Tuesday, June 26, 2007


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


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.