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


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.