Google search within 5 seconds!  So this fact has also been written in to the final report as a warning to would-be users of data mining.

I have a couple more major tasks to do (statistical testing and possibly some data mining if I can bring myself to return to it yet again), and then a lot of pulling together and tidying up the final report and folder structure.

But feeling more positive now (thanks to some sacrificed time-off and weekend daytime study) that I will be finished in time for my own deadlines. (no choice about the module deadline as I will be on holiday by then and unable to submit it late).

And then - what next?  For me?  For my mojo?  For the blog?  It's always been about the OU journey from start to 'wherever' - now I am within a couple of weeks of 'wherever'.  Of course there's still that last walk down the aisle to Graduation too....roll on November ( - but not too quickly,  I want to enjoy that hard-earned time off...!)

It's still really odd not to have the next module waiting to be signed up for.  And unfortunately the OU courses are now out of my price range to do as a 'fun thing', so unless I decided to go down the Masters route (nah.... I'm done.....) then I will be 'done'.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Louder and Louder

... the ticking of that clock.  Ever and on.

Sat down today to put a proper start on some of the 'words' of my final EMA report, given that a lot of the choices I need to document are those I've already made by now.  If I can pull the majority of the background stuff together, then it should be a case of simply (hah!) slotting in the official findings of the analysis I've still got to do.

I have to admit, having a third or so of the words together is helping a little with the inner panic.  The fact that I shouldn't then have the whole 3000 words to write after I finish the analysis might help me to focus on the analysis in a more logical fashion.  My head's been fluttering about like some mad butterfly, one minute on one part of the analysis, then to another part entirely, never quite settling on any one flower.

I get the feeling I'm never going to feel entirely satisfied with the resulting report, as word counts have a tendency to do that to me anyway - I like to tell the whole tale and once I am restricted by a word count, that's not possible.  But hey, the way I have been feeling lately, I'll settle for having a logical and coherent report that answers the questions I need it to.

Apologies for such a fluttery flappy blog post, but I think that just completely describes my state of mind in these final few weeks of my OU studies.

Onwards toward the unknown!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Tick tock ...

Oh dear that countdown clock is ticking faster than I would prefer now.  On the one hand - yippee, the countdown heads towards freedom, from the world of study and deadlines and assignments etc.  On the other hand - it reminds me just how little time is left to complete the final EMA.  I remember being very happy that my final module had an EMA instead of a final exam.  Right now I think I would have preferred the short sharp shock of the exam.

Suffice to say, this final module has not exactly filled me with joy and delight.  There have been some satisfying moments along the way, but the very structure of the course has been difficult to balance with life.  Particularly a life which now has my working days being filled with learning.

The final assignment requires some data analysis, some use of data mining techniques and a formal report.  The data sets are based around the EU referendum, which I have to admit I was sick of the first time round.  And now I get to pull it all apart and try to make something interesting out of it.  Now anyone who knows me knows how little interest I have in politics, so they couldn't really have picked a worse subject to keep me interested.

Slowly but surely I am starting (I hope) to get a grasp on what I need to do.  But I will be very glad when the clock stops ticking and my OU study journey finally comes to a close.

And then - only one final part of the journey to take - the march of the graduand.  So excited to finally get to wear that gown and celebrate all the hard work!

Is there any energy left?

Wow - for some reason I am completely wiped out lately!  No particular reasoning behind it, that just appears to be the way of things. I&#...