Monday, November 29, 2010

foiled! the wonderful birth of a healthy baby boy to my advisor and his wife.  My thesis proposal talk has been postponed til Thursday, so now I have a talk on Thursday and another the next day.  Let's just say without the hour-long elliptical sessions I've been putting in every morning this week, I'm pretty sure my heart would have exploded from the pressure and stress.  Just keep swimming, it's almost December 17th...

In other news, I just found out three minutes ago in my word-a-day post about the word beaucoup.  Beaucoup, in French, sounds just like boo-coo.  I said the words outloud, and there goes another vestige of my dyslexic childhood, joining the ranks of paradigm (para-dig-um) and inventory (inn-vent-tory vs. in-ven-tory).  I've spelled it booku in my head for, oh, years.  "Booku bucks" was a favorite phrase of someone in my family, maybe dad?  Now looking back, I can't imagine that particular phrase in his vocabulary.  Come to think of it--it's the same beaucoup in "merci beaucoup!"  This inability to spell things and make phonetic connections, wow, it's really quite a talent of mine. 

But--there is sun streaming into my office today (it's been awhile, sun...stay and hang out, will you?)...and I have pumpkin-italian sausage pasta for lunch.  Then tonight, some reading, delivering muffins, and maybe even putting up the Christmas tree.  You never know...

Thursday, November 25, 2010


--family.  I wish I could be sitting down to Confirmation potatoes and turkey with them right now, but I'll be home in less than a month to celebrate my brother's graduation from college, and eat lots of Tea House, play in the snow, and watch "The Nanny" late at night with Hillary on my lap.  Sounds like the perfect break to me...

--friends, scattered across the globe.  From Chicago to Minneapolis, from St. Louis to Vienna, from China to Nova Scotia, you are all constantly in my thoughts.

--turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and Chinese dumplings for Thanksgiving!  Gotta love the potluck Thanksgiving at McCormick--truly delicious and full of surprises. 

--that this semester is coming to a close.  There, I said it.  I will discontinue whining posthaste, because no one likes whiner, least of all me.  But this semester, wow.  It needs to end.

Also---to my youngest yet now-sixteen year old brother---you're pretty cool. I'm looking forward to our Star Wars marathon: t minus 22 days!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

because it made me laugh.

I'm sitting here, at 10:49 pm, with a deadline staring me right in the face (not good, guys...not good) ---still feeling slightly ill from this past weekend, and what paper comes up but this one:

Maybe this is a sign that I need to get out more, but wow.  Hilarious. 

Okay...back to work.  See you when I'm done...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

a miserable and feverish Saturday

...made only slightly tolerable by the fact that there was legitimate progress on my thesis proposal.  Now back to the 85 tabs open on my browser, to a life clogged up by science, to bibliography entries swimming in my head.  Delightful Saturday night, to be sure. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Story of my life (thanks, PhD Comics).  After a presentation that ended up being THREE HOURS and 15 minutes last night, I feel exhausted. 

Quote from my labmate:  "well, you know, it wouldn't be worth doing if it was easy.  It's supposed to be hard."

...that doesn't really make me feel better.  But onward ho, right?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November 2010

 (a few days late)


Ok Go, you are my FAVORITE.  Will you marry me?  You made today so much better than it was.  Thank you.  (and of course, they're in Boston December 5th!?  I am seriously considering springing for tickets)

Citizen Scientists - regular people helping study fireflies, owl behavior, and ecology...very cool.

Blood Sweat and T-shirts, a look at the process of making clothing in India, from cotton to the sweatshops.

 Land Carpet from Florian

Happy fall!  (illustration by Marguerite Davis, via Sally Jane Vintage)

Going West, via Dudecraft

Things to look forward to:

--Being done with my thesis proposal!  I'll be more absent than usual in an effort to prepare my manuscript and my presentation (the practice talk is Tuesday, the paper draft is due next Friday, my actual proposal is November 29th, and I am far from ready)

--Watching North and South with one of the girls on my floor.  She found my weakness in period dramas, so we'll be watching a bit now and then when she has a break in her studying. 

--Thanksgiving and turkey!  Yum.  The housemasters hold a Thanksgiving dinner for all the students staying here over the long weekend, and there is always quite a lot of delicious food.

--I have four of thirty-nine packages sent.  But gosh darn it, more are coming, I promise! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

happy birthday, Grandpa!

My grandparents went to Hawaii for about a month every year for as long as I can remember, staying on different military bases, soaking in the sun and just plain visiting with people and enjoying the weather.  One year, when I was about nine, they took our entire family, quite the incredible gift.  And while I remember some things, memory lane has been aided by the new Hawaii 5-0 series.  Too bad smell-o-vision doesn't exist, because that's one of the most stuck memories in my mind to this day; sticking your face into a plumeria tree, and just inhaling.  I remember a few years later, probably about age 12, when Bath and Body Works became this big thing that all girls were supposed to like...and I saw the plumeria flavor and I was SO EXCITED.  Literally...I was so excited I could barely open the cap!  But when I did, I breathed deeply and was surprised by the most noxious awful fake smell.  And that's when I started avoiding Bath and Body Works.  They ruined me, at such a young age.  If you want to smell plumeria, you gotta go yourself.  And it's worth it.

And Pa?  This reminded me of you and grandma...and yes, made me cry.

from Story Corps, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Americans tell and preserve their stories.

This is something my grandfather championed, the idea of taking care of people, places, and history...the story of this country.  As a veteran and a patriot, he spoke out when an American flag went unlit at night.  As a dedicated outdoorsman, he spoke out when people decided to be rude and trash places in the community, especially campsites and parks.  And as himself, a storyteller and conversationalist, he'd be able to find some connection between himself and another person in less than five minutes, a feat I've never seen anyone replicate.

So, in honor of his 87th birthday, I gave a donation to the Trust for the National Mall in Washington, DC, recently home to the Rally to Restore Sanity.   I often wonder what my grandfather would have thought of Jon Stewart.  But I know that he would have agreed with the idea that shouting gets nothing done.  Listening, learning, helping out--those get things done.  Happy birthday, Pa!