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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blogging about cats to avoid major bitching about work

I give the proposal first run to my lab at 9 am tomorrow. I think I will be ok (I LOVE that you can put notes in powerpoint). It won't be polished but I think it will be coherent. Hopefully. Maybe. Unfortunately, our cats are insane. Totally crazy. Some evidence from my 'work at home' day...
Seymour has knocked EVERYTHING off the table I am working at. For no apparent reason.

He spent 10 minutes sitting in the window sill. This window is a first floor bathroom and therefore is blocked- no real window to be had.

He also knocked everything off the dresser.

He gallops around the house in front of me everywhere I go. It is like he *wants* to be stepped on.

He is currently trying to climb behind our indoor shudders to get to the window instead of going to the bright open window 20 feet away.

Turtle stares at the fish tanks for hours on end.

She meows incessantly for no reason.

I think she is the reason my chap stick is in the middle of the floor (nowhere near where Seymour might have knocked it off the table).

Taking notes is impossible as pens are her new object of obsession.

If I get comfy with a book- she attacks my hair.

I can't even let the dog out- I'd get even less work done....if that is possible.
All these annoyances and home is STILL better than the chain coffee shop/cafe where apparently all children under the age or 4 convene to scream as loud as possible about getting to sit near the window (maybe they and Seymour have more in common than I know...). Or my office- complete with not enough room for me and the guy who sits behind me to both sit comfortably at our desks at the same time and the presence of dreaded advisor 2 doors down.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Help a grad student...

A grad student is doing a pretty cool experiment about memes on blogs and how fast they are picked up and spread throught the blogosphere. Have you helped out a grad student yet today? It is almost as honorable as helping an old woman across the street.

[Short Version: Link to this post in the name of science. Ask others to do the same. Results to be announced during the "Meet the Bloggers" panel at MLA 2006.]

What is the speed of meme? People write in general (typically truimphant) terms about how swiftly a single voice can travel from one side of the internet to the other and back again, but how often does that actually happen? Of those instances, how often is it organic?

Here's what you to do:
1) Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)

2) Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I'm one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.)

3)Ping Techorati.


Friday, November 24, 2006


The heel of the sock remains unturned. Perhaps tomorrow. I thought I'd do it yesterday but then I had one too many white russians and was too engrossed in Elf to bother.

I also have been working on a pair of arm warmers for a graduating PhD student. Her defense is the day before my proposal defense so I might not finish them in time but at least she will understand why! They are in a very soft and warm alcpaca...In my last bit of yarn news, I did buy all my yarn for the Fairly Easy Fair Isle! I love Kramer Yarns and figured I'd substitute their Mauch Chunky for the Lamb's Pride. I went with a brown sweater with olive, sage and off white accents- I am super excited but won't cast on quite yet!

In non-knitting news, it is V and I's 3 year anniversary! Pretty low key but it is nice to spend some quality time together. We both had a lot of work to do but we went for a great run (picking up speed for our 5k next Saturday) and even better dinner at our favorite neighborhood place. Next year we get to celebrate as a married couple! Yea!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving Miracle

Last night as I was packing up my stuff to go home, the last in my hallway to leave, I got a phone call from V. He had parked even further away from the door than I usually do and had good news.

He found my mitten
You can't even tell which one was lost! I only looked really from the ca to the door based on my velcro coat theory. How it ended up 40 ft. past my car, I don't know or care- just happy to have it back!!
Today V and I are enjoying some of the things we are thankful for--our house, pets, good food, foootball, movies and each other (with a bit of powerpoint slide making and grading thrown in because we are grad students). All the food is actually going to be done at the same time and we must get to eating right now! We wish everyone a fantastic Thanksgiving! Love, Dancing Fish

Monday, November 20, 2006

where has my little mitt gone?

Today, I lost a handknit mitten. A fantastic birthday gift from Amandamonkey last year. They were fantastic fingerless things in Sunshine Yarns Watermelon.

The mitts had been in the middle console of my car. I got home from the gym (3.1 miles on the treadmill!) and found one mitten stuck to the velcro on my coat. The other is nowhere to be found. Maybe I will find it in my gym locker or office at school but I didn't have time to drive all over looking for it tonight (I live 25 minutes from school). They were one of my first knit gifts since I started knitting and between that and being from Amandamonkey, I was on the verge of tears when I realized it was gone. Now, I know I am probably stressed out since I was crying over losing a mitten and luckily V got me calmed down. BUT, if anyone out there finds a white, pink and green striped flip-top mitten- Please call me!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

What? This post isn't about socks...

Yeah, I know. The ol' camera battery is dead and so instead, I leave you with this...

You are 64% REAL Texan!!

You're mostly texan. You know your Mexican food, state heritage and are probably slightly politically aware. You can probably pronounce Kukendall, Manchaca and Boerne correctly. Go you.

How'>">How Texan Are You?

I only lived in Texas for 2.5 years, but I'd gladly go back to Austin/ theHill Country- I loved it there! And V actually lived on Manchaca before I met him =)

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Year of the sweater

So this year my big knitting goal was to conquer socks. I have one in progress (check back tomorrow for an update on how that is going....riiiiiight) even if I didn't really conquer them so much.
I've decided that next year will be the year of the sweater! My current cardigan does not match any of my clothes and gets more raggedy by the day. I feel ready to start bigger projects. Plus they will keep me occupied for a long time out in the desert and will travel great in my new bag (see yesterdays post). Specifically, I think I am ready to start these two projects. Fair Isle and Lace too!

If you can't tell from the small pictures, these are the Fairly Easy Fair Isle sweater and the Lucky Clover Lace Wrap both from Stitch N Bitch Nation! I will do the Fair Isle in the dark grey with different accent colors (I don't do pink) and the lace wrap in something less bright than the blue here. Maybe a cream or some other neutral so I could wear it with a lot of t-shirts. Good thing that scarf was colorful! Sounds like I am back to neutrals...

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Sad, Happy, Headache

So today started out on a sad note. As mentioned by Sneks, our favorite bus driver- Clyde- had his last day today. He was always nice to grad students, snarky to undergrads and excited to talk. Some of my favorite conversations revolved around the city I live in and he grew up in, travels (past and future) and treadmills (when I was a frequent gym go-er last year). We got a card and baked cookies but most of all wish him the best of luck and fun in his retirement!

After saying goodbye, I got straight down to work. I have organized all of my upcoming grant proposal deadlines, finished and SENT OUT THE PROPOSAL! It is done and I feel like I could throw up. Really. And I didn't even eat lunch. I now start the countdown to the dissertation defense. 20 days to go. I better start picking out my powerpoint color scheme!

Unfortunately, I am also getting a migraine. I tend to get them a lot when I am stressed out. Before I took my qualifyers I went and got prescribed for a preventative medication. I haven't taken it in 18 months but might start again. I just don't like having to take a pill everyday for something that only affects me 1-2 times a week at most (and usually I get them even less frequently). However, I start to reconsider this when I remember that 'affects me' REALLY means having to suffer through a 20 minute drive home before spending the rest of the day with my head under a pillow in a dark and quiet room. Hopefully todays will go away once I get off the computer or at least be kept at bay until after I go get my oil changed.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day's almost over!

No, I didn't forget my pledge to blog knitting related all week long- just have been busy tonight for a special surprise (more on that tomorrow).

I had a birthday last month that was filled with friends, food, drinks and great presents from V, ArtGirl and my mom! Some were aimed at taking care of myself; V got me slippers and a hat. While others, like ArtGirls' CamelPak, were for my soon-to-be desert lifestyle. My mom got me the BEST. KNITTING. BAG. EVER. I even had the barista at this weeks SnB stop to inquire about it! It is awesome orange and heavy duty nylon so it is super durable...
There are 6 compartments for projects. It will be fantastic for travel because everything I could ever want to knit will fit in there. See how big the compartments are! (ok they don't look so big in this picture but really, they could fit at least 3 skeins of Mauch Chunky)
Inside there are needle holders, a scissor holder, a pocket sized perfectly for my "Knit Chek" and even see through pockets for stitch markers. I absolutely love it.
Thanks Mom!

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From a dark hallway on a hill...

I am getting down to the wire with the proposal. I just finished and sent to my advisor so hopefully it can get out to the whole committee tomorrow or Thursday if he doesn't have too many serious comments. I really have enjoyed writing this. I am sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that it is my own work and that it is on topics I get excited about.
I have a had a lot of classes and papers over the past 2.25 years* on topics that are interesting but not my main source of academic joy and excitement. Writing all those papers on topics I was just learning (and to be fair, didn't necessarily fully understand) has helped my writing though. It is easier to pick out the important pieces of info from the paper or paragraph and strip the theoretical models down to their bare bones, as that was how I made it through all of my classes. If I hadn't learned to make things as simple as possible, I wouldn't have passed a few (OK, any) of my courses. I think getting a bit better at this (although I have a long way to go still) made the rest of the challenges- the piles of literature, the temptation of distractions, my legs falling asleep- all a little less daunting. I am even more motivated to get going on that next manuscript as opposed to taking a break from writing for a while!

I will remain pleased with the whole process at least till I get my comments back on it...

*2.25 years? That seems like a really long time and I am just writing my proposal?!? That is how long it took me to do my whole masters! To be fair, I was handed a system ideas for projects and an RA for my whole masters. Now I have a system different from most of my lab, my own ideas and I teach.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Mango Neck Warmth

Yesterday I finished my new scarf for this winter. My first winter as a knitter I made myself a white to dark grey variegated scarf in garter stitch. Pretty simple and I don't have a picture, as it was pre-blog. Last year I knit this fantastic grey seed stich alpaca number. After two years of neutral scarves (and a grey and black winter coat) I am going all out with the color! I bought this Mango Moons yarn at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I cannot say enough good things about the company for supporting the Nepali Women Empowerment Group. The yarn is great too! I will be festive all season long and hey, none of my clothes match anyways. This scarf has ALL the colors so it will match EVERYTHING! Right?
It is a basic 1x1 rib, which I think is the most fantastic stitch since, well, last years seed stitch...

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Do wet Bears smell like wet dogs?

The Chicago Bears quaterback in Rex Grossman. The New York Giants quaterback is Eli Manning.

All I can think about is Rex Manning Day!
I will be updating with knitting content EVERY DAY this week!
I know you'll all be waiting with bated breath!


"Come on pencil, MAKE WORDS!"

Today, as I was actually compliling data, I stumbled upon a very relevant and hilarious episode of Spongbob Squarepants. I'm sure you can see why from the following quotes...

"I can't work on my essay when there is a mess in the kitchen"
"OK, Essay. Prepare to be written!"
"You and I both know that you are just using me as a distraction so you don't have to write your essay"
"I can't write with all these paper shavings on my paper"
"I can't write on an empty stomach, I need my brain food"
"....only has a few hours to complete his essay, but he continues to goof off. When will he learn?"
"Do I dare look at the clock? Class starts in 5 minutes!"

Of course, it works for Spongebob because all the things he has done to procrastinate are also things you should not do at a stoplight, which happens to be the topic of his essay!
Well, it works out till he hands it out is told...
"I decided to cancel the assignment..."

If only that were the case for grad students sometimes too!


Friday, November 10, 2006

I did it!

Yea!!! I just sent my dissertation proposal to my outside committee member*!!

I'm going to go for a walk, upload Endnote X (yipee!), have a martini at happy hour, and knit to my little hearts content tonight! No working for the rest of the day**.

Turtle says "Hell Yea!!!!!!! I'm going to try to eat her yarn!!!!!!!!"

*Now, it isn't DONE done. I am not happy with this tight deadline version. It will be worked on over the weekend and revised to send to my full committee next week.

** Endnote-ing doesn't count as work. I have hundreds of pdf files and cataloging them is going to be so much FUN! I can't wait! (yes, I'm serious).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Imposing deadline

So I was planning on giving my committee my dissertation proposal sometime between Wednesday and Friday of next week. Enjoy a weekend of hard work and finishing touches and get it to my advisor on Monday. Then it turns out my outside committee member is going out of town so needs it early. By Saturday. Which means my advisor wants it tomorrow at noon.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

At least I don't have to grade these midterms!

I voted today. Despite having a voter registration card from my old address. Despite the states' website telling me I wasn't registered in ANY county. Despite the states' website telling me it could't find a polling place for my current address.
Somehow V (who didn't use the states' website at all) knew were to go and I happened to call him while he was there. He checked for me and I was on their list and you know, he WAS THERE so knew where it was.
There were 7 people between V and me who voted. The main guy remembered him asking about me and said, "Oh, your husband was just here." I am not sure if V called me his wife, as people are more willing to give out info for a someone in a legally binding relationship as oppossed to fiance or girlfriend, or if they just assumed we were married. Either way, it was the first time a stranger called him my husband and therefore, pretty cool. In addition, the old guy helping with sign-in quizzed me about the famous person who shared my last name before changing it and becoming VERY famous. He seemed pleased I knew who he was talking about. It was sort of weird but I guess there isn't a whole lot to make small talk with while waiting to vote.
Back to work....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A stretch, a tongue and a schnoz

This one has decided that she likes living under-the-covers. She just likes hanging out and walking around under the heavy duty down comforter. Sometimes her whiskers tickle my knees.
This one is OBSESSED with the kittens food. We have to lock him in the bathroom to let her eat and if we don't he comes zooming up the stairs when he hears the container (he does not come running for his own food) then tries to maneuver around V (who is always trying to catch him) to get as big as bite he can take. The high-fat content kitten food does wonders for his IBS. He has also gained a few pounds.
This one, well the other two got cute stories, he just peed on the floor earlier (not on purpose, and just a tiny bit but still). I think he just got a little too excited. You can't stay mad at this schnoz though!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Smile like you mean it

Dear lady at the place I sometimes stop for coffee,

I appreciate that you held the door for me. That was nice of you. But then did you really need to call me 'sweetheart', and tell me to cheer up and smile? Is my lack of smiling really bothering you? If I smile will your day just be brightened so much that the planets will spontaneously align, wars will cease and diseases will be cured. I didn't think so.

I don't mean to take out all this aggression on you door lady but people have been telling me to smile for years. There was the professor in the hall about a month ago, the man on the street outside an art gallery in Key West 5 years ago, and countless others.

I feel no need to smile for no reason. Actually, I am wary of people who do- they might be crazy. Although I am generally pretty happy. Next time though, door lady, you can explain to me what is so great about the coffee stop that I should be overcome with joy. I do love their breakfast sandwiches and donuts are pretty great but I am trying to slim down for my wedding. Until then, I guess I just don't smile when I am thinking about writing, window shopping by myself, or when it is 8am and I am stopping to get coffee at a convieniance store.

Flowers and sausages,