Sunday, December 16, 2007

1.37am Sunday Morning


1.37am Sunday Morning, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

This is the face of a woman with a crick in her neck, a bad period, and spectacular bruising from laser treatments on a scar (the red line beside my nose).

This is the face of a woman who just had a lovely evening with her husband, taking the trolley to Old Town San Diego for dinner, a couple of margaritas and some shopping (we bought fossils and glass Christmas ornaments).

This is the face of a graduate student, who today received a letter of acceptance, and a notice to contact prof so-and-so about biostatistics background asap.

Holy crap I'm back in University.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pick Meeeeeeeee!


Dietgirl photo competition, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

Bored afternoon turned fun when Dietgirl's challenge inspired me to play with the photobooth on my new macbook. I hope you can read that the bottom one says "GO, DG GO!"

The individual photos are better viewed in the flickr set

Friday, November 30, 2007

Chuck Norris fears my father

In Edinburgh, in 1984 I was in the same nursery school, then the same primary school as K. We met briefly and hit it off, but were never in the same class. Then she moved schools.

In San Diego, in 2004 or 2005 I started commenting on the blog of an Edinburgher I'd noticed in comments on a few of my favourite blogs. We had a lot in common, and eventually figured out that we'd met at age 4.

This year, in Edinburgh again, I met her Mum, who also reads blogs (a rarity, my parents know I have one, and as far as I know have never visited it, it's not their thing).

So the mother of my nursery-schoolmate whom I re-met through the internet...alerts me to a news article on my father's retirement (before my father does), and the article mentions there's a Facebook group of his students, and "appreciation society". Of course I go to join it, he's my Dad after all. The first post I find on the group's home page contains a Chuck Norris joke about my dad.

The internet is a wonderful, bizarre place.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hi Ho

Back to work I go.

It has been a lovely long weekend. We didn't get the magical stone shelter in the desert campground, because the campground was booked up with reservations. We ended up in a free camping area, with no amenities beyond dunnies, but it was great because we had the whole area to ourselves, under a funky tree for shade. Just us and the desert. A coyote came to check out our campground the first night, we heard him yip-yip-yipping, and the answering call from further away, he wasn't close enough that we heard his foot falls, but he was close! There were a lot of wild bunnies around our site, and a lot of coyote scat (poop), so I think we were invading a favourite coyote hunting ground.

Wednesday night we had our tent pitched, set a fire going in our fire pit, ate hot dogs, drank beer and hung out until we'd burned half the firewood we had with us, just chatting. Thursday morning, after breakfast and espresso, we went for a little hike along the dirt road that lead to our site. When we'd drunk half the water we were carrying, we turned around and went back to the site to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Roast turkey, potatoes cooked in garlic olive oil with a bit of bacon, mixed veggies in butter and herbs, corn bread (bought, then heated over the charcoal), and pecan pie (also bought and heated over the charcoal) and wine from our favourite winery. Yum.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Matt's on holiday from work all this week (though not from his online university courses), I'm only at work today and tomorrow. It is so hard to concentrate! I want to be on my break! Camping for Thanksgiving! I've just been told that Thanksgiving weekend is the official start of desert season (get out there and hunt you some desert boy!), so our genius plan of trying to get a choice camping spot out in the Borrego desert might be a bit optimistic. I'm sort of banking on the assumption that most people will do "the dinner" at home on Thursday THEN go camping, whereas we want to go out on Wednesday and spend the turkey day in the desert with fire-warmed pumpkin pie and fire-cooked turkey. No fancy place settings and centerpieces for us. If we can't get the favoured spot I hope we can at least camp in the same campground.

The spot we want has a little stone windbreak shelter with a fireplace and picnic table inside it, no roof, but it provides shelter from the strong winds at night while sitting by the fire. Friends of ours once took a bunch of tea light candles there and set them in the crevices of the walls, so they were surrounded by candle light.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Copies of what?

The university enrollments office wants me to stop by with my A-Level certificates, since they need to see the originals and keep copies. Sure, I keep 9 year old high school exam result certificates handy at all times.

I am saved by my Mum, who was able to put her hand on the certificates inside about 5 minutes (a rare feat of finding in their house, usually once something is lost it's lost to a black hole only to reappear 15 years later when you are looking for something else entirely). Even better, the office is fine with faxed copies for now, as long as I bring by the originals for inspection once they get to me. It's beyond me why they need documentation of high school exam results, though I suppose it's something about the US equivalent "AP" classes, counting for university credit.

This morning I went on a bit of a rampage after putting up a shelf in the kitchen, I scrubbed the kitchen floor, cabinet fronts and all the doors and door frames in the flat. This may have something to do with wanting to nest before my family comes to visit for Christmas. Can't have grimy door jambs!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Slightly less active waiting

My application materials for the Master's program are now completely submitted. After applying online on October 4th, then sending in my essay on the 22nd, which was also the second day of the big fires and the beginning of a week when all the universities and some of the postal service were shut down for the duration, I found out in the last week of October that my home university had not yet sent the transcript of my BSc degree. Considering that the transcript serves as proof of possession of a bachelor's degree, and that the final application deadline was Nov 1st...I was a bit freaked out by this news. The transcript was "missing some information from the department", and the department had been contacted, but had not responded. For two weeks. There followed a few emails back and forth with the registrar's office in London (each with a one-day turnaround because of the time difference), some fingernail biting on my part, several slightly frantic calls to San Diego State to find out if they could at least LOOK at my application while waiting for the transcript to arrive, a short break to gnaw on the furniture in frustration and, finally, (after my mother offered to go to London and beat on the office doors herself) one phone call to my former department in London before it was fixed. Transcript mailed on November 1st, I am told the post mark is the important thing for the deadline, so I was under that wire by the smallest amount possible. I get the distinct impression the registrar's office never thought it important enough to phone for the missing information, just fired an email off into the ether. Once I called my department it was all fixed inside two days.

The day the transcript was mailed I found out that not all of my reference letters had arrived, but nobody could tell me which of the three was missing. The person in charge of those files was on holiday and "nobody else has access". Those tooth marks on the arm of the sofa? No, not Marble, too big, not fangy enough, those were made by an anxious female Homo sapiens sapiens wannabe graduate student. I was about to ask all three referees to re-send when I received a form letter telling me which reference was missing. I called my previous boss and she not only FedExed another copy of the reference, she faxed it and called the admissions office to tell them it was being re-sent. That type of overkill made me want to FedEx her cookies in return.

This morning my online application status page told me that my transcript arrived. Just when I was starting to think about lost-in-the-mail scenarios. The woman in charge of admissions returns next week, she of the magical one-woman access to the files. I don't know when I can reasonably expect to hear if I have been accepted or not, the session starts at the end of January next year, so it can't be that long before they send out acceptance letters...unless they like to keep things exciting and only notify students mere days before their graduate program begins. Which would fit with the way things have been going. So now I wait. At least now I am no longer waiting while expending my limited psychic powers willing strangers in offices in London to get off their arses and produce paperwork for me.

I hear massive cat battles going on in the living room, it must be dinner time for the felines. Tali has taken to chasing Marble about when he's hungry, she growls and makes a lot of noise when he does it, so it gets my attention. Little brat boy. He tried to run off with a half-knitted sock earlier this evening. He looked very cute hopping off the sofa with it in his mouth, needles and all, but I had to scold him, I don't want him thinking it's ok to nick my knitting.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Self Portrait #3 - We Can Do It!


IMG_4125
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace
I am inordinately pleased with this photo, I've always got a kick out of sharing a name with an early feminist icon, Rosie the riveter. So this year I have dressed up in a pair of Navy coveralls and a polkadot headband to become the icon!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Wind

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that comes down through the mountain passes and curls your hair and makes your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge. ~Raymond Chandler, Red Wind.

On Wednesday last it was gray and rainy, chilly, even. For San Diego. On Thursday, blasts of hot dry air from the desert had made the thermometer climb, along with the barometric pressure. The humidity level plummeted and my sinuses began to stage a revolt. I spent two days with a splitting headache.

By Sunday, everything I touched gave me a static shock, the cats kept coming up to me for love and running away when they were rewarded with an electric spark on the nose or ear. Overnight the county caught fire.

The whole city is surrounded by encroaching brush fires. I have seldom been more glad to be living in a suburban apartment surrounded by roads and a lot of concrete, rather than a canyon view house. Everyone I know is safe, we will most likely not have to evacuate, since we're not too near any wilderness areas. I am so impressed by the emergency responses, this whole thing is so huge, and yet the authorities have very good plans in place because of lessons learned in the last big fire four years ago.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tah Dah!



Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace
Still blue, but now you can see that lovely green highlight on the back of my neck. We aliens take our skin-burnishing very seriously you know.

I have finished the first draft of my application essay, now it's being circulated for comments and I can go back to my knitting. Or sew the grim reaper costume I promised to construct for a friend for Halloween.

Friday, October 12, 2007

psychedelic mac fun


psychedelic mac fun
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace
I wish macs weren't so expensive, I really want my own little ibook with it's own little photobooth, instead of surreptitiously snapping myself at work for Friday entertainment. The lab looks much more impressive in this colourized version than in the "normal" setting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sweet Susie


Fwd: Christmas Day II
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace
My grandmother is having hip replacement surgery today, probably right now as I type this in fact. This morning I called Mum for a chat, being 8 hours ahead I knew she'd already been up for 8 hours worrying and hoping for news. I'm trying not to worry too much, we'll know how it went in a couple of hours, though if my general anesthetic experience last year is anything to go by, she might not wake up until a couple of hours after the surgery is finished. The recovery is going to be a hard slog for her, but Matt's grandma had a double hip replacement 2 years ago and says she feels better now than she did for years before she fell and needed the emergency replacement. My granny's surgery is not emergency replacement after a fall, it's been planned and carefully prepared for, and she's determined to get her mobility back so she can enjoy gardening again.


UPDATE: The surgery went very smoothly, so it's so far so good.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Powderpost dust on the carpet

It has been a nest-building week. On Wednesday I finally framed a poster that has been propped up in the back room, with it's frame, only wanting for some matting material. I realized that the desired shade of red would be difficult to find in big enough sheets of paper and took a look at the fabric remnants bin, finding just the right size and colour of stuff for $2. I went right home and framed the poster, feeling very smugly creative and domestic.

This weekend we painted our bedroom two shades of blue, a very pale sky blue called "raindrop" and a medium french blue with the odd name "liberty". Liberty is almost but not quite Saltire blue.

So we have been hauling half the furniture out of the room, discovering three whole cat's-worth of fuzz under and behind the furniture, sleeping in the living room because of the fresh paint fumes and lack of curtains, buying a new bedside lamp and, finally, discovering that my blanket box had become the home of a bunch of Anobiidae. Painting is always disruptive of course, but the woodworm were an added spanner in the works. I'm very glad it wasn't moths eating the contents of the blanket box, since the box was a cheapie from IKEA I've had for five years, but it contained a couple of nice woolen blankets and an expensive William Morris tapestry it took me four months to complete. It's convenient that Matt and I were eyeing up a rather nice trunk when we shopped for a new bedside lamp, and it's exactly the same size as the wormeaten number we just threw out.

We might even have enough money set aside for home improvement that we can replace the blanket box and not have to delay the next project, which is reflooring the bedroom with red cherry laminate.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Meme - taken from K

-----------10 years ago----------
1.) How old were you?: 17
2.) Where did you go to school?: Edinburgh Academy.
3) Where did you work?: Nowhere, I was a schoolgirl.
4) Where did you live?: Edinburgh.
5.) Where did you hang out?: Café Florentin.
6.) Did you wear glasses?: Yes, just to read the blackboard.
7.) Who was your best friend?: My boyfriend.
8.) How many tattoos did you have?: None.
9.) How many piercings did you have?: Ears (one left, two right) and navel.
10) What car did you drive?: None, buses only.
11.) Had you been to a real party?: Yes.
12.) Had you had your heart broken?: Yes. Only recently though.

-----------5 years ago----------
1.) How old were you?: 22.
2.) Where did you go to school?: Nowhere.
3.) Where did you work?: UCSD Whittier Institute for Diabetes.
4.) Where did you live?: North Park, San Diego California.
5.) Where did you hang out?: Pannikin, The Field, Bookshops, Claire du Lune, Julian.
6.) Did you wear glasses?: Yes, still only for distance.
7.) Who was your best friend?: Monica, Bob & Matt
8.) Did you party like hell?: Heh, no.
9.) How many tattoos did you have?: Two.
10.) How many piercings did you have?: Same as before: 3 ear, one belly button.
11.) What car did you drive?: 10-year old Ford Escort.
12.) Had your heart broken?: At least once since the previous time.
13.) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced?: Spoken for.

-----------2 years ago----------
1.) How old were you?: 25.
2.) Where did you go to school?: Online.
3.) Where did you work?: UCSD Experimental Neuropathology Lab.
4.) Where did you live?: El Cajon, California.
5.) Where did you hang out?: Home, Borego Desert, Idyllwild, Julian, Presidio Park.
6.) Did you wear glasses?: Yup, all the time.
7.) Who was your best friend?: Matt.
8.) How many tattoos did you have?: Two, still.
9.) How many piercings did you have?: No changes, not using "extra" earring much.
10.) What car did you drive?: New (to me) Nissan Sentra.
11.) Had your heart broken?: Not since the last timeframe.
12.) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced?: Just Married.

-----------Right Now----------
1.) How old are you? 27.
2.) Where do you go to school? Nowhere...Yet.
3.) Where do you work?: UCSD Peripheral Nerve Lab.
4.) Where do you live?: El Cajon.
5.) Do you wear glasses?: Yes, same presctription, wear 'em all the time.
6.) Where do you hang out?: Home, Borego Desert, Julian, Mission Beach.
7.) Do you talk to your old friends?: Have relocated a few recently.
8.) How many piercings do you have: Still ears + navel.
9.) How many tattoos?: 2, sometimes I contemplate #3, then spending the money on yarn instead.
10.) What kind of car do you have?: Same 2002 Nissan.
11.) Has your heart been broken?: That brush with cancer was a bit rough, but it didn't break my heart.
12.) Are you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced?: Married.

The timing of the snapshots completely pass over my 3 years of university living in London/La Jolla/London respectively. There were a LOT of changes between 1997 and 2002, by which point I was very much set up on the path to where I am now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Three pixels outside the Bank Hotel


Picture 176
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace
While back in Edinburgh for a visit I managed to have a coffee with K and Shauna aka Dietgirl. It always feels a little strange sitting comfortably having a chat and realizing you met someone through the internet. Technically, only Shauna is "from the web", since K and I figured out that we went to nursery school together at age 4, but reconnected through both being readers of Shauna's.

I'm very happy to have been able to meet two such sweet and witty women in the flesh. It's a shame I live so far from them most of the time!

K and her mum, Isabelle were able to come over for an impromptu coffee that weekend, unfortunately Shauna had another mountain to conquer. My parents got a kick out of the whole scenario of the two kiddies bumping into each other online 20 years later, and even more of a kick this past Saturday when they ran into Isabelle again at a charity event. The world keeps shrinking, it's just a pity the airfare and travel times are not shrinking along with it.

All of the photos from our trip are still on the camera or the travel hard-drive, including the cow photo session. I plan to upload a lot to flickr, and post a few as blog posts, AND make a tabblo, but I have just found out that SDSU is accepting applicants to start the MPH program in January, so I have forms to fill out, references and transcripts to request, and an admission essay to write. Application deadline is Nov 1st, I also have to figure out a "retro sci-fi" halloween costume for a party.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Moo

I forgot to give K and her Mum a tour of the cow collection when they came by for coffee, so I decided to do a circuit of the house, recording the location and arrangement of the various Bovine-Themed Dairy-Product Containers. I thought it would be fun to snap a few shots and put together a Tabblo. I have taken ninety-seven photographs and I am not finished yet. I found one display cabinet with no visible cow presence, and three dedicated entirely to cows. There are brown cows and black cows and cows with no legs. Glossy black cows with gold horns, simple white cows with pretty blue flowers, Staffordshire cows with lids and bases, a tiny 50 ml disembodied head of a cow, one almost big enough to use as a teapot, and some with built-in milkmaids.

I am now upstairs, about to continue my photographic cowalog. Some day I want to make a complete album of the whole collection, as a coffee-table book.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Re-living my youth

The fireworks last night were fantastic, viewed from an encampment of picnic-munching, wine-drinking Edinburgers in Princes St Gardens. It was very gratifying seeing how impressed Matt was with the display.

Now we are going to climb Arthur's Seat. Well, Matt and my Dad are, I have a cold, and I wish the cold to go away, so I'm probably only going to climb part of Arthur's Seat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We arrived safely, after several near-incidents, but no actual delays or misfortunes, even the guitar and both our bags made it with us. We only arrived yesterday, but we've had so much fun with my cousins, including a lovely posh dinner today at a hotel near Arthur's Seat, and hanging out at home sharing Laphroig and Aussie wine (and Spanish beer, and chorizo, peanut brittle, See's Candy, chocolate cake, guacamole, fresh salsa, home-made pizza, Dutch cheese, oatcakes, croissant, and even some wild strawberries from the garden.

The garden is still wonderfully overgrown, a bit short on daisies since my Dad just moved the lawn, but I managed to squeeze a daisy-chain crown out of it nonetheless. The house is still filled with randomly placed display cabinets full of cow creamers, ranging from lovely classic Staffordshire to horrendous cartoon numbers with painted on eyelashes and pouty red lips. This is the first time that I have found myself thinking that home is smaller than I remember it, not that the house is small, but that the scale of the hallway and staircase, the width of the lawn in the garden feel like a real sized house, not the giant things of my memory based in childhood

So now I'm sitting in the living room, using my sister's laptop on the wireless connection that Matt set up with three boy-cousins (they celebrated with beers all around, the Aussie boy-cousin has his own beer-cozie that he travels with). The guitar is being passed around, we just watched the student films of one cousin, and Matt's sharing the recordings of his music with everyone. Tomorrow we'll go into town and soak up some Festival atmo, and hopefully not too much rain.

Life is good.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Brace Yourself

All packed and ready to go, the airport shuttle cab picks us up at 8.30am tomorrow, a very civilized time to be departing on such a long trip. We JUST fit all our stuff into two large duffel bags, which seem to be under the weight limit, at least according to the relatively scientific method of weighing myself, then weighing myself holding the bag. For the larger of the two bags this involved Matt handing me the bag, held vertically as though I'm hugging a fat legless teddy bear, then he had to guide my feet onto the scale, since the bag obscured my view of the floor.

I am very glad that I resisted the lure of the super-efficient silver collapsible suitcase that tempted me last month, it was greatly discounted, but still expensive, and since then we've had to service the car, and not only tow Matt's bike, but replace the blown back tire. Perfect timing for these things to happen before a trip to Europe.

The cats are a little bemused by all the packing action, I will miss them a lot while we are gone, but I know our neighbors will take good care of them, G was talking about coming down to our apartment to study, so he will have a quiet space to read, and be company for the beasties at the same time. We are very fortunate to have such good friends living in the same building as us, and another eager potential cat-sitter who lives further away and was a little disappointed that he didn't get cat-guarding duty this time. His consolation prize is getting to pick us up at the airport when we get back.

By now everyone from my Dad's extended family has arrived at the house in Edinburgh, we're the last ones to roll up. Seventeen people total. Matt, Me, my parents and sister, four Aussies, three Catalan (near Barcelona), four French and one Englishwoman 30+ year transplant to Mauritius. Matt has met the Mauritian and French contingent, but not the rest. Poor lad. I think it's going to be utterly chaotic and great fun. Especially if the wine keeps flowing. Aunt Julia and I have a deal to keep each other's glasses full.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hey!

Where did my flickr thingy go? It suddenly vanished from my side bar. Maybe this is punishment for not adding interesting new photographs for a loooong time.

I'll have to add it back again, I have some lovely photographs from my cousin's wedding yesterday.

*ETA: OK, new flickr flash badge added, and new template picked

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Matt's back tire blew out on his way home from work last night, the back tire of his motorcycle that is. He's unharmed, and the bike's fine, which is pretty amazing since he was going highway speed when it happened. He called at 1am to tell me this (he works 4pm-midnight), and he got home a little after 3. I guess there aren't that many tow trucks on the clock in the middle of the night.

I'm about to go wake him up enough to stagger out to the car so we can drive up to LA to my Granny's house. My Dad is visiting, he just climbed Mt Whitney, and next weekend my cousin's getting married. There's going to be a lot of driving to LA County before we get on the plane to Edinburgh. Three weeks in Scotland! HOORAY. Giant family reunion, then five days in Stornoway, then a week of mostly having my parents to ourselves. Plus we have tickets to be in Princes St Gardens for the annual fireworks display.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It was a tough day at work, I de-stressed by wasting an hour browsing in a discount store (I had something to return, it gave me an excuse to browse), after picking up 4 dresses, a dress shirt, two t shirts and a pair of shorts, I ended up hanging the rest on a random rack and only getting the shorts (for Matt) and the t shirt (for me). I didn't realize I'd spent an hour zig-zagging the aisles until I looked at my watch while waiting to pay and realized how spaced-out and hungry I was. My lunch salad had worn off a little before quitting time.

After I got home I had an insanely delicious egg sandwich with chianti-flavoured salami and sat down to watch Universal Soldier with a tequila lemonade at my elbow. It sucked SO MUCH that I gave up after about 45min (or less) and wandered back to the computer room to look up sock yarn for my planned Christmas presents. Yes, I said sock yarn. Searching for sock yarn to go with my selected patterns is more interesting than Jeanne Claude Van Damme's butt and a bunch of gunfire. I am all in favour of movies that are so bad they end up being good, but this one has not made the cut. Give me a good cheesy Doris Day movie any day, I can keep track of the "action" without looking up frequently from my hands, which makes it perfect to combine my movie-watching hobby with my knitting hobby.

My first pair of socks turned out to be sock-shaped and wearable, though a little small for my wide feet, so I gave them away. Now my plan is to follow up last year's basic scarves for everyone, with socks for everyone, with the addition of my Granny, who has no need for a scarf, but wears socks daily. I am realizing that growing up in a cold-ish climate has made me inordinately fond of warm fuzzy things, good jackets and pretty sweaters. Matt also comes from a cold climate, colder than Scotland in the winter, we have an impressive and seldom-worn wardrobe of jackets.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Butterball

Marble the bowling-ball-belly is on a diet. She just had a checkup and has gained another pound, almost two, and finally the vet has said "enough".We can't feed both cats the same food any more, the stuff that's great for the boy is making the girl tubby and a little unhealthy. So now when we feed them we have to stay nearby to supervise, keep them each to their own bowl, and remove any leftovers after 15min or so. Last night Tali was so excited to see a new different-smelling type of food arrive, then he was completely bemused when I kept my hand between him and the dish with the new interesting stuff, and kept redirecting him back to his boring old variety. He didn't give me any dirty looks, which was surprising, just sat and stared dejectedly at his dish, and finally ate some once I held the bowl up for him. Spoiled boy.

This morning I think he'd got the message, he made only a few attempts to get into Marble's bowl before eating his own, he was probably hungry too, which will always help with eating what's in front of you. It's a great shame that we can't find a single food that keeps them both healthy and vital, hopefully Marble will feel better pretty soon and that will make up for the hassle. She's very fun to cuddle with her squishyness, but she has to prop her shoulder against a wall to clean her side!

Please note that this photographs is from February, she's at least 10% bigger now. Also note that my index finger has completely vanished in her chest ruffle, the blue ring is on my middle finger, no pointer in sight, her fluff ate it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

GRE-AT!

Tah-dah!

Combined score 1390 (690 verbal, 700 quant)! The average score of people accepted to my Masters program of choice is 1100. HOORAY! Now I can start in my new lab without worrying about studying, all I have to do is write my personal statement and gather references and transcripts (which is still quite a lot), I might even be able to get my application in sometime in August.

Friday, July 06, 2007

unlucky/lucky

Today turned into one of those everything-going-just-a-little-wrong days, lots of tiny annoyances and inconveniences piling up, till I finally said "enough, I am going to get groceries, which will include a beer each for me and Matt, and the crapness will stop". It did too, though trying to buy gas on the way to Trader Joes was a comedy of errors in it's own right: pumps all full but one, much maneuvering to get lined up by it, only to find it's broken, then much further maneuvering to get in line for a different pump.

When I got back, the news was full of cutesy stuff that people are doing because tomorrow is 07-07-07, lots of weddings, people scheduling cesarean sections to pick their baby's birthday (um...shouldn't that be dictated by health reasons, not cuteness?)and I realized that I've scheduled to sit the GRE on The Luckiest Day Of The Decade [TM]. Sweet!

I think that my past week of cramming and mathematics practice will probably make a bigger difference than the accidental alignment of a bunch of sevens on the calendar. I've gone from getting only 15-20% of the maths right, with about 5 questions unanswered, to getting 80-plus% correct, and managing to answer them all, though with little time to spare. I am going to do more of the practice maths sections on my studying software this evening. Exam is at 8.30am, which means hopping on a trolley to the test center at about 7.30. I just hope that the real thing is quite similar to all the practice questions I've been doing!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

On Advisement

I think I must hurry up my current "big" knitting project of a shawl and start on my first sweater, in time to wear it in Scotland in August, because the weather, she is sucking this year. Of course, I can always pull out of storage the sweaters that I never get to wear in California.

This does not necessarily bode well for our plans to make our official honeymoon a week in Stornaway. We want to visit the stone circle, and the ancient seat of the Morrisons (Dun Eistein), I suspect it is going to be atmospherically windy and wet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lancastrianisms

Are almost impossible to express through text, it's all about the accent and delivery, and I'm not very adept at phonetic approximations. It helps if you know that my family lived in Lancaster (England, not Pennsylvania) from the time my sister was 6 months to 9 years old, so she had a pretty strong vernacular built up. Most of the Lancastrianisms are really little in-jokes in my family, referring to stories told by my parents about time they spent living in there. They take too much explanation to be funny. The most transferable one is when my sister had been told several times by my father to clean up her mess from some 6-year-old art project or other, and he kept noticing that she had NOT cleaned up at all. So. After the final warning had been given, it was time to check on her progress. He walked very slowly and theatrically down the hall, making his steps clearly heard to give her a chance to hear him and start to tidy up. He found: a perfectly tidy kitchen. With my sister sitting at the table. She looked up at him and said "was you stampin' about the house thinkin' I hadn't doone it?".

Whoah Dude!

Five comments! (ok, one was me responding). All posted from the vicinity of my hometown. I feel so popular!

I'd be getting homesick, but we're going to be there in two month's time. August 20th to Sept 10th we'll be in Scotland, I'm so excited, I haven't been home since 2004. The first week of our visit will also be a grand family reunion of my Dad's side of the family. The last time everyone was together was Christmas 2002 in the south of France, and Matt was left behind in San Diego for that. He's met about half of the people, the Frenchies came to our wedding, the Aussie/Catalan family and the Aussie/Aussie family didn't make it, so he will get to meet those cousins for the first time. Everyone in my Dad's family married someone from a different country, and their children continued the trend, I am the first "repeat" by marrying a Yank. This international romancing has resulted in me having French, Spanish (well, Catalan) an Australian cousins, not to mention an Aunt living in Mauritius, and one living in New Zealand. All on my Dad's side, the American side is all Californian. The best part of all of this is they are all really nice, so family get-togethers have been tremendously good fun. Everyone is very talkative, but mostly share politics and general philosophy, so the worst thing that happens is not being able to get a word in edgeways. At the Christmas bash in '02 I figured out it was much more fun to sit back a bit and observe all the other conversations rather than fretting about not being able to get my oar in. Aunt Julia and I kept each other's wine glasses refilled and basked in the glow of it all.

I just remembered that I took black and white photos of people sitting around the Christmas Eve dinner table that night, and the film is still languishing in my camera bag! I must dig it out and get it developed before we travel.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Garbage

A few weeks ago we had a massive clear-out of the accumulated paperwork in our flat. I had been putting off dealing with our rudimentary filing system for a while, I didn't realize until we got started that "a while" really meant almost a year. Important things, like new credit cards that needed to be activated, or the insurance card you're supposed to have with you in your car were carefully crammed into magazine files "to be dealt with later". You know, a year later.

There was a 10" high stack of mail on the kitchen table, all opened, with the real crap shredded or thrown out, but somehow still there was this stack that needed to be dealt with further. Both our file drawers were packed to the gills, and the fire-proof box we bought sometime in early 2006 to contain and protect our passports and mortgage documents...was still empty in the back of our closet.

We spent all day, first going through the magazine files and the stacks out in the livingroom, sorting into "trash" "shred" "keep" with a little pile for each potential file category of the things we needed to keep. We ran out of floor pretty fast. We were both sitting there surrounded by sheets of paper, finding gems like the renters insurance policy from Matt's last solo abode, back in spring 2003, which was somehow out and about in the livingroom of this, the third home we've shared together. The shred pile was the biggest, I don't know quite how high it would have been in total, since we started to shred as we went, but we emptied the shredder can three times, and we still have almost a foot-high pile left to go. I'm going to guess that it was a good two feet of paperwork full of personal information, but no longer necessary to keep hold of. We were convinced that at the end of it all we'd need to buy a little file cabinet, we started with so much, and the file drawers already full. But no, by the end of the day we had vital papers in the fireproof box, which is only one third full, everything thrown out or next to the shredder, or re-organized and back in the file drawers WITH ROOM TO SPARE. All this with no arguments or cats creating havoc by turning all the papers into a playground. We even survived the 20 minute panicked search for both my passports, which were in none of the 3 places I thought they might be in. Turns out they were filed under "Random Documents", not to be confused with "Random Stuff" or "Important Documents", all three of which were categories in the original filing (ahem) system.

Now I'm doing the same at work. Yesterday I felt incredibly naughty as I flung out samples and expired growth factors that have accumulated over the years I've worked here, some of it even predated me. There were sample boxes in the freezer that I have never needed to go into, I always thought nobody would care if I threw them out, but I was afraid to in case the next week my boss decided to start a project using those very reagents. Tossing out the old stuff felt good, it felt a bit weird to also dispose of samples I harvested just last week for a final experiment. Many hours of work go into making those samples, they are very precious (until you use them up generating data), and to throw them out seemed a little sad. They didn't get to fulfill their purpose and become data, I have all the data I'm going to extract from them already.

Today I'm clearing off my desk, and having similar experiences to when I cleared papers at home. Evidently my filing system has largely consisted of leaving things on a shelf for a year, or however long it takes for them to not be important any more, then throw them out. Simple, but not particularly efficient.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I win!

Monday marks our 2nd wedding anniversary. We have celebrated this weekend by driving up to the mountains and visiting the winery we bought our wedding wine from, and spending the day together window shopping and buying a few nice things for our house. We've been going to that winery's tasting room since we were first together, for five years (and a couple of months) now. We've been living together for 4 years since the 5th of June.

Earlier today I asked Matt if it was odd that I viewed this year's marking of five years together as much more significant that having been married for two years. This means I've been with him longer than I was in university, longer than my longest other relationship (2.5 years). We've been together longer than he was in the US Navy, THAT is significant to me. He said "yeah, 5 years is a good landmark, this is a lot more fun that being in the Navy."

I WIN! More fun than the armed services. I think I'll add that to my business card.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

fluff!

Yesterday I got to bottle-feed a 6 week old kitten who is being hand-reared by a friend. Teeny crazy fluffy grey thing with pointy tufts on her ears just like a lynx, she was rescued at one day old and the shelter passed her along to my friend for bottle feeding and much TLC. She kept ten adults completely entertained for hours just by running about, chasing a toy and batting at our hands and feet.

In other furry-things related news, I am now on the foot part of my first ever sock. After I complete it, I will either make another one as like it as I can manage (maybe minus the small hole where the heel flap meets the foot), or I will find a one-legged person to give it to. A friend of mine has taken up spinning, I have told him that if he spins the wool, I'll knit him socks out of it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Done for

The final exam of my epidemiology class was on Monday, I think it went well; though the article review assignment dragged my A- down to a B, the final might boost it back up to the land of A. Everybody did poorly in the article review. The online grades posting tells me my scores, and the averages for the class, and I'm above average on all but one assignment, though not spectacularly above average. Either way, it's DONE, I have made it through my first university class since 2001, next stop GRE review and writing the personal statement for my application.

Meanwhile, on the job front, I think I can now clarify the to-and-fro I've been hinting at for months, which will probably also help explain the DEF CON 4 stress levels over the past year. My supervisor/boss is relocating to a university in Philadelphia, where she will get her own lab space and extra money for grad students and staff members like me. I was offered a position there, but neither Matt nor I want to move this year. Oddly, Philly is on my list of potential cities to live in for the future, but I was thinking 10+ years kind of future, like after grad school, with a kid or two, wanting a house with a yard and to be close to the in-laws. So, I had to figure out what to do to keep me in cat food and hand-dyed yarn in the interim. The university I work for is pretty good about finding positions for staff members left without a lab group, but there are a lot of research groups here, and I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find one that worked on stuff that interested me, or, worse, that I'd end up stuck in a group with unpleasant interpersonal dynamics. Scientists can be a bit of a mixed bag, and NONE of us get people-management training, not even the supervisors. I lucked out, I will be working with a bunch of very bright and straightforward people, the whole group is very low on drama, as the two professors in charge of it wouldn't stand for interpersonal nonsense and ego wars. They know about my plans to pursue an MPH, and will be supportive of my taking classes, which is essential as some of the MPH classes are in the middle of the day, so creative rescheduling will be required.

My current group wraps up the very last week of June, so we're in the last few weeks of experiments, focusing on finishing up a couple of projects before my boss and the grad student head off to Philly and start setting up there. It is hectic. I'm making a lot of to-do lists so that I don't miss anything I have to do each day. It's especially hectic because I'm taking this Friday off, and the next Friday, for a group trip to Idyllwild, and then May War in Potrero, the only condition for me being able to take this time off is that I have to get 5 days work done in 4 each week so my absence doesn't set us back. Whew.

So far the antidepressants seem to be a big force for good. The first week, on a half dose, I had a pretty bad sore throat, but that went away as soon as I went up to the full dose. I have been calmer, I have so much more mental and physical energy, and no nausea or crazy appetite stuff like the other AD I was on in 2001. I have still gotten stressed out periodically, but it's just so much less than before, and it's been a stressful couple of weeks, so it would be odd if I hadn't got upset at any point. Plus, I recovered fast from each upset. I think this is going to work out that they do just what I want them to do: take the edge off and enable me to take actions that will help my mental well being naturally, actions I was struggling to even begin because I was struggling to overcome the depression and anxiety in the first place. It's harder to take good care of yourself when you really don't see the point. It's harder to concentrate at work and do a good job when you're convinced it'll all fail anyway.

Speaking of work, I think my 40 little samples of homogenized brain have now thawed, so it's time for me to start doing my thing.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

You will awake...


Hypnocat
Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
...Feeling perfectly refreshed, and remember nothing of this conversation.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Things have been up-and-down and back-and-forth a lot the past couple of weeks. Last week I had a doctor's appointment with a new general practitioner, I was going to ask about trying a different migraine med, since I stopped taking the one I had when I realized the medicine made me feel worse for the first 45 minutes after taking it (the migraine would then go away, but it wasn't worth the price of feeling stoned and unable to breathe for 45 min while the drug did it's thing). I also asked about some kind of anxiolytic. Otherwise known as anti-anxiety med. Otherwise known as antidepressant. You know: Prozac.

This does not mean that my depression/anxiety has got worse, it's more that it's not getting any better, I'm out of the falling apart crisis place, but I have spent the past year having a great week or two, where I'm well rested, getting some exercise, productive at work, not having to waste energy fighting the negativity, but all it takes is a night or two of disturbed sleep, or my period, and it knocks me into nearly month of just trying to get back on top of things. I'm not even talking getting my chores done, even on the good weeks I don't put away the laundry or hoover the rug as often as it needs. I'm talking about getting through my day without feeling hopeless and useless, without beating myself up, without having to struggle with myself over every tiny decision as though my entire future depends on what I have for breakfast or if I take route A or route B to work this morning.

What I really need is more time and less stress, a shorter commute, maybe working 75% time, maybe not taking a graduate level class, but none of those things are options. We can't afford to move, working 75% is not an option in my job, dropping the class would make me MORE depressed: I really want to move forward with graduate studies. I am thinking about taking a few days vacation for sanity time, but it's not enough. So I'm taking an antidepressant in lieu of actually relaxing and getting a holiday. How modern! I feel like such a well assimilated Californian.

More seriously, I decided to try this out again (I took an SSRI at the end of university) because there is an awful lot going on, at work and at home, and I want as much help as I can get to sail through the rest of the year without going kersplooey. Going kersplooey would include messing up the GRE and/or failing to get my application put together and submitted for the Masters program I want. Going kersplooey would also include getting those things done OK, but at the cost of frequent sick days from work just to keep my head together. It would also include dealing with grad school and work ok, but being miserable throughout and unable to enjoy time spent with my husband. Three balls: work, education, home. I do not want to drop any of them, they are all three very important. I hope that this new medication will make it a little easier to keep juggling.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Classic Taupe

I did well on my midterm: 94 out of 100, I can definitely live with that. I think it's interesting that the questions a lot of people would have treated as "gimme" points, I skipped over because I focused more on memorizing the scientific terms than the acronyms for various medical associations and sources of information. Largely because the scientific terms are more interesting, therefore easier for me to remember. I think I should get extra bonus points for choosing the harder ones in the sections where we got to pick which bits we answered. (Of course I think that, I want a good grade, I want extra credit just for being fabulous. And British, definitely extra credit for being British).

Since I was cramming for my exam, the newly laminated floor of the back room has remained unfinished around the edges, sporting little edges of plastic sheeting and blue masking tape instead of an attractive skirting board. We made up for that this weekend by not only installing skirting board, but painting the room first. Mental note: next time paint BEFORE installing lovely new floor. Though we were lucky, we only got a few tiny spatters, which clean up easily when it's latex paint on laminate. For the painting Matt and I both wore coveralls from his days in the Navy. The ones he wore most days to work on the ships. We were very cute in our matching blue jumpsuits with the name on one side of the chest, and U.S. NAVY on the other. Next time we paint we'll have to get photos of the coveralls.

The room looks lovely now, it had been kind of sad with it's uninspiring carpet and dinged up walls with furniture smudges marking up the cheap white paint that came with the place. Now it is classic taupe with red cherry floor and the skirting boards are the same laminate colour as the floor. Hopefully this will inspire us to treat it as a real room, not just the storage shed with the computers in it. Next big project we are saving up for will be the same laminate floors in our bedroom, which is bigger, but a simpler shape, so hopefully will feel easier to do.

Matt is in NorCal on a business trip from today until Friday evening. With luck he'll make it in to San Francisco for dinner at least one evening, I wish that I could have gone up with him and made a little vacation of it, I love San Francisco. It's definitely a long weekend trip I want to do with him sometime.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

SPROING!

That is the sound of Spring. It has Sprung. I now have a waltz going around in my head that I learned as part of the School For Girls choir, it's a good waltz, so it's OK. Though I always thought the bit about the violets blooming was inaccurate because there never were a lot of violets around, crocuses and daffodils and a few early flaming parrot tulips. No violets.

Living here I feel as though we go straight into summer, the bright hot sun, with a breeze that varies between a little warm and perfectly cool. I really wish my lab had windows so I could enjoy watching the weather go by.

This coming Monday I have my first exam since early 2001, which was my ill-fated finals in London. This midterm is based on an 18 page terms list with definitions of words related to epidemiology. Some of the definitions are actually contradictory to the text book, a lot of them are inelegantly worded, but I have been told "stick to the version in the list, even if the book says otherwise". I am torn: I don't know if I'm more worried about being able to learn it all by then, or about being marked down for an "incorrect" answer because I find it easier to memorize paraphrased definitions that make more sense to me.

I suppose this is the part of "school" that I find the hardest. Not the learning and understanding of new stuff, it's the flaming hoops of nonsense you have to jump through, the atrociously written homework assignment it takes longer to decipher than to actually answer, and the terms list that someone pulled out of their ass and then didn't even bother to proof read before flinging it at us. Um. Sorry. That was a little disgusting.

I know I will have to deal with more of this, and I know that if I do go through this program, THEN get into the Epi Doctoral program, and end up teaching this class, I will want to rewrite the terms list, and maybe I'll be told it's not allowed, and maybe I won't possibly have the time to, but I really wish academic success were based more on learning and intelligence than on the ability to parrot back a definition exactly as written, even if parroting their exact wording may detract from real understanding of the term or concept.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

On pain

That crazy spurt of exertion a couple of weeks ago really knocked me on my ass. Tweaky shoulder/armpit was followed by achy back and stiffness, then we installed laminate flooring in our spare room this past weekend and it just about killed me. Monday and Tuesday I was sore all over, mostly my legs and bum, but my back was tight and stiff too, walking involved a little mantra of "oh! ah! eeeee! that hurts!" going on in my head.

I cannot attempt to keep up with Matt yet. That is what I have learned. He's working out 2-3 times a week, I'm trying to get that regular, and I won't get there if I keep overdoing it and going into the minor injury-> inactivity-> painful stiffness cycle. I also need to actually study for the midterm I have in two weeks, which is on terms. That means memorization, which can only happen through study. So I am probably going to have to say no to any more 8-mile hikes in the next month, I think Matt has a hard time imagining me needing to pace myself quite so much, he's out of shape right now, but out of shape for him means pooping out after 45 miniutes, then not being particularly sore the next day. Bastard.

I have less stamina than him, AND I pay for it more the next day. I need to look up which foods help prevent muscle aches, I'm sure I read somewhere that certain fruits help muscles recover faster.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

*drumroll*

So, the new jeans, which required a hop to yank them over my bum, and a little bit of sucking in the gut to get them done up when I bought them 10 days ago, are now slightly loose.

We started on the "strict" phase of South Beach on Saturday: for two weeks no starches, no sugars (even fruit), meals are lean protein and veg, snacks are low fat cheese or small portions of nuts. We even CHEATED by sharing a bottle of wine on Saturday, and I had an oat bar thingy while studying at Starbucks on Sunday, though my drink was virtuous unsweetened black tea. We have both been bending the rules with low fat yogurt, which I suspect is only banned because some people might go overboard on it, and lots of low fat yogurt have mucho sugar in them.

I have lost 3.8lb. Matt has lost 6-9lb! (He can't remember his start weight)

This South Beach Diet thing is working pretty well.

On and off for the past few years I have been reading up on truly healthy eating habits (good fats, nutrients from whole foods rather than supplements, that kind of thing), making those small changes that add up to bigger ones, thinking up simple rules of thunb to follow. Rules like "limit starches to one meal a day", and "eat regularly throughout the day to prevent blood sugar spikes and dips". But it has always been hard to stick to ALL of them, or even remember all of them. I know all this useful nutritional science stuff, backed up by my biomed background and reading up on blood chemistry, hypoglycemia and mood swings, but I was having such a hard time putting all that knowledge into action. It never seemed to formulate into a PLAN, with reference charts and simple guidelines. I had a picture of healthy eating for life in my head, and I kept hearing things about the South Beach Diet that made it sound pretty similar to the picture in my head. Finally, when we realized that we had each gained about 20lb in the past 4-6 months, Matt and I made a pact. The Blubber Stops Here. I checked the book out of the library.

I do not have the tweaky crazy feeling I get with schemes that require everything to be counted or tallied up, I am not fighting off hunger pangs. I feel mildly odd, the sort of boredom-initiated mild urge to go obtain something chocolatey that is a real problem for me, but because I have a PLAN, and have this plan drawn up for me in a handy book, I am able to chase this idle fancying of sweets off before it turns into a full on brownie obsession.

He's been doing better with exercise than I have, but I pulled something in my shoulder last week. I go back to the cardio kick thing tomorrow.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

notes on current happenings

May or may not become fleshed out into a real post.

new trousers

7 days of exercise: cardio-kick thursday followed by hiking saturday followed by ouch followed by (brief) yoga tuesday and back to cardio-kick tonight skipping cardio-kick because of a funny muscle twinge in my armpit

it wasn't snowing there yesterday...no wonder that wind was so cold

south beach starts saturday

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Edinburgh + London + San Diego = Philadelphia/NY?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

Philadelphia
The Inland North
The Midland
Boston
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I am a flawed human being

Why is that so hard to admit?

In my tarot deck, one of the cards that speaks to me so much I almost had it done as a tattoo is the Princess of Swords. First off, a lot of decks don't have a Princess, they have King, Queen, Prince and Page (or Knight), my deck has Prince & Princess, which makes more sense to me as a set with K&Q, besides being more balanced gender-wise.

Anyway, the significance of the Princess of Swords in my deck is "control". She is kneeling upright in a field, with stormy clouds behind her, holding a sword up in front of her face, holding it by the hilt, keeping it upright with both hands, the sword seems to be creating a bright rift in the storm clouds above her, as though she is using it to gather or dispel the storm (I can never decide which). You don't see her face, just her long hair flowing out from the center line, like everything else in the image. The trees behind her are bowed sideways, their branches whipping about in the wind. Her spine and the sword make a strong line up the center, from which everything flows outwards. I feel her fighting to keep that upright line, feel the tension in her legs as she kneels, the strength in her shoulders as her arms reach to hold the pose and keep the sword upright. Active, engaged muscles, not just tightened and cramped. Everything in her body is reaching and focused towards the tip of the sword, channeling her energy into whatever spell she is casting (or force she is fighting).

For a long time I have been convinced that this card means so much to me because it is what I seek. Control over my life, emotions, surroundings, destiny. Over the past few days it has begun to dawn on me that this card means so much to me, not because it is what I need, but because it is what I need to let go of. What I am most afraid to give up. Even though I know it is an illusion.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lasagne fest

Last weekend we made lasagne, with meatballs in it, to eat for lunches all week. Today I am making a spinach/roasted red pepper veggie lasagne to christen our dining set with it's first dinner party. Unless you count eating at it with my parents the other week.

I think this is going to be a pretty soupy lasagne, lots of moist vegetables in it. If it works well I will post the recipe, which is from a Williams Sonoma "healthful eating" book.

Things (read: my moods) have been pretty up and down since the flat tire. Though the general trend is up, and less freaking out. I didn't even freak out when I calculated that we owed over a thousand dollars on our income tax for 2006.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thursday is the new Tuesday

About four years ago, a friend and I decided that Tuesday was the most evil day of the week, not Monday as so many cartoon strips on office life seem to claim. Tuesday was always the day that Things seemed to happen or go wrong. Not that we'd realize it was Tuesday and then suddenly everything sucked, more that either one or both of us would have one of Those Days, and in the middle of recounting what had made it one of Those Days, it would dawn on the sufferer that it had also, coincidentally, been a Tuesday. Tuesdays seemed to bring with them things like painfully broken fingernails, parking tickets, stubbed toes that led directly to spilling coffee on brand new light-coloured pants. Tuesdays also involved trying to chat up someone nice, then realizing immediately afterwards that there was a large piece of food lodged between your front teeth, or a blob of barbecue sauce on the end of your nose. All of the ironic stuff that happened to Alanis Morissette in that song, only with less irony and more "oh, I really didn't need THIS today..."

Yesterday felt like a Tuesday.

I woke up feeling completely unrested and headachey, I knew I had a few things to take care of at work that could not be easily passed off to someone else, so I went in and tried to get as much stuff done as possible before my brain completely shut down. At 11am I walked to my car, hoping that the 3 or so hour nap I'd be able to fit in before heading back to pick up Matt (we commuted together this week) would be enough to fix the beginnings of a migraine that were making me feel weak and nauseous. It is a sign of how discombobulated I was that when I started to pull out of my parking spot and felt the steering wheel pull, heard the odd grinding wobbly noise emanating from the front wheel of my car...I kept checking and rechecking my handbrake, making sure it was off, kept thinking "I must have parked with the wheels turned to the side, it's sorting itself out". I was convinced that I'd got a cardboard box jammed up in the wheel well somehow and it was working its way out. Fortunately I was also together enough to get out of my car and look for the source of the oddness as soon as I was clear of the space, because my front driver's side tire was completely flat. So much for a nap.

By 1pm the roadside assistance guy had the spare on (shutup, I know HOW to change a tire, but I've never done it, and the middle of a migraine is not a good time to practice a new skill that involves hoisting a car on a lever). Turns out it was good he was there with his box of tricks, because the little spare was half flat too, and needed a lot of air added. By 2pm I was home, after driving along the 52 with my hazard light flashing, keeping under 50mph and trying not to be too terrified of the idiots who zoomed up behind me and rode my ass for a while before registering the whole FLASHING HAZARD LIGHTS thing, at which point they politely overtook me while giving me the finger. By 3pm I was paying the dealership $47 for fixing the tear in my tire, caused by a small hollow metal spike of unknown origin. I blame Miramar Road.

So the whole adventure was finished just in time for me to turn around and head back along the 52 (this time at full speed) to collect Matt from work. No nap for me.

The day got better after that, I had a bath, ate homemade pizza and went to bed early after sitting on the couch for a while with a very purry Tali. Friendly cats make up for a lot of Tuesdays (and Thursdays).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Jonesing

Why Amazon, why?

Why are you having problems processing YOUR OWN visa account, thus delaying the shipping of my shiny new DSLR camera (Canon XTi) Forcing me to further upgrade the shipping to one-day, so I get it before the weekend. Don't you know the suffering of a geek awaiting a new toy?

Nuts. I'll just use American Express. I was going to cancel the amazon card anyway.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This is what I get for sharing a name with a herb

Rosemary is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, says Zick...research is currently underway to determine rosemary’s potential cancer-prevention properties.

I can't decide if this is way cool, or highly ironic. Actually, I think it's cool, maybe I should start chewing on my hair and fingernails to help prevent the return of the melanoma.

Hungry? Chew on my finger, it's rich in antioxidants.

PS, yes I said "a herb" not "an herb" there's an aitch in it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Belated year in review meme

1. Will you be looking for a new job? Weirdly, yes, possibly. I might end up not having to, and I might have one (or two) already lined up, but most likely my work situation will change this year. This is only just sinking in for me though.

2. Will you be looking for a new relationship? No. Well, I'd like to have a new and improved relationship with my body and health.

3. New house? I'm ALWAYS looking for a new house, I inherited my Mother's real estate lust. Not seriously looking though.

4. What will you do different in '07? I'm not sure, I think I have been figuring out pretty good approaches to stuff, I don't want much very different, just more continuation of the good trends, dropping off of any bad trends.

5. New Years resolution? The usual repeat of "get into regular exercise routine", and a more serious take on last year's "get into graduate school".

6. What will you not be doing in '07? Getting cancer. Having surgery and general anaesthesia (I hope).

7. Any trips planned? Scotland in August baby. I hope Virgin Atlantic sets aside some nice price deals for me.

8. Wedding plans? Might be attending two, if they happen this year, no dates are set.

9. Major thing on your calendar? Class registration deadline for this semester, FIFTH ANNIVERSARY of meeting my husband, Application deadline for MPH program. June may or may not be a big fat mess.

10. What can't you wait for? The world to change for me. (It will never happen: I have to change my perception)

11. What would you like to see happen different? Shouldn't that be differently?

12. What about yourself will you be changing? Depression. Fears of pursuing further education, fears of inadequacy in my career.

13. What happened in 06 that you didn't think would ever happen? I got melanoma, I never really thought that would happen, but I feared it would. I developed a strong wish to be able to hide my face from the world. I survived.

14. Will you be nicer to the people you care about? I hope so. Not just "nice" either, warm and loving and the bringer of cookies and sympathy.

15. Will you dress differently this year than you did in 06? Probably not. I might get different coloured sneakers.

16. Will you start or quit drinking? Caffeine, quite likely. Alcohol? No. We nave nice wines laid down.

17. Will you better your relationship with your family? I hope so.

18. Will you do charity work? I probably won't, that's a few New Year's Resolutions down the line I think.

19. Will you go to bars? Not a lot, most likely only restaurants, and maybe some pubs in Scotland.

20. Will you be nice to people you don't know? Yes. Unless they are molesting me. Subway ass grabber don't deserve politeness.

21. Do you expect 07 to be a good year for you? Yes. I'm not sure I've really had a bad year, not totally so. Even when most depressed.

22. How much did you change from this time last year till now? Immensely. Not at all.

23. Do you plan on having a child? Not this year.

24. Will you still be friends with the same people you are friends with now? Yes, I'm blessed with a gaggle of great friends.

25. Major lifestyle changes? I would like to continue making smallish changes that all add up to "major" change, I'm not intending to initiate any major changes by themselves, though by the end of the year I'll know if 2008 will see me become a grad student.

26. Will you be moving? I hope not!

27. What will you make sure doesn't happen in 07 that happened in 06? Pressing myself unrealistically fast with plans for grad school, failing to take the GRE.

28. What are your New Years Eve plans? (This is a bit late I suppose) I spent the evening with friends, alternating between my flat, and my neighbor's. Mostly we were at their place, that's where the alcohol was.

29. Will you have someone to kiss at midnight? I did. My husband. And a few other people, but they didn't get any tongue.

30. One wish for 07? Health and stability. Or does that count as two? Stability then.