Saturday, December 27, 2008


Matt and I "took over" Christmas this year, meaning we took charge of the cooking. I still feel like Mum did a lot of the wrangling of where to put tables/chairs, and where the good china was hiding, etc etc, and I KNOW she and her sister did the majority of cleaning dishes and squaring things away after the festivities. All involved feel it was the easiest Christmas ever (even us), I suppose this means we were long overdue for a division of labor.

Hooray. Christmas was such a big warm busy party, 27 people, all over 18. The sweater we got my Granny fitted her just right. The drive back to San Diego went without a hitch, and Matt and I are relaxing with the cats, watching movies and drinking beer left over from the party.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

But, ouch

Finals are done, I think I made it, I'll know for sure at Hogmanay when marks are posted online. I have been fighting off a migraine for the past two weeks. Every day I either wake up with an ok head, and end the day with a nauseous splitting headache, or wake up nauseous and headache-y and slowly get better over the course of the day. I have been to the chiropractor three times this week, and the general consensus is that my neck is messed up.

I have found my limit: taking 9 units of graduate study (full time being 12), but two of the classes had disproportionately large workloads, and attempting to work full time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

...and exhale

Both biopsies came back as normal - just moles, no further action required. My first exam is done, I think it went well enough, the big two are tomorrow: Biostatistics and infectious Disease.

Last week I got to put into action a plan I'd wanted to carry out for a while: I signed our lab up for an "adopt a family" program through a local youth charity. We got a note with the family size (three - single mother and two sons), the shoe and clothing sizes, their regular grocery store, and any special requests. This family requested home items and toiletries, and the notes said the 7 year old boy is creative, and likes making things, but gave no information about the 12 year old. I was able to phone and find out he's interested in sports. My lab was very generous, one PhD student even bought a hockey stick and a packet of balls for street hockey. In total we collected $335, plus the hockey kit, and I spent it on bulk-size toiletries from Costco, new towels, a pretty fleece blanket, a nice floral mug for the mom, shoes for the kids, a Lego kit for the younger boy, a pair of sketch books and a set of paints/pencils/brushes in a shiny blue case. Matt and I threw in a sports almanac, books on how to draw, and a blue purse I got for sale and have used all of once, I filled the purse with a toiletries gift set - a small luxury for the mom.

Of course, this coinciding with finals has not been the best timing, a classmate of mine came over so review survival analysis last night, and then we had dinner and she helped us wrap the gifts. It felt really nice to have this big pile of presents build under our tree, and picture these kids we don't know opening their presents. I feel a little like Santa. Loading the gifts into the car this morning in a hurry so Matt could take off to work certainly made me respect all those hard working elves loading up the sleigh.

I am more than ready for my finals to be done, work to be over for the year, and my family to arrive. This year Matt and I have put ourselves in charge of preparing the Christmas dinner, so the parental generation can take a well earned break. Just call me Ms Claus.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Security Hat

Urchin Front, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

I finished this hat on Thursday night, and I don't want to take it off. Friday I had my regular checkup with the Dermatologist, and he removed two more moles to biopsy, which is good, because they're off, and I don't have to keep an eye on them any more. Until the biopsy results come in it's difficult not to worry and expect the worst. Even if neither one contains melanoma, they are likely to be "abnormal" and require more tissue to be removed.

One is from my right cheek, the sticky bandage starts just below where this photo cuts off, the last straggler mole left behind after everything else got taken for biopsy when I had the cancer diagnosis. The other was on my left ring finger, right above where my wedding band lives. I had some trouble getting my wedding band off.

After the appointment, I went to work, and got really upset, mostly worrying about the possibility of the one on my finger coming back as abnormal, how do you take a half centimeter margin of skin surrounding the biopsy from a finger that's only a couple of centimeters across? Typing was difficult because of the gauze taped around my finger, then I got a mildly snippy email from a professor we share some expensive equipment with and I just started to cry. Maybe I should have gone home after I got biopsied, but if I plan to take a day off every time I have a dermatologist appointment it would get a bit ridiculous.

Fortunately I work with a really nice bunch, though it's always embarrassing to be weepy, they all know something of the ongoing saga, last year I had the impressive red marks on my face from the laser treatments every month, and this August I had stitches on my arm from another abnormal mole. I emailed my boss to say I was going for a walk before the weekly meeting, and went to find my fellow knitting nerd Fiametta to come get coffee with me. She suggested I talk the doc into taking off every mole we can find, get it over with all in one go, part of me is tempted.

So I'm sitting on the sofa in my pajamas and new orange hat, trying not to mope about my sore finger (funny that I'm barely concerned about having stitches on my face now - it's the FINGER that bugs me), and reminding myself that there is no point worrying, especially when I have finals in a week and a half. Which is when the biopsy results will come in too, I'm not sure if that's such a good thing, but the timing can't be helped. Mutant moles and cancer threat notwithstanding, life goes on.

Besides, I have my hat to protect me

Monday, December 01, 2008


Seen on K's livejournal. Interesting that Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestant scored higher than nontheist, I suspect this is cultural influence from growing up in Church of Scotland schools.

1. Secular Humanism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (96%)
3. Liberal Quakers (93%)
4. Neo-Pagan (85%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (80%)
6. Taoism (71%)
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (70%)
8. New Age (68%)
9. Nontheist (65%)
10. Mahayana Buddhism (62%)
11. Orthodox Quaker (60%)
12. Reform Judaism (53%)
13. Jainism (46%)
14. Scientology (44%)
15. Sikhism (42%)
16. New Thought (39%)
17. Baha'i Faith (38%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (32%)
19. Hinduism (32%)
20. Seventh Day Adventist (30%)
21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (28%)
22. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (20%)
23. Eastern Orthodox (16%)
24. Islam (16%)
25. Orthodox Judaism (16%)
26. Roman Catholic (16%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (14%)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Week 1, Day 1

Please ignore the two week delay in actually beginning the 100 push up challenge. I did the first intervals on the arm of the futon, as I did the initial test. But I moved to the kitchen counter because I wasn't able to get the proper depth on the futon arm. I managed 5 total at the last set. I'm going to keep going with the counter for a bit, then try moving up to a lower prop. Matt was a good cheerleader, monitoring my arm angle and saying "go go go go" when I was flagging. Besides telling me "you've always got TWO MORE in you!"

PS~My triceps feel like jelly. I'm having slight difficult lifting my glass.

PPS~It's fantastic.

Monday, November 03, 2008

America Decides

Tomorrow morning Matt and I are going to head over to our polling station early tomorrow to vote. I'm glad we're going along together, this feels like such an important election, even more important than 2004 felt (which is probably why it went the way it did - it didn't feel THAT important, so enough people just didn't bother), going together somehow acknowledges the event. I have voted every election since I moved here in 2001, a lot of them going along at the same time as Matt. The past few I've left for work early, pulled into an empty parking lot, and walked into an empty polling station to exercise my democratic rights as a citizen. Not to mention earning my "I Voted" sticker. I have been hearing stories about showing up to cast an early vote, and waiting in line for hours. I hope I don't get stuck for four whole hours, but I admit that showing up to vote and finding a line of people waiting to do the same would be somewhat reassuring.

I am fervently hoping that Wednesday morning will find us with the first African American president (by a landslide please), reinforcement of the rights of all to marry as they see fit in the state of California (No on prop 8), teenage girls still able to pursue termination without enforced parental notification (No on prop 4), and improved conditions for farm animals (Yes on prop 2). We just spent some time talking through all the initiatives on the ballot, so we have our cheat-sheets of how we intend to vote.

I wish I'd had more time this year to involve myself and be more of an activist than a couple of small donations and a lot of online petitions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My husband just mailed an acceptance letter for a new Systems Analyst job at a small local military contracting company. He had another interview in September, during the evil on-call week, but that job feel through, and he ended up hearing about this one through a former colleague. Also during an evil on-call week, which just ended on Monday. The new job involves some travel, mostly short trips, but no pager duty. No on call, and no weekend duties. This is a very nice way to head into a long weekend holiday to wine country!

Also, I can graduate 6 months sooner than I have been planning, IF I go full time 6 months sooner, and think up a thesis subject lickety split. I want to do it, it would be great to knock a whole semester off. I'd be defending this time next year, and finishing in December '09. Crikey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Challenge: Initial Test


Three measly incline push ups, using the arm of the futon as a bench. Week One, weakling column here I come.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I would do 100 push ups (just to be the one who fell down at your door)

I've been thinking about doing the 100 push up challenge a la Dietgirl, but I'm pretty sure that right now I can't even achieve one good form push up. Since I've been thinking about it, and my lack of ability, I've realized that the inability to perform even one is the perfect reason to make this a project. Push ups and squats are excellent simple indicators of basic fitness and right now I am earning a big fat FAIL at basic fitness. At least I used to be pretty good a squats, even though I never managed decent push ups.

This sounds like an excuse, but I am really feeling the difference of living in a car culture metro area, in a neighborhood that is not conducive to walking (neither by it's infrastructure nor it's climate). I'm grateful to the experience of going back to university for showing me how little I now walk and climb hills/stairs as part of my normal life. For the first month or so of this semester I was parking in the same structure as everyone else with classes on my side of campus, this involved at least fifteen minutes of trawling for a parking spot, following people as they walk to their car, playing chicken at intersections because whoever gets ahead of you MIGHT STEAL A SPOT FROM YOU...until I noticed that I was chronically late for class and getting mileage from my car that would be more appropriate for a small truck. Now I park in an unpopular lot close to the freeway and down a hill and a staircase from the campus. My thighs complain on the ascent, and it's less than half of The Mound in Edinburgh, which I used to trample up and down with no trouble.

So...I've been thinking that it would not be a bad idea to take the 100 push ups challenge, starting with bench push ups and working up (or down, really) to the floor version, and taking the same simple scale-up type approach to simple unloaded squats.

Feeling weak and achy sucks. I want to feel strong. I want to be stronger. It's about time I did something about it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sneaky Knittings

A perk of working in a lab (and being in charge of ordering surgical gloves) is that I know, when plotting to make fingerless gloves for my lab mates, that S. has slim hands, but fairly long fingers, and V. has hands pretty close to my size. It's nice not to have to rely on guesswork when putting in the time to hand knit something. All I have to worry about is picking colours (royal blue for S. and pinky red for V.)

We all spend a lot of time in an overly air-conditioned computer lab, looking at highly magnified photographs of nerve fibers, and using software to analyze those nerve fibers in excruciating detail. Last winter we all had very cold stiff hands. I can't make myself a pair of fingerless gloves to wear while my compadres suffer with stiff chilly hands.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mouse 'flu* sweeps through laboratory

Over half the lab is down for the count. I'm in, but functioning on low brain power - only slow and steady computer analysis for me today, no sectioning or anything else involving sharp things.

*no such thing, but we work with rodents and I just had a class on avian 'flu.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

For Isabelle

In explanation of my previous anecdote.

Monty Python's Holy Grail, the bridge scene.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Did somebody hide a rotten banana under my sofa?

I am plagued by fruit flies. Every day I'm finding one drowned in whatever I'm drinking. Matt and I have gone around the kitchen double-checking to make sure there's no bits of fruit half dessicated and hiding behind the coffee jar or toaster, no culprits.

I have my first quiz of the semester tomorrow, and am beginning to think about thinking about midterm exams. But not actually thinking about them. Yet.

One of the new crop of medical students is a Monty Python fan. A blackboard in our hallway had "Questions 23a-28b" written on it, and one day I noticed someone had added near the bottom:

"29a - what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"

So of course I added "African or European?". A few days later I was gratified to see "I don't know! Aaaaaaaaaargh!" had appeared underneath.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Frog Cabin

I am making a "Log Cabin" style baby blanket for a friend, and this weekend got around to taking and posting photographs of some finished objects and works in progress to Ravelry. Something immediately jumped out at me...

Next to everything else I’ve done it looks like it's being made by nine-year-old me, not 28-year-old me. The colour combinations are just NOT working, and it’s generally lumpy looking. I’m unraveling it and changing to a crochet patchwork of log cabin squares, half “warm” half “cool”, all tied together with the cream, which should be a much better way to combine these colours.

Ravelry has saved me from handing over a dodgy baby blanket! Hooray!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Of course not

I failed to mention that the skirting boards are not done, nor have the book cases all been returned to their homes and repopulated with books, nor the clean laundry from last week put away (I am dressing from the back of the sofa to reduce the amount left to stow properly). Situation Normal in other words. It is difficult to maintain the pre-flooring momentum of frantic painting and furniture removal now that we have no deadline other than the imminent breakdown our collective sanity. Especially since this week Matt has been on pager duty, being paged once or twice a night as we sleep, he has to get up and work for an hour or more when that happens, I just go back to sleep, but it's still wiping me out. He's also got some potentially exciting stuff going on, but won't know for a week or more, and I'd really like to know NOW thank you very much, so that I can plot and plan and stop being in suspense!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


It is a strange feeling to have the entire flat painted to our liking. We've lived here for four years. Maybe it would have been better to just paint the whole place a neutral shade of a good quality paint before we moved in, so we didn't have to deal with the grotty white dirt-magnet paint they left us with (which, I suspect, was actually primer, not paint). It's even stranger to have the much-anticipated porcelain floor. I have not had a tiled home before, I've lived with wood laminate and sanded floorboards but not the hard, cool, smooth-but-textured feel beneath my feet that we have now. It makes errant cat litter granules much more noticeable, but also makes cleaning a matter of a momentary whisk with a broom. The weather is still hot and humid, so the tile feels pleasantly cold, in the winter we will probably put a big rug down in the living room.

Being back in classes feels a bit strange too. Familiar, now it's my second semester, but I am relearning things like having uni-related work to do on weekends, and having to plan my work days carefully on the days I have class to get the essentials done before I zoom off.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School/Final Countdown

Last month of Summer before Fall session starts up.
Last week of Summer internship.
Last two days of ugly cheap carpet.

Classes start Sept 2nd: Infectious Disease, Multivariate Statistics and Health Behaviour. I get to have a couple of weeks one week of "only work", rather than work plus something Master's related. I would like to get a lot of knitting and movie watching done, but I may end up doing more home improvement and sleeping than knitting, which is how it's been going recently.

Tomorrow I've got my last morning of interning at the Violence Prevention Program, then I'm taking off work to come home and move all the furniture from the front of the flat into the back of the flat so that the contractor can rip out the carpet and put in tile. This will take nearly three days, then we'll install new skirting boards and I'll finish painting. I've tried to get all the painting done before the floor, but I've run out of time. Matt has been doing classes all Summer, so I've been painting bits of the living room while he sits in a corner doing his coursework, admiring my handiwork and bouncing ideas off me. I've managed to paint the front wall "pepper spice" (milk chocolate brown), and the rest of the living room "classic taupe", the dining area has one coat of paint on it, and I think I might manage to get the second coat on tonight: one wall taupe, the other wall turquoisy sky blue. The final cobalt blue colourwash on top will have to be done afterwards, with great care and lots of drop cloths to protect the pretty new cream tile.

This Summer has gone so fast, I'm looking forward to starting classes again (though the $350 pile of books stung more than a little), I don't know if life ever really stops accelerating, but it's feeling like a fairly productive hectic pace right now. It's also very exciting to have our first big project done: painting over the crummy absorbent flat white paint in the whole flat, and replacing the poor quality carpet with something more attractive and durable. Of course, we're already talking about changing the colour in the back bedroom , and framing the windows with molding, and...

I have told Matt that after the floor and paint are done I need a month or two with no projects in them, else I will run screaming from the place the next time I hear "so...shall we tackle xyz this weekend?".

Friday, August 15, 2008

Paging Bob

Hey, I know you read this periodically, Verizon is telling me your phone number has changed! Call me! Email me! Come to the BBQ at our place tomorrow!

Unless, of course, you changed your number because all the phone tag we've been playing isn't fun any more and/or you're running off to Alaska to start a new life in the land of the midnight sun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


pink, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

This is VERY BRIGHT PINK. It also glows under black light, I went into the cell culture room at work to check it under the UV lights in there.

My fingers are still stained pinkish, I think it'll continue to be the case unless I shampoo my hair with gloves on. I need to get some better photos this weekend, showing the bright bright underbelly (well, back of my head) and all the highlights.

Yay. Pink streaks!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Punk transformation 60% complete...

Processing..., originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

Probably not going to prevent any alien mind probes, in fact, I'm tempted to see if I can pick up short wave radio.

Under the foil is "Atomic Pink" dye, on hair that has already been bleached with peroxide. I forgot that Tali LOVES to play with tinfoil, he is sitting beside me, gazing with feisty avarice at my crinkly crunchy adornments. I already had to dissuade him from climbing on my shoulder to investigate further.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I wonder if they also do a new-cu-lar blue?

On and off, I've been thinking about having pink streaks in my hair, I had bright fuchsia chunks when I was at university (gulp, eight years ago), and periodically I miss them. Last year, for my birthday, I got deep burgundy/auburn chunks, which mostly showed at the back, and I was briefly satisfied. I have also been thinking that if I'm going to do it, I should perhaps do it NOW, as a graduate student, rather than later, as a Public Health Professional. Yesterday I said to myself "just call Red and have her help you put the damn pink in already". I didn't call yet.

This morning I got a mass text message from her saying she got sent Atomic Pink dye by mistake instead of her customary Nuclear Red, and who wants pink hair...?

I do! Sorry Mum!

(though I have emailed the office I am interning at to see if it would be a problem for me to show up with pink highlights, I'm not THAT dedicated to my inner punk)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I missed you too, now let me SLEEP

Tali spent the first night we were back trampling up and down my body, pausing to paw at my face if I stopped petting him for more than a few seconds, then last night he was alternating between us, snuzzling Matt's nose, and head butting my face, purring and chirping all the time. Very cute, but I feel a bit jet lagged today, cat lagged - coming back to the left coast the time difference usually makes it easier to get up early for a week or so. Marble has been a little less pushy in showing her affection, she slept on me all night, and is more keen than usual to sit on my lap, but has been leaving the sleep deprivation treatment up to her diva of a brother.

It's good to be home, it was a great holiday, but it was turning into a money pit, I got a speeding ticket, Matt's phone died after riding a very wet (very fun!) water ride twice in a row in his pocket, then on the last evening in Williamsport, a bottle of beer tipped over right onto (and into) Matt's laptop keyboard and wireless card port. The computer still smells a bit of Yuengling's finest Lager, but appears to be working. The phone technically works, but the display is kaput, making it a little difficult to search contacts and whatnot.

Pennsylvania is such a beautiful state, I'll be posting photos once we get our acts together and download them. Rolling green farmland and forested hills, creeks (the size of rivers) and rivers (very big rivers), fireflies blinking in the twilight, houses made of brick, wood and fieldstone, and red painted barns.

Friday, July 04, 2008

One More

Shamokin Dam (pronounced shMOKE-in, like Jim Carrey)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Off for a jaunt

Around Pennsylvania, at the very least taking in Gettysburg & Valley Forge, the highlights of Philadelphia (Liberty Bell, Congressional Hall), and some Amish goodies in Lancaster County. Place names in PA are a funny mixture of highly familiar (Carlisle, Lancaster, York), Native American (Loyalsock, Susquehanna), and slightly comical Germanic (Mifflinberg). I'm sure my in-laws will get a kick out of me reading Maisie books to my niece and nephew in an Edinburgh accent, I hope it's enough offset my sophomoric giggling at every other town name, and insistence on taking photographs of road signs that tickle my fancy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yellow Fluorescence Becomes Her

MyPicture.jpg, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

I'm wearing makeup today because Wednesday was our third wedding anniversary, and after work today we're going to go out for sushi and a movie to celebrate.

This is the first time in two years that I have put makeup on for fun, because I felt like eyeshadow and sparkly eyeliner, without the foremost though being "I could use some concealer on that scar, I don't want to look like madame knife-fight for this event". After the surgery I made a conscious decision not to begin wearing makeup everyday, because it felt like camouflage, it felt like trying to sanitize myself so as not to unsettle people with the marks of The Big C. I was never a daily makeup wearer, why change?

I did change though, I still put on makeup for events or parties, but my focus shifted from having fun playing up my baby blues to painting out the flaws in the hopes of passing for undamaged. Melodramatic language yes, but it's how I felt. The scar is still the first thing I see almost every time I look in a mirror. Not every time though, I'm making progress, I'm beginning to catch myself glancing in a mirror, patting down a stray hair, or smoothing my eyebrows, and going about my business without even scanning my cheek.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not in Kansas any more

Gunshots! Across the street! Two of them! Matt was by the window and heard the ka-chunk of the next round chambering (ex-military, grew up in hunting country, knows gun noises), he leapt up, got out of view of the window, and called 911. We are waiting for police to show up, they'll want to interview him, since he called them.

Oh, apparently our street is cordoned off, and swarming with police. This is reassuring: immediate police presence in response to gunfire.

I'm a little stunned, I'm thinking of the other times we've heard a loud *crack* sound from that apartment complex and discounted it as illegal firecrackers, rather than illegal weapons.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Planes, trains and automobiles, though not in that order

My Mum flew into LA last week, visiting for Granny's birthday. I took Friday off work and drove to LAX straight after work on Thursday. After 3 hours of driving directly into the low evening sun my seared eyeballs and I rolled up at the airport at 8.01, a minute before her plane was scheduled to land. I called Matt, so he could check the flight status online for me. It read "diverted". Visions of having to drive to Arizona (or Idaho, or Canada...) to rescue my mother from a night in a motel quickly developed into wondering if "diverted" meant "hijacked". I swiftly parked and went to find an airline employee before my imagination completely took over.

Blah blah storm in Midwest delayed incoming plane blah blah takeoff 4 hours late blah blah low on fuel (umm...low on fuel?) blah blah stopping in Phoenix to gas up...will land at half past midnight. Maybe. The good part being that she was still going to be landing at the right airport, and I didn't have to hang about for half-hourly updates; the bad part being 4-5 hour delay, landing after midnight, followed by a 3 hour drive back to San Diego. I decided to go see a movie, just to kill the time, because 4-5 hours of knitting and reading a magazine in horrible airport air and fluorescent light would have left me in bad shape for the drive back. Finding a cinema involved using Matt, and Matt's laptop (back at home) as a makeshift GPS, where I drove up Sepulveda Blvd, calling out the cross streets and he tried to find me on Google Maps, then find a cinema we could be reasonably certain was a mainstream one, not a sketchy adult movie house. I ended up at the Pacific Theater in Culver City, in a very charming little entertainment zone with stylish people dining al fresco, a few shops selling very designed looking furniture, and a fountain outside the cinema. I was very glad that my jaunt didn't take me to a bad neighborhood, as I left the movie at midnight to go back to LAX.

Mum landed, tired but fairly chipper, and had no checked luggage, so we could go straight out to the car and get on the road. Some ibuprofen helped me make the drive back without a splitting headache at the end of it, and we got home at 3.30am. Ugh. The next morning we were all up at about 7, as Matt was working that day, and we had hair appointments. The weekend got much better from then. Ending with putting Mum on a train for LA, where she is now visiting with her sister.

I saw (most of) Iron Man by the way, did not expect to enjoy it, but it was really good.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Meme: 63 random questions

Copied from K.

1. The phone rings; who do you want it to be? Somebody with good news, I always feel guilty when my phone rings, I'm convinced it's going to be someone reminding me of a commitment I have missed.
2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Now' I'm in California, I return my cart, though usually I'm cart-less and using my own eco-warrior basket. In the UK I happily returned my trolley to the correct place.
3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I'm either very much one or the other, depending on who I'm talking to. I either end up telling my life story, or having a life story told to me.
4. Do you take compliments well? Not really, I'm trying to learn to believe them.
5. Do you play Sudoku? I keep intending to try.
6. If abandoned alone in the wildernedd, would you survive? If I had Matt with me, I think so, if I didn't...maybe, through thinking of what Matt would tell me to do. If I had a knife. I should start hiking with knife, maybe also GPS.
7. Do you like to ride horses? Yes, but I have very bad luck with them, I'm a complete beginner and I seem to get stuck with the wild one or the sleepy one, I broke my arm pony-trekking because the instructors didn't check that the girth was tight enough. I want to learn to ride properly some day.
8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Primary Seven camp, pretty similar to the US sixth grade camp experiences from what I've heard. I hated a lot of it, the gully scramble was exciting at first, but utterly miserable by the end, and some girls from another school decided to make me that week's Xtreme Bullying target for the week.
9. What was your favorite game as a kid? Dress-up, and solo make-believe in my garden.
10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it? Hah! Nope. I find it pretty ridiculous that this is seen as a major moral conundrum. Spoken-for = not and option, therefore NOT SEXY. Sexiness depends a great deal on availability.
11. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Probably, if they were ok with me keeping my different opinions.
12. Do any songs make you cry? Yes, and films.
13. Are you continuing your education? As we speak. (type)
14. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Aim, squeeze trigger. Some guns I know how to check the safety, I once knew how to dismantle a military rifle (RAF Royal Officers Training Core), and I'm a good shot. I strenuously object to personal firearms, but am married to a man who aims to own a muzzle-loader (does that count as differing religion?).
15. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? Husband, cats, photographs/negatives, box of "important documents", then I'd dither about my wedding dress and probably settle by grabbing my jewelry box and the William Morris tapestry I spent five months completing. Matt would have the same order, only add in guitars & kilts and delete wedding dress. I've had a chance to think about these things, with the wild fires etc.
16. How often do you read books? Most days, unless I'm working on back issues of New Scientist. Funny story: a chap once followed me into a book shop on Oxford Street to chat me up, his line was " read a lot of books?". I took this as evidence that he did not read many books. He followed up with a comment on my being "built". I took this as further evidence that he was not a literary type.
17. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Yes. I think a lot.
18. What is your favorite children's book? White Rabbit's Wedding, and the Quangle Wangle Quee.
19. What color are your eyes? Bluegreygreen or greybluegreen.
20. How tall are you? 5'8"
21. Where is your dream house located? Impossible fantasy: somewhere walking distance from my entire family (variously located in SoCal, Pennsylvania, Edinburgh, Berlin, Barcelona, Aix en Provence & Sydney) with an ocean view and a nearby forest.
Potentially possible wishlist: Something historic in the Dean Village or Duddingston, Edinburgh, something colonial with big ancient trees in Pennsylvania, something Mission Style with a garden and a view, on the Westernish slopes of Mt Helix, near San Diego.
22. Do you have a secret fetish? It's a secret.
23. Have you tried sushi? Yes, but the best kind is tempura-fried, which makes it not exactly sushi.
24. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? Yes, they're fun, but unflattering.
25. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? Haven't been, I like my Italian food less chainy.
26. When was the last time you were at Church? Um. My sister-in-law's wedding in 2003.
27. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? Cafe & Farmer's market in La Mesa, 4 miles. It's Sunday, work is 22 miles away.
28. What was your favorite job? This one.
29. Do you like mustard? I have yet to meet a mustard I do not like.
30. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? What's on the menu?
31. Do you look like your mom or dad? Both. Looking more and more like my Mum.
32. How long does it take you in the shower. 10-15 minutes.
33. Can you do splits? Nope. I can touch my toes though.
34. What movie do you want to see right now? Prince Indiana Caspian Jones of the Crystal Skull
35. If you could fast forward your life, would you? No! I might be tempted if I were offered a selective rewind.
36. What did you do for New Year's? Fell asleep in my hallway. The carpet is quite comfortable there.
37. Do you think The Grudge was scary? Some disturbing images, which is why I left Matt to watch it and went to read in the bedroom. I couldn't be bothered being freaked out.
38. Could you relate to a character in Mean Girls? No.
39. Do you own a camera phone? Yes, but I haven't tried to figure out how to get the photos/videos onto my computer.
40. Do you have an "ex box" with pics and letters from past lovers? No, that would be a little strange.
41. Was your mom a cheerleader? Californian, yes, blond, yes, cheerleader, no.
42. What's the last letter of your middle name? e, e, and d
43. Do you like your middle name? Yes, all of 'em.
44. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 6-8, with occasional catch-up epic 10-12 nights.
45. Do you like care bears? Meh.
46. What do you buy at the movies? Unsweetened iced tea, or nothing.
47. Do you know how to play poker? No.
48. Do you wear your seat belt? I can't imagine a reason NOT to.
49. What do you wear to sleep? Knit bottoms and a tank top, with optional long sleeved over top if it's chilly.
50. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? Since I've lived here there have been two enormous wildfires and several minor earthquakes. We've got a world famous zoo and a lot of films have been shot hereabouts. My original hometown is much older, and a capital city with castle, so lots of big political and battley things happened there, not to mention real-life grave-robbers, highwaymen, the inspiration for the characters Sherlock Holmes AND Dr Jekyll, and the invention of a little thing called Disinfectant.
51. How many meals do you eat a day? Three.
52. Is your tongue pierced? No.
53. Do you like funny or serious people better? Both, but it's better when people have both traits.
54. Ever been to L.A.? Several times, going there in two weeks. I have family there.
55. Did you eat a cookie today? No. I had chocolate-covered cheesecake on Friday, that's quite enough for a few days.
56. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? I still buy CDs. I like owning the cover art.
57. Do you hate chocolate? Hah! I hate when it runs out...
58. What do you and your parents fight about the most? Not much now, when I was younger it pretty much always boiled down to a battle of wills.
59. Are you a gullible person? Not for facts, but I do tend to give people's characters the benefit of the doubt. This has sometimes led to being taken advantage of emotionally.
60. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy? No. Good friends are pretty essential though.
61. If you could have any job what would it be? If I could make a living as a potter, I would, but realistically: an Epidemiologist in a position to influence communities for the good.
62. Are you easy to get along with? Usually, some undergrads have found me intimidating, but I think that's because I'm training them and don't let them get away with being intellectually lazy.
63. What is your favourite time of day? Late afternoon/evening. Or moonlight nights.

Thus ends the randomness.

Friday, May 30, 2008


At work, DPN = Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. In my head (and in knitting) DPN = Double Pointed Needles.

This leads to my reading a journal article sentence thus: "Pre-clinical studies in diabetic rodent models have shown that Double Pointed Needle is the result of a complex network of interrelated vascular, metabolic, and neurotrophic defects..."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank You Mr President

When I first heard that the government had decided to send a $600 check to every taxpayer within a certain income range to alleviate the economic situation I honestly thought that it was a satirical comment. Made up. Swiftian proposal-style. Putting the government into further debt just to give people about a month's rent is certainly not going to fix the lack of a livable minimum wage, the credit crunch, the deflating housing bubble, or the rising cost of living. The people who need help are in serious trouble, way more than $600 per adult and $300 per child. Nevertheless, $1,200 landed in our joint checking account last week. I momentarily contemplated all the lovely shiny things (or fluffy things: that's a lot of alpaca and silk) I could buy with it, then resolutely ignored my patriotic duty as an American Consumer to spend spend spend and paid down a student loan.

Of course, later this year Matt and I plan to use part of my student loan money to replace our carpet...but for the next few months thats a grand not accruing interest, and I am extremely glad that we are in a situation where the "Economic Stimulus Package" is a nice bonus, not an insulting droplet in an ocean of financial woes.

My final grades are supposed to be posted in 5 days, I'm checking at least once a day just in case they get posted early. It's very nice to be able to go home after pilates, instead of rushing off to campus. I spent 20 minutes in the sauna after my workout on Tuesday, and today I will either do the same, or stick around for the turbo-kick class. It depends on how strong I feel after pilates. I need to get some intense cardiovascular stuff going, my muscles are improving, but my jeans are still tight, and it's uncomfortable. I originally typed "I'm sick of my jeans feeling tight" but you know what? it's not the end of the world, it's just unpleasant, and I can do something about it, in fact I am doing something about it: I joined SparkPeople, and I'm calorie counting again, so far it's not driving me batty, just keeping me from fooling myself that I really can have every cookie that's offered and beer with dinner and start to loose weight.

*Edited to add* Some grades are now up, I got A's in Biostatistics and Chronic Disease, now I'm just waiting to hear about the tricky one: Health Admin. Yay!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nine Units Down (almost)

Last final today, in Health Administration, I am exhausted. I ended up calling in sick from work yesterday and today so I could rest up and fend off this sore throat/headache/migraine in time for this last exam. The biostatistics final exam was rather epic. It was straightforward enough to me, since it was open book there were not horrible formulae to memorize, and I was rather pleased with how I was able to pick the procedures without referring to the giant flowchart in the back of the textbook, but the exam started at 7pm, I'm normally a fast test-taker, and I left the room at 9.30. I was only about the third person to finish and leave. My study mate for that class called me the next day to say that many people stayed till 10.30pm! The professor evidently misjudged the length.

Tomorrow I've got a vacation day scheduled, and I will be visiting my friend Mike, who is also a massage therapist, and has a hot tub at his house. The genius man called me this morning to remind me to bring my suit so I can relax in the hot tub before he gives me a massage! Bliss!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Less stinking

I told the story to a couple of (young, female) coworkers, and they took much more exception to the response ("is that a prediction?") than to the initial statement. But they expressed concern at the whole exchange, and the general atmosphere (as reported by me) in that lab. This made me feel better: it's not just me being sensitive, and it's not just me thinking that I can't really call them on this incident.

The term "raped" is used in SoCal where I'm used to hearing "screwed" or "buggered", which, I suppose, technically have very similar meanings. I've heard people use it before, and always been very shocked, Mat even used it once when referring to to unpleasant financing terms on a car loan, but after seeing me turn green he never used it again.

I suppose the upshot of this little episode is that I have learned two things: I am hypersensitive due to my personal history, and it's worth it to tell a contemporary when I feel uncomfortable, chances are she'll agree with me, but reporting to supervisors doesn't always make a difference.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I am stinking mad

I was over in another lab picking up samples, which involved searching through three large disorganized freezers. I went through all three twice before I found everything I needed.

That's not why I'm mad.

The guy who works in that lab is a pig. I always thought he was a tolerable pig, the freezers are all named after porn stars, but he left me alone, only teased the girls who went along with his sexist jokes, and was pleasantly big-brotherly to a young woman he supervises. I'll call her X. As I was rooting through the freezers, conversation fell to fuel prices, how much we each pay to fill up our cars, and what mileage they get. X drives a German car, and gets TERRIBLE mileage, worse than any of us expected to hear from that car, we all paused to marvel at how much she must be spending on gas. Then the pig chuckles to himself and says to another guy in the room "Heh, X is getting raped". Pig #2 chuckles back and says "is that a prediction...?"

I don't know if X heard. She was on the other side of the room, and it's a noisy room. I heard.

Did I call them on it? Did I tell them to apologize to X and myself, and to imagine how they'd feel if they heard some guys joking about their sister, mother or partner being raped?

No. I bit my tongue and kept looking for my samples. I fought down a panic attack. I wanted to cry, I wanted to cry, to scream, to give him just an inkling of the level of pain caused by an offhand remark on that subject, but I could not let him see he'd actually affected me. I ran through scenarios in my head: could I complain to their boss? My boss? Would it change anything? I don't know. It's one isolated incident, it would mean creating a big stink when I don't even have to work around the pig. X does, she's exposed to misogynist girls-gone-wild crap all the time in that room, and evidently, the occasional jest about her potential violation.

These guys should be made to watch documentaries about survivors of sexual abuse. They need to realize that, with this behaviour, they are part of the machine that chews women up and spits them out all over the world. It makes me sick that for all my feminist viewpoints, when it came down to it, I bit my tongue and got on with my work. I'm honestly not sure if I'm picking my battles with this, or just chickening out on my principals.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Raising the Training Wheels

I recently graduated from biweekly to monthly counseling. After about a year, with the antidepressants working really well, and the emotional boost from successfully applying for my MPH program, I started to think that I wouldn't have much to talk about every two weeks, and it would help my schedule to scale back too. My counselor brought it up as I was preparing to start classes, and I agreed.

When I first sought counseling (well, the first time since moving to San Diego), I went only once a month, and it was useless. So much was going on in my life, and my emotions, that I'd have some crisis at the two-week point, struggle through it, and then be too distanced from it by the time I got back to see my counselor to figure out what had caused the emotional crash. My sessions would turn into "well, I was having a horrible time two weeks ago, but I'm FINE now..." So when I decided to approach counseling as a however-long-it-takes proposition, we started weekly, quickly found that was too often, and settled into a biweekly routine. My sessions would send me off in a positive frame of mind, set up well for the week, then as challenges presented themselves, my next meeting with the warm, ironic woman in the rainbow sweater was only (at worst) 10 days away, and I would picture myself telling her about what was going on, and it helped me get through without a meltdown. Often it got me through without even getting close to a meltdown.

Now the monthly cycle (not THAT monthly cycle) seems to be working, I am still getting a bit more harried at about the two-week point, my emotional stability must have a 14 day refractory period or something, but I am spotting problems in time, and while I am still able to force myself to take a look at what's really going on. I have to take a bit of time to myself to calm down and sort out the negative thoughts. I feel like the training wheels are still there, I can ( and do) wobble more but there's something there to prevent me from falling completely over, so I can stand the wobbling while I learn to balance by myself.

I am stressed out, but less depressed/anxious. I also know why I'm stressed out: I'm busy and working hard! I make more sense to myself than I did this time last year.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Job #1, Job #2

I'm in the process of lining up "fieldwork" for the summer for my Master's program. I know this conjures up images of wellington boots, butterfly nets, fishing rods, mud, and...fields, but in my case it's more likely to mean an office with a computer, a pile of reports, surveys, or case studies, and a big fat database into which I distill the important information contained in the pile. The prospect of the office having a real window is exciting, my current office is in the basement, and the lab is in the interior of the building, thus windowless.

Right now I'm hoping I end up in a County program addressing domestic violence, run by a DPH (Doctorate of Public Health) whom I have heard speak twice, as a guest lecturer on the epidemiology of violence. It won't be a lot of hours each week, probably two mornings, a little less than a full working day per week, but it will mean I start work work at about noon on those days, then head towards home about eight in the evening. This sounded crazy until I compared it to my current schedule, where I get home around nine two nights a week. On those days I head out the door in the morning carrying five bags: purse, small briefcase, gym bag, lunch bag, and second "lunch" bag, an insulated one with a cold pack in it, to preserve my evening meal until I arrive on campus after my workout.

This new schedule will have me home just before nine two nights a week, around 7 another two (after working out), and at about 5pm on Fridays, which will also be the day I carpool with my husband. Not to mention NO HOMEWORK for internships. Practically a summer vacation now I think of it.

Humans can talk themselves into anything.

Friday, April 04, 2008




Monday, March 31, 2008

Marble Approves This Flooring

FloorProject, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home improvement is good exercise.

We now have laminate floor in our bedroom. I have very sore thighs from kneeling and crouching all weekend installing it, I am impressed that I managed to clear most of the furniture out of the bedroom by myself on Friday, without putting my back out, and then put most of it back this afternoon, though I had to get Matt to handle the heaviest dresser drawers. This is the benefit of a five week habit of pilates twice a week.

The weekend had a nice finish, our good friends and neighbors L & G are clearing out their stash of crafts tools, we scored some calligraphy pens, a complete set of crochet hooks of every size, leather-tooling gadgets, and about an inch stack of Crane's writing paper. Plus, unexpected bonus hanging out with our friends for a drink and conversation while we prowled their stash like vultures.

Photos of the reflooring process to come, but considering we haven't downloaded from the camera since November...don't hold your breath. I know I'm not.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

...fellow, well met


It has hailed twice this afternoon, it came on very quickly, the first time mixed with rain, so it took us a while to realize what was making the *ping* noise on the BBQ, the second time, just dry hailstones the size of green peas or larger (almost 1cm across!). The kids in the flat across the green ran out, giggling, to experience it, then they pulled out bright yellow umbrellas with ducks faces painted on. We stood on our doormat, under the overhang of the balcony above, enjoying the novelty, and feeling the air drop temperature by the minute, until it dropped a little too much for sandals (Matt) and pajamas (me) and we retreated indoors for some spicy tea.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Conversation with a Californian Undergraduate

CalUG: Where are you from, you have an accent?
Me: Edinburgh, Scotland, and I went to university in London.
CalUG: Oh WOW, I've always wanted to travel there! I want to do a year abroad in the UK!
Me: You should, it's a great experience, my cousin did a semester in Florence, and really enjoyed it, I did a year abroad too!
CalUG: Really, where did you go?
Me: Here.
CalUG:...*blank look*
Me: *waiting for it to sink in*
CalUG: Oooooh! Here is "abroad" for you!
Me: Yup, odd isn't it?

Actually she was bright and fun to talk to, some people I've had the same conversation with never get there themselves, and don't quite get it even when I point out that I was one of the UK students being exchanged for a US student, hence "exchange student". It was such a classic moment of watching her world view expand just a little bit. I'm used to people viewing my home town as a place to visit, and to go to university, it's a major holiday and student exchange destination. I'm used to thinking of "abroad" and "foreign" as relative terms, entirely subjective, it still surprises me when I realize that to a large majority they are absolute terms. Though I suppose that absolute definition of "other" does explain a lot about what goes on in the world.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Experimental Quiche

I found a pie crust in the freezer, some sharp cheddar that had dried out a little, and blueberries that need to be eaten....and I remembered how good blueberry beer tastes with cheddar. So it's in the oven right now, I hope it comes together!

This is based on the cheese and scallion quiche in the Vegetarian Epicure:
Pre-bake the pie crust for 7 minutes at 450F, while it is cooling, saute a very small yellow onion in olive oil, add a pinch of baker's yeast, spread the cooked onion in the base of the crust, add a few ounces of sharp cheddar, cut into 1cm cubes, the contents of a 3oz punnet of blueberries, salt & pepper. Whisk six eggs and about 4fl.oz. of half-and-half (light whipping cream) with nutmeg, salt and pepper, pour it into the quiche and bake at 450F for 15min, then 350F for 15min. Finger crossing optional.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Master of all he surveys

For me?, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

Not satisfied until reclining across my work space. Lets see if he can resist attacking my pen.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Small strokes of genius

not really a leftie, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

1 - Figure out a schedule that gets me to work with minimal traffic and leaves actual time for the gym between work and evening classes on Tues and Thurs.

2 - Find an independent cafe (not s*bucks) near home with wireless internet and a decent breakfast menu. Declare new weekend ritual of coffee house study time.

3 - Tidy desk. Remove mystery objects that have been cluttering it, stuff them into a cardboard box for later sorting. Focus on reclaiming work space.

On Thursday I made it to work earlier, as planned, then got from work to the gym, and got changed with a few minutes to spare before pilates. The class made my achy back feel much better, though my lowest abdominal muscles are still wondering what hit them. I was so pleased with myself, getting to class on time after a workout, and discovering the added benefit that I was more energized than usual and felt I was paying better attention. I hope this effect also works on my Tuesday Biostats class, It is very hard to stay focused on biostatistics from 7pm till 9.30.

Yesterday we tried out a cafe in the next neighborhood over, Matt and I claimed a squishy leather couch facing the window and worked on our respective studies for several hours. It was a nice treat having a slice of quiche for breakfast, and somehow much easier to focus on work in the cafe than at home, with the cats being cute and the chores looming. The only potential fly in the ointment is that the cafe is surrounded by antique shops, boutiques, a bead shop and a knitting shop. I bought hand dyed sock yarn after four hours of biostatistics problems. This cannot become part of the weekly routine.

As this photo shows, I also cleared off the desk, so it can be used for desk-like purposes. I'm not actually a leftie, photobooth does a mirror-image thing with it's photos, that's really my right hand brandishing the trusty bic ballpoint.

All of these little changes make it easier to integrate my studies with work, and still, hopefully, keep my life running. I have yet to discover a trick to getting the laundry folded and put away the same day that it's washed and dried. Unfortunately I think the "trick" to that is rather labour intensive and involves folding my own knickers. Horror.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How I learned to stop worrying and love to plan

Four weeks in and the cracks are starting to show. My back aches, my hips hurt, my shoulder is stiff, I had a migraine on and off all week last week, I'm irritable, stressed out, and having trouble concentrating on reading, homework, anything at all. I left my gym bag at the gym this afternoon.

I have not done any real exercise since I started classes in January, then I had a week of zoning out in front of the TV instead of getting to bed on time (by 10 - not too hard to achieve), Thursday I was off work because I woke up at 6.30 with a migraine, Friday I went in to work, but took it easy and left early. This weekend my parents have been visiting with us and I have taken it easy, no homework, taking full advantage of the unexpected two week extension on the larger assignment I currently have on the go. This afternoon we all (Matt, my parents ant I) went for a swim at our gym in Mission Beach and I got thinking that I need to make myself a schedule, and schedule in a workout class, or swim time, because this graduate school and work thing is starting to kick my ass, and I need, absolutely need, to be exercising to maintain my sanity and health.

So I have futzed about with iCal and, after blocking out my classes and work hours, blocked out the Tues/Thurs pilates session at my gym as totally doable. As long as I get to bed consistently and get my ass out of bed 8 hours later. You know what? I managed to get myself into a graduate program, I think it would be a little ridiculous if getting to bed, getting OUT of bed, and making it to a pilates class I've already paid for proved too complex for my abilities.

I have my little schedule printed out now. It includes approx drive times, 8 hour work days, class times, and the pilates classes. It's just like when I was in school. "High school" I mean, my homework diary in my pocket with the weekly schedule on the back, constantly consulted to tell my where my brain needed to go next...

Next, my brain needs to go back to the living room and hang out with my family. They just started talking about Dr Strangelove, I have to join in!

Monday, February 11, 2008

like falling off a...

As I type, there is a cat chasing his tail on the other side of the laptop screen. I give it about 40 seconds before he either gives up, or falls off the coffee table.

Marble is loving the table cloth on our dining table a little too much. She got so carried away lolling about on it that she rolled right off the edge of the table. The surprised look on her face was almost as priceless as the fact that it was a few seconds after I commented to Matt that it would be funny if she bought it.

Tali tailchaser has given up and is staring at me over the screen. Time for bed.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I can't work like this

I can't work like this, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

Tali is demanding love. He is in my lap, flopped headlong across my right wrist as I try to type a discussion post for my Chronic Disease class. He didn't even twitch when I scooped him up to give the webcam a better view.

I did manage to get a decent first draft of the paper written, and research diabetes in adolescents for class tomorrow. Matt and I made a stew using the vegetables left over on a party platter from my birthday party yesterday, I even made progress on my sweater. I'm glad it's a cropped length one, I have real hopes of finishing it some day. I suspect there will be a lot of capture-the-moment photobooth shots of me on this couch, with the Holyrood Tartan blanket behind me, it's my favourite place to sit while working on my laptop, and I will be working on my laptop a lot until May. It's nice to also have Matt right next to me, working away on his laptop. There's a sort of camaraderie in sharing the work-plus-school boat.


I must stop reading blogs and work on this paper on student health services! Marble is sleeping between me and Matt on the sofa while we both do uni assignments, her occasional snores are making me want to join her in a nap!

If I get my work done soon enough I'll actually be able to do some knitting tonight. That's a good incentive, I'd like to finish my first sweater before the weather's too warm to wear it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Back on my comfy sofa with a kitty making eyes at me after a whirlwind round trip to LA.

I headed North at four on Friday, miraculously missing both rain and traffic, and was letting myself in to Granny's house in time to catch a guilty pleasure called Ghost Whisperer on TV. It was odd being there on my own, Granny is staying with my Aunt while recovering from a hip replacement, and my parents were out to dinner with some people from UCLA.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Shiny face, shiny shoes

Today I bought a new pair of maryjanes for my first day of school. I have been orientated, registered for classes, paid my tuition (ouch) and received my student loan disbursement (yay).

My parents were here for the long weekend and yesterday Mum helped me fold laundry, and cleaned the bathroom while I overhauled a bookshelf to make room for new papers and text books. On Saturday, Dad came with me when I picked up my ridiculously expensive book on Health Administration, so he got to see a bit of the campus (and I bought him a new red pen for marking) the equally-overpriced-but-cheaper-online biostats text arrived last week. There's a giant pot of veggie-heavy beef chili simmering on the stove, and I'm typing this with Tali purring in my lap, using my arm as a head rest while I watch TV.

Tomorrow will be a long day: full day of work followed by my first class from 7-9.40pm, though I don't expect it to go that late, the class I took last year only went to the full scheduled time once.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pretty different compared to last year, also really late as these things go

It is clear that this time last year I was determined to move on and get into graduate studies, since my brush with cancer delayed those plans. It's great to read the answers I wrote last January and realize that I did indeed take the GRE, and apply for a program, I even got in!

Looking back at that post also reminds me how up-in-the-air my job situation was from late 2006 until mid-2007. Coming back from Christmas break this year I felt very much that I was returning to the routine, that I knew where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing, pretty good indications that I've fully transitioned into the new lab.

1. Will you be looking for a new job? No! I like my job, and I do not want to be job-seeking while beginning a master's degree!

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. This is last year's answer, but it still applies, so it stays.

3. New house? We couldn't move if we wanted to, the market is still going backwards in our neck of the woods. Fortunately, we don't want to move, just rip out the carpet and do a bit of painting...

4. What will you do that is different in '08? I will have to have a much more organized approach to daily tasks, both at home and at work, in order to slot in the additional tasks of going to class, reading textbooks and doing homework. I think this year I will have my head down focusing on the job at hand, and spend less time thinking/fantasizing/fretting about the future.

5. New Years resolution? Maintain at least a B average in my classes, survive being a student without a negative effect on my health and/or sanity.

6. What will you not be doing in '08? Wasting time wondering if I'm good enough to get into graduate school.

7. Any trips planned? PA in the summer, maybe for the 4th of July.

8. Wedding plans? No weddings on the horizon.

9. Major thing on your calendar? Start of classes, finals, SUMMER BREAK (which may contain a pottery or belly dancing class as a reward).

10. What can't you wait for? Right now, the things I was impatient for are happening RIGHT NOW, I haven't thought of a new thing to be impatient for, I suppose I can't wait to get stuck in to my classes.

11. What would you like to see happen differently? The general election. No joke.

12. What about yourself will you be changing? The quantity of free time I have available, I think this year I will be squeezing every last drop of time out of my days.

13. What happened in 07 that you didn't think would ever happen? I went on antidepressants, and it was a really good decision. (Both seemed impossible)

14. Will you be nicer to the people you care about? I certainly plan to knit them more things.

15. Will you dress differently this year than you did in 07? Not on purpose.

16. Will you start or quit drinking? Nope. I want to change my morning coffee to tea, save coffee for the weekends and put Baileys in it!

17. Will you better your relationship with your family? My relationship with my parents gets better every year.

18. Will you do charity work? Realistically? No, I won't have the time to give. I will continue to sign petitions for causes important to me, and keep working on reducing my carbon footprint.

19. Will you go to bars? I want to go to the San Diego House of Blues sometime this year.

20. Will you be nice to people you don't know? Yes.

21. Do you expect 08 to be a good year for you? Yes. Also a very busy one.

22. How much did you change from this time last year till now? I feel a lot more stable and comfortable with my life.

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 hope to meet some new groovy people through classes too. At least good study mates.

25. Major lifestyle changes? Becoming one of those crazies who works full time and goes to university too.

26. Will you be moving? I hope not!

27. What will you make sure doesn't happen in 08 that happened in 07? In 2007 I did not see nearly enough of my husband, I want this year to be different.

28. What are your New Years Eve plans? Two weeks ago, I fell asleep on the living room floor.

29. Will you have someone to kiss at midnight? I did. My husband. But I was asleep.

30. One wish for 08? Successful navigation of the whole work-plus-university thing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I rang in 2008 by getting a solid 12 hours of sleep.

After laughing when the neighbors asked if I was going to stay up for midnight, saying "of course, it's a big Scottish tradition!" I failed to pace myself on the bevvies, had three whiskeys, and then went to sleep on the living room floor at about 10pm. I vaguely remember making the decision to nap on the floor rather than going the extra three meters to my bed, because that way Matt would see me and know I'd decided to go to sleep, rather than wondering where I'd got to. Though his first thought was probably not that I'd made a conscious choice so much as, you know, collapsed. Heh. Logic and whiskey evidently don't coexist in one brain.

I did celebrate midnight Eastern Standard time, 9pm here, which is when all the kids got to blow their noisemakers and then go to bed. Our neighbor had set up a miniature Time Square ball, a football wrapped in fairy lights, on a flagpole, and he lowered it as we all counted down. Very cute. It's good to know I can at least keep up with all the under-8 party animals.