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%)