oceantheorem: (coffee and writing)
Oh wow, has it really been this long since I updated? Where did the last month go?

Things are going really well here. We've definitely settled in, to our new apartment and our new jobs and our new life. I can honestly say I'm happier than I've been in years. I like my job, I like where my life is, and I LOVE being back on the west coast. I know I keep going on about the food, and the weather, and the FOOD, and the WEATHER, but I can't stop. I marvel at every perfectly made sandwich slathered with fresh ripe avocado, at every November morning that's warm enough for me to bike to work in a t-shirt. In the three+ months I've worked here, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been forced to eat lunch indoors due to inclement or cold weather. There is SUN! And good coffee! And something called aioli! ::dies::

So. I'm also thrilled with the amount of STUFF to do. I've hung out with friends, gone to a vampire-themed ball, seen people fling themselves into the bay in poorly-designed homemade aircraft... Tonight I went to a tiny little cafe on the other side of the city to see Lauren O'Connell sing. I discovered her two or three years ago on youtube (I can't even remember now how I found her. through Julia Nunes maybe?), and she has an absolutely incredible voice, coupled with a real talent for songwriting - the way she takes emotions and puts them into neat little words that don't diminish their feeling at all is just... mindblowing. Anyway, so I got to go see her sing tonight, and she's just as awesome in person. And is an awesome person. It was one of those times where I became the awkward nerd I really am deep down inside, and she was super friendly. I told her my name just once, when I first walked into the cafe 20 minutes before the show and she was standing by the door, and she remembered it. She called me by my name an hour later. Wow.

Jim is out driving for SideCar tonight, and was far away when the show ended, so I actually used the SideCar app myself for the first time tonight. The woman who picked me up was really friendly, and we had a nice chat. She's in the global health program here and suggested I look into it or something like it. I had forgotten how much energy and passion there can be for science, and I feel like there is a lot of it here in this city. People here want to do things that matter. And, astonishingly, they ARE. It's terrifying and intimidating and inspiring.

It's late, and I know I'm rambling, so I'll just stop. But yeah. I'm happy. That's new. It's cool. It should keep... doing... that.
oceantheorem: (ff Kaylee happy)
I skipped over some stuff with my last entry (which I posted to G+ first, and then decided I wanted archived, so I put it here too).

Jim got his second paycheck from Knight. It was for negative $1400. He quit. They said he had reported his work "late" and that he would get paid "in the next check", but they couldn't tell him how much he'd get paid. And he had been told three or four different deadlines for the reporting, so it was hardly his fault that he missed the real one.

We bought a Prius. It's a 2005, and it's gold. I hated it for the first day, but when I finally got a chance to drive it on Sunday it immediately won me over. It's fairly comfortable. It has automatic windows, locks, and transmission (well, sort of. it's got Prius transmission). It's like driving a computer - if you have the key in your pocket, the door unlocks automatically when you approach the car. You get in, still with the key in your pocket, put your foot on the brake, and press the round Power button, and the car turns on. You move a lever until the display reads Reverse or Drive, and then move your foot to the gas and the car goes - all with the key still in your pocket. It's insane. It's like driving a spaceship.

We named her Serenity.

Jim went to a meet and greet for SideCar, his new company, Friday evening. It's a ridesharing company that is essentially a taxi service, but cheaper, more reliable, faster, and WAY less creepy. It's all coordinated through smartphone apps. I tagged along in the passenger seat Friday night while Jim gave rides around the city for a couple hours, and it was a lot of fun. We got to chat with interesting people, and we made like $100 in two hours. I think this'll be a much better job for Jim, at least in the short term.

This weekend was supposed to be a mess in the city, so I flipped through event listings on the web to see if anything in particular looked like fun. I found a listing for a steampunk/Oktoberfest combination dance, and we decided to go. This meant we had to put together costumes, so we went wandering around our neighborhood Saturday morning to find thrift stores. We got some decent costume pieces and cobbled a look together, though we didn't have any accessories or anything (no goggles or awesome boots or leather of any kind). The dance was a lot of fun. They had victorian waltzes in addition to polkas, plus a few set dances they taught on the spot, and we had a blast. I even got to wear my nice dancing shoes, which I haven't done since the wedding. We got some fliers for some other events by this group, and we'll definitely be going to more of them.

Sunday we drove Jim's semi to the nearest Knight lot, which was four hours away, in the central valley. Serenity averaged just under 50 miles per gallon (she's meant for city driving, not highway, but I still think that's pretty impressive!). Jim and I played "what's that crop?" on the way through Gilroy and the surrounding area. It's a little sad that we don't recognize fields of bell peppers or strawberries or garlic on the spot. If I had a kid I would insist on having a garden and making the kid help grow our food. Maybe once we get a house I'll start a garden anyway. I should be mature enough by now not to kill plants just by looking at them.

All in all, I'm loving living here. We've settled, I think, and I feel better than I've felt in years. I'm in better shape. Running and biking are enjoyable - my body RESPONDS to requests for action, in a I CAN DO THIS kind of way instead of a OH HELL THIS HURTS kind of way. It's giddying. I feel happy. I am home, and things are of course not perfect, but I made it back to California, after a thousand million years away, and it keeps getting better and it's going to keep getting better. This is good.
oceantheorem: (cheese)
It is a glorious day in San Francisco! The morning sun is shining - and by shining I mean SHINING - in through our apartment window and across my computer desk. I am actually getting tanned as I type this.

There are supposed to be a million extra people in the city today, for events such as America's Cup (sailboat races), Fleet Week (military leave, including Blue Angels demonstrations and navy ship tours), Italian Heritage Festival, Castro Street Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, a 49ers game, and a Giants game.

What will Jim and I be doing?


Going to a free French cheese tasting. Hanging out in Dolores Park with ice cream while we check out the Zeitgeist/Venus Project (http://www.thevenusproject.com/) meetup. Going thrift shopping for clothes for Jim so we can go to the Steampunkoktoberfest dance ball tonight in San Mateo. Spending a few hours offering rides through SideCar, making more in a couple hours than Jim made in an entire month with Knight Transport.

Have I mentioned in the last five minutes that I LOVE CALIFORNIA?
oceantheorem: (gatsby the past)
A friend linked me to this article today. It's interesting, but long, so I'll summarize it here if you want to skip it: San Francisco used to be home to the weird, the outcasts, the hippies who tried new things and lived art, but in the last ten years it's slipped into a new thing, a tech central filled with new money and young kids from Elsewhere who know how to program but don't know how to relax after work, and the entire culture of the city has changed. The old character has been priced out and replaced with the overflow from Palo Alto.

I noticed this. We got here and I started apologizing profusely to Jim. This is not the California I remembered, this is not the San Francisco I talked up, this is not the city I thought we were moving to. This city is harsh and fast and unforgiving. I remembered organic food and the smell of weed on street corners and lazy mornings spent lounging in the sun with a beer while discussing all the wealth of possibility the world holds. This is not that city.

The sad thing is that this is still home to me. I don't know what makes a place home, but this one is mine. I think of all the awful things, the high rent and the ridiculously out of place racecars and the feeling that nothing you do matters because no one cares... and then I look out my window and see the lights of a thousand apartments rolling over Potrero Hill to our south, and the fog rolling in from behind us to coat the buildings to our north, the smell of salt and the sound of sirens, and it just feels like home. I belong here. It's heartbreaking. What if I'd come here six years ago? How different would it have been? Would I have needed to stay here after it changed underneath me? How do I translate this feeling of belonging into something Jim can understand? Can I feel this attachment to other places in California? What the hell is wrong with me? Who falls in love with a 7x7 square of land?
oceantheorem: (crazy but ok)
We've moved into an apartment we're calling Shoebox Palace. Some of you  may have seen pictures of it on Google+; it is very very small and very very expensive, but we actually love it. It gets tons of sunlight, and the vaulted ceiling gives us acres of wallspace for our extremely nerdy art (cutaway pictures of Firefly, posters of the Ladies of Firefly, umpteen framed dragon art pieces, a horrible parody of Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, etc), so we are now once again surrounded by things that make us feel at home. The living area is actually pretty spacious, and who needs a dining area anyway? We don't miss having one. A dishwasher would be nice, as would our own washer/dryer, but you can't have everything, right?

There is a little market about a block away. The safest way to get there is to avoid the main road to our right and instead go down the dark alleyway through the center of the block. I am not even kidding. I am pretty sure that if I walk along the big road by myself I will get raped. By contrast, the alley is populated by people who are probably homeless and maybe a little crazy, but not one of them has tried to talk to me or touch me, which is in sharp contrast to the big road. Anyway, the market itself is fabulous. It is half produce section and one third meat section, and everything they sell is incredibly cheap. Avocados are three for $1. Plantains are $0.79/lb. A giant bundle of cilantro is $0.79. I've made two batches of guacamole in the last week (WHOEVER GAVE US THE CUISINART, I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT I LOVE YOU), and each time it's lasted for a couple days and has cost under $2. This is wonderful considering Jim has still not received a paycheck.

He at least has a job, and has been working since we got back from Dragon*Con (which was amazing, just like last year, and we already have our tickets for next year), but his company is incredibly disorganized and tends not to know where he is, or what cargo he's picking up, or whether the clients he's dealing with are actually open (hint, if it's a Sunday, they probably aren't. good job, company.). I am beginning to fear that they are going to come out and claim that Jim was never actually hired, and thus not pay him a single cent. Or worse, pay him for the last three weeks and the entire thing will be like $300.  Uuuuuggghh.

My dad is trying to get a housing voucher from the VA to live in San Francisco, so he's been around a lot lately, which has been really good. He is incredibly insecure, so I've been trying to reassure him that I do love him and that the distance I keep from him is because I'm married and just moved and got a new job and omg my life is busy. But Jim suggested we have my dad over for dinner, so we did on Saturday, and it was awesome. It went really well, and they are getting along just fine, and it was an enjoyable evening. I look forward to doing that again and forming a normal bond with my dad. Plus, he wants to teach both Jim and me everything he knows about leatherworking, which will be AWESOME. My dad uses his leather skills mostly to make belts and guitar straps and stuff for other people, mainly things with like football logos or mustang heads or whatever on them. Jim and I will use these skills to make leather armor and costume steampunk gear. We are excited.

I got to see my mom a couple weekends ago for the Reno Balloon Races, which was fun. We took my little sister (now 6.5yo), who had never been before. She was more interested in going to look for frogs in the pond than she was in the hot air balloons. Seriously, this child and I have nothing in common. She's a bright kid though, so that's good. And seeing my mom was awesome. I'm hoping to entice her over to the city to go to operas and plays and stuff - as soon as Jim starts getting a paycheck and we can afford to do that kind of thing.

I've been playing an online writing game. I think the technical description is "play-by-post online role-playing game". It started in February and has really been picking up lately; I just finished running a giant event that seems to have brought back some inactive people and drawn in some new ones, which is awesome. The world we play in is mostly based off the Dragonriders of Pern series, with some Dune influence thrown in. It's been cool to work on writing lately; it's a hobby I've had for ages but haven't been able to indulge in much in the last half-decade or so. I still don't think I'll do NaNoWriMo again, as I have no lingering desire to write a novel, but I AM really enjoying spending a lot of my free time writing little scenes with the handful of characters I've created.

We went to a Ren Faire last weekend. I got my hair braided. It was awesome.

All in all, things are much much much MUCH better than they were in August. I'd say we're very nearly settled now, and I might even be re-developing a fondness for San Francisco, though I'm wary now. City, you have burned me, and you must earn my renewed affection!
oceantheorem: (Default)
On a particularly wet, miserable day in England during our honeymoon, Jim and I ducked into a store to escape the cold and wet misery, and saw this book on a shelf:

Apparently you won't think it's funny if you're not British, and we didn't buy it, but "Is it just me or is everything shit?" has become sort of our mantra for things that really, really suck. Like awful parties you have to attend because of social obligations, or conversations about homeless people and how our society doesn't take care of them, or San Francisco altogether. Because San Francisco is sort of shit. Maybe five years ago it wasn't. Or maybe it still isn't if you're a tourist. But this has been the worst three weeks I've ever spent in California, and I'm counting the ones I spent failing Physics exams in college.

Everything has fallen apart. Our cat is gone and I'm worried about how she is (or isn't) adjusting. She's tiny and stupid and has no idea what's happening to her; apparently she peed on the new owner's floor and I'm worried they're either not going to like her or worse, they're not giving her enough attention and she's going to start acting out, because she's a stupid needy little beast and she likes to cuddle and if she doesn't get cuddles she will bite feet. I don't know what peeing on the floor means; she's never done that before. Also Jim still doesn't have a freaking job, and I'm making a lot more now, but our rent is four times as much and I'm certainly not making THAT much more. And every social interaction I've had with people who are friends or used to be friends has been kind of strained and awkward. Obviously this means I'm doing something wrong or acting incorrectly somehow, but I don't know what the problem is exactly or how to fix it. I am stressed out, lonely, flat broke, and still living in a house full of extroverts who don't want us around. Maybe this isn't the best time to be trying out social interactions, but I'm pretty sure this is the definition of when a person needs friends the most.

I think it might be just me (well, just Jim and me), but I'm pretty sure everything is shit.
oceantheorem: (be careful pretending)
The fireflies are out! Claire is sitting on my lap. I will miss these things.

The problem, as I have said many times, with moving across the country (well, one of the problems; there is certainly more than one) is that you leave bits of yourself behind each time you do it. Even leaving Connecticut, a place I hated, felt like tearing off a part of who I'd become. Michigan is hands-down an all-around better place to be than Connecticut, and leaving is going to be hard. Especially because Jim's family is here, and I've gotten quite attached to them. I feel awful taking their son from them, too. Even though he wants to go and they say they understand and that we'll all go someplace tropical for Christmas together.

I'm trying to simultaneously remember that California is not Eden and will not make life magically perfect, and also that I do have good reason to be excited about moving there. I'm not imagining that California is "home". It is. It truly is. I feel markedly different in California than I do elsewhere. The sun is stronger, the land actually has texture (I'm so sick of the flatness of the Midwest!!), the food is locally grown or raised or caught, and the proximity of the ocean changes the flavor of the air and keeps the temperature within a narrow range. It calls me. In a really stupid, juvenile, romanticized, nonsensical way, I really feel like California calls to me. Besides, I've always wanted to live in San Francisco. I love cities, and San Francisco is my favorite city. 

So why am I so scared and sad?

1. Michigan is safe. We have a routine, we have Jim's parents, we have a safe little life and safe little jobs that would eventually lead to having a safe little house.
2. San Francisco is big, and fast-paced, and culturally very different from anywhere I've been in the last six years, and very different from anywhere Jim has ever been, and I worry about the culture shock.
3. If we don't love it, it will be my fault that we are there and poor and not here and safe. 
4. My mom and I will be closer and have a chance to have a real relationship again, and if it falls apart I won't be able to handle it.
5. We most likely have to give up Claire (a friend of mine is willing to take her for up to a couple of years, and she lives just north of SF, so this really isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I will still miss my fluffy demoncat).
6. It's so expensive. So, so expensive.

Things that kept me awake last night, excited (when was the last time I couldn't sleep because I was excited?):

1. We might get to live in a really interesting community house, the ad for which sounds like a listing for a social experiment. We'd be surrounded by intelligent, capable adults who are trying to make the world a better place. I miss that kind of environment. I miss it in a way that surprises me - like a piece of me was excised, but it was so cunningly and slowly removed that I didn't even see it go, and at the mention of its return I feel lighter and freer and smarter and more adventurous. I want to take risks. I want to try new things. I want to learn about new subjects. I want to contribute. I want to try.
2. The food. Just the thought of the food! Did you know I had a dream about our wedding cake after the wedding? It was so perfectly made, just the right texture and the right sweetness and not too heavy and not at all dry. All the food is like that, whenever I visit California. It's perfectly ripe and fresh and always has the perfect hint of salt or sweetness. THE FOOD.
3. My new job is just like my current job, except with more spreadsheets, an iPad in the mouseroom that was my idea (apparently the university is implementing these now, but my new lab is giving me credit for coming up with the idea before the university announced it), amazing people that sound like they just fell out of a joke (three postdocs walk into a bar - a German, an Indian, and a Frenchman...) and have extremely flexible work hours and seem to value work-life balance. And there is a gym next door with a pool on the roof. A POOL. ON THE ROOF.
4. Sunshine.
5. Sunshine.
6. Sunshine.
7. My family!
8. 3D printers! I know. This is out of the blue. For some reason my brain is associating 3D printing with California, and is excited about it. Let's just roll with this one...

I've been pretending to be quiet and safe and normal and now I am quiet and safe and normal. I want to be wild and daring and clever again, but it is scary.
On the other hand, it's not like I have a choice anymore. We've set it in motion; it's happening. We leave on July 30th.
oceantheorem: (btvs battle ready)
I got a job in San Francisco!

I started looking for a job after we got back from the honeymoon (I'm married!) and got a few calls back right away. One lab had me do a phone interview, then set up a video conference with the entire lab so they could all ask me questions, then asked me to fly out to California for an in-person interview. They had me in the lab for an entire day, talking to people as a group and one on one, and then took me out to dinner two nights in a row. Through all of that, they were friendly, interesting, and casual, and they seem to like me as much as I like them, so I was thrilled when they offered me a job. It's a really similar job to what I have right now, with a little more focus on mouse colony management and less focus on hiring other people or ordering supplies or training undergrads (they already have a manager; they just want a tech to help breed and to do experiments). They study the immunology of multiple sclerosis, so I've got a lot to learn...

Jumping back a ways, the wedding was amazing. It was perfect. It was exactly the kind of small, casual, intimate gathering I had hoped it would be. My favorite people were there with very few exceptions, and I got to wear a pretty dress and eat delicious cake. And, you know, the marrying. I've got a Jim now. Permanently. Mwa ha ha!

I had deeper, more introspective stuff to write about all of this. Last night. And then I didn't write it down. So now I'm sleepy, and my brain is muddled, and I'm overwhelmed with the emotional onslaught of everything that's happened since February (when lab became a much different beast without my graduate student around) and everything that is going to happen between now and August. We're leaving Michigan on July 30th, and I start my new job August 6th. We don't yet have a place to live, and Jim doesn't have a job, and we may or may not have to find a new home for TinyCat, but things are in motion and five weeks from now I'll be in California. Home.
oceantheorem: (knit yarn little time)
November ended on a pretty good note.

I finished Kayla and Ben's wedding blanket. I finished my 5,000-bead lace shawl. I finished my grad school applications.

I only got to 19k words in NaNoWriMo. I feel a little guilty about this. But I really don't think I could have expected myself to finish, with everything else going on.

Jim and I got to spend a week in Reno for Thanksgiving, which was awesome. I got to hang out with my mom (we went to a yarn store and neither of us bought ANYTHING--it was incredible) and see my little sister (she's definitely cute). And just before we left, my parents lent us their third car and we got to take a quick road trip to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Since I've got my grad apps in and we're crossing our fingers at least one of the schools accepts me, we took half a day to look at some houses in the region. Most of what we looked at was ~30 minutes outside of San Francisco, so hopefully we can find something reasonably priced on a BART or a bus line and I'll be able to commute in fairly easily. I'm not insane, so I refuse to drive in, but it's likely I might have to drive to a BART station... which would suck. It would be much better if I could walk or bike.

Anyway. PLENTY of time to think about these things next summer, if I do get in somewhere. Please please please cross your fingers for UCSF.

And now... pictures!

Me working on the Shipwreck on the steps of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.


I love Grace Cathedral. Jim had never been there before (obviously... it being only his second trip to California, and the first having been with me in February, when we went only to Pier 39), and we got really lucky and ran into a docent who was giving a tour inside. So we followed the tour for about 20 minutes and learned some fun things about the Cathedral and San Francisco's history.
Also, did you know there was never a Saint Barbara? The church made her up. It was some sort of ploy to get people to convert, but I don't remember exactly what the docent said the motivation was, not knowing much about Saint Barbara.


Done, and spread out on the kitchen floor! Boyfriend and Mom included for size reference.




It needs to be blocked--the lace will open up a lot more and it will get a LOT bigger. But isn't it gorgeous already???

Remind me to take a detail shot of the beads when I take blocking pictures. It's just stunning in person. I wish my camera could capture it!

I will post pictures of Kayla and Ben's blanket once it has safely reached them. :-)

Also, I need a new project now....

oceantheorem: (airplane)
It feels weird to pack for three or four weeks. I feel like anything I don't bring will be "left behind." I'm also suffering from impending internet withdrawal--how will I check lj from the road?? How will I keep up with my webcomics, especially Digger, whose archives are pay only and just the most recent comic is free?? Aaaaahhh I'm such a creature of habit.

Also, I'm now starting to worry that they won't let me take my metal circs on the plane. If I knit for them while I go through security, will they be more lenient? They're size 7s; I'm hoping they're big enough to not be sharp enough to be considered a threat.
I'm planning on taking my bamboo 6s as well, and if they make me check the Addis, I'll just knit the diamond pattern on the 6s, since that one knits up so tall. Maybe knitting it on 6s will keep it to within my desired dimensions. *sigh* Why do I have to take up the weird hobbies that require sharp pointy sticks?
And drat, I have to pack my climbing gear. I'm gonna need a second suitcase, between the climbing shoes and the extra balls of yarn.

I'm excited out of my mind to go "home," so why do I feel so reluctant to leave? Summer is just starting here, we've all settled into labs, everyone else is just getting BACK from vacation, and now the fun should begin! And I'm going to miss out on the first month of summer. I hope I don't miss out on too much bonding. :-(

On the other hand... Neal and Megan and Ann! San Francisco and Santa Cruz and skydiving! Road tripping!
*explodes*

____________
*Goes off to...*
-Charge mp3 player
-collect best CDs and pack them for the road trip
-take an Airborne
-pack extra contacts
-pack chargers for cell phone and bluetooth
-finish packing clothing
-wash dishes
-take out trashes
-decide which size suitcase to cram things into
-pack some sort of coherent lunch that doesn't include liquids
-sleep for an hour?

Itinerary!

Jun. 8th, 2007 07:32 am
oceantheorem: (yay omg yay kermit)
Hurrah!

Okay, so I'm leaving early tomorrow morning. I fly from Hartford to Oakland, where my good friend Neal will pick me up (I hope). Then we'll spend two or three days hanging out (and climbing) in SF, one of which I will probably ditch him for and spend hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] bananasofdeath and [livejournal.com profile] owlishness, who are both in the area... Then it's down to Sunnyvale to see [livejournal.com profile] fieryminge (YAY!!) for a couple days right before her birthday. She'll give me a ride down to Santa Cruz, where I will pick up Ann's car and go pick up her at the SF airport. Then the real fun begins. The 14th to the 18th we'll be hanging out in Santa Cruz doing all the normal Santa Cruz-y things (and I might even have lunch or something with Jamie!). On the 17th we're going skydiving (I need to call and make the reservation...) in Hollister, and on the 18th we start our cross-country drive from Santa Cruz to Boston. And we can stop through Reno on the way and pick up my new laptop, which is already expensively awaiting me safely in my parents' garage.

After two weeks of cavorting across the country, we should arrive in New Haven and/or Boston. I'll help Ann move in a little, then come back to New Haven for a day or two, and then I fly from Hartford to Reno on July 4th. Then my parents and I will drive across the evil desert to Salt Lake City for my cousin's wedding (YAYAYAYA!!! And I found out yesterday that a couple of my far-away cousins will be there, so I get to see a few people I haven't seen since before THEY got married). Then I fly directly home from Salt Lake City to Hartford on the 9th, and collapse into a little ball and sleep for a good five or so hours before going back to lab.

It's gonna be an awesome summer.

Also, I will probably not update lj. At least, not regularly. But I will make a full and detailed report upon my return.
Have fun!
oceantheorem: (gg rl strings)
It's been a good week. I haven't had much to do in lab, so I've been relaxing and getting settled in. I cleared off my bench space, scrubbed a year's worth of dirt off some shelves, washed out some drawers, and voila! My workspace now looks clean and shiny and new. The lab is only a few years old, and it's amazing how many years a little bit of Seventh Generation can take off. I chose some lab tape colors and labeled my pipetmen and a freezer box, so I've officially "moved in." Yesterday I started cloning some stuff for Erica. I'm taking off next week, so there's not a lot I can do before I go, but I've run some PCRs and a few gels and maybe I can get a couple genes into some vectors before vacation. At any rate, it feels good to be doing stuff and not just sitting around.

I've been working on my cousin's wedding gift, and have realized that I need to knit about eight square inches a day between now and July 6th. This is... absurd. Someone told me today that you technically have a year after the wedding before your gift is "late," so I might have to give her a small swatch and send the whole thing a month or so later. It really shouldn't take too much longer, but I think squeezing the entire thing in before July 6th is maybe a little unfeasible, given that I'll be driving across the country for three weeks beforehand. How much knitting can I really get done while I'm vacationing?
At any rate, I was afraid of the yarn for a little while, but I washed a few swatches and they look AWESOME. I think it's gonna be a good gift. Also, I bought three times as much yarn as I needed, so, um... gifts for other people might follow, depending on how much of which colors I'm left with at the end of this project.

Anyway.

Today I kissed someone I should probably definitely not have kissed. But it was totally one of those, "I know I shouldn't be doing this, but I sooo don't care" moments. Actually, he kissed me, so I dunno what I'm complaining about. I'm not culpable.

Also, my labmate took me to a new coffeeshop today (new to me) to buy me coffee for helping her move boxes, and while we were there she picked up a few pieces of chocolate they had in a bin by the register. "Have you had these?" she asked me, "They're really good." And then she handed me a piece of Scharffen Berger 70%, and I almost fell over. Scharffen Berger is made in Berkeley, and I toured the factory last spring when I interviewed at UCB. It's my favorite kind of chocolate IN THE WHOLE WORLD, and I bought a ton of it at Trader Joe's in Santa Cruz while I still lived there. I haven't been able to find it ANYWHERE on the east coast, so Mom sent me some for Easter. I was floored--this coffeeshop in downtown New Haven carries four different kinds. Including the nibby bars. *california-chocolate-gasm*

Today was SUCH a good day.

EDIT: Also, it is pouring rain. *HAPPY*
EDIT EDIT: Not just pouring rain... it's a full-on thunderstorm, with lightning and huge claps of thunder right overhead. I love summer so much I think I might burst.
oceantheorem: (do not forget to live)
*sigh* I feel like I haven't posted anything of substance in months. I don't know where all my time went; I feel exhausted constantly, and I always have things I should be doing, but that's not any different than when I was in Santa Cruz. Am I really that much more busy than I was in undergrad? Maybe I just enjoy what I'm doing more than I used to, so even though I'm way more busy, I don't feel like I am.

Anyway...

Life feels like it's evening out. I've chosen a lab and have a verbal promise of a place to live next year. I feel like I finally got my feet underneath me, and have "moved in." My heart finally caught up with my body, and the whole me is now in Connecticut. It's a nice feeling. I feel like "me" again, which is great after a whole winter of feeling like an empty shell. I think I finally managed to let go of Santa Cruz and the relationship I had there. It's weird, in some ways, to think that that time of my life is behind me--I loved it so much, and spent so little time thinking about what would happen after it ended--but in other ways it's such a relief to have let go of it. First of all, it means I'm not living in the past or for the past anymore. And second, it means I really am capable of letting go of things, and that I can learn to let go of things. That's something I worry about; I know that letting go is one of my great weaknesses. It's encouraging to see myself move on from something, especially something that was as important to me as Santa Cruz was.

On the train back from New York on Saturday, exhausted and happy, I wrote a small paragraph on the back of a knitting pattern.
"It's strange. For the last year, Santa Cruz has been maybe a hundred miles away. I've been holding onto it so tightly, refusing to let it recede. But I finally decided to be happy on the East Coast, and today for the first time I thought to myself, "California (and Jamie) feels like it's a thousand miles away!" And then I laughed at myself, because of course California has been three times that far away for the last year, but in my mind it's only just started to pull away into unreachability. Only recently have I pulled away from IT. I think I'm finally all here on the East Coast; my heart and soul finally caught up with my mind and body, the latter of which are laughing as an older sister would laugh at a young girl--"What took you so long, silly? Did you lose your way?"--followed by a fond embrace and a warm greeting."

It's good to be home. It's good to know that it's home because I've decided it is, and not because I'm forced. It's good to see myself growing up and maturing. I still have so far to go, but look how far I've come.
oceantheorem: (do not forget to live)
My hand is still killing me. I think I'm going to try to avoid my computer ALL DAY tomorrow to give it a chance to heal, but for now I think I really need to write. This week has just been crazy.

Thursday morning I went to talk to our admissions coordinator, who is really awesome and has helped me out with a few other freakouts. I told her I was thinking about transferring and what did she think, and she said she thought I'd already made up my mind, and that if I was miserable, then I should go. So I started crying. We talked for about twenty more minutes, and she gave me some suggestions for which steps to take next and who to speak to, and how taking a year off works, and what to tell Yale if I did that and used my time off to reapply to UCSF. It was a crazy conversation. I felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders--they're gonna let me go home!--and at the same time I felt a deep sense of panic--there are things here I've come to love, and there's no guarantee I'd get those things back. I've got great friends here, and I really do like Yale.

In fact, I spent the rest of Thursday thinking, "This is crazy. I've been wanting to transfer since I got here, and finally a professor suggests it and an administrator supports it, and I don't want to go anymore?"
Friday morning I met with the campus counselor. She was largely useless. I spent the full 45 minutes giving her the backstory and explaining stuff and never really got to discussing the future. The only thing I decided was that I should make a giant pro/con list.
Then I went to talk to Susan again, and she informed me that she might not have enough funding to take any grad students this year. I ignored this, because she's crazy, and there will be funding, or, or... or... um... I'll just show up and start working and she'll deal with it. We also talked again about transferring, and she was supportive. Now I'm starting to wonder--do they not want me here?

Thing is, I really have been thinking about transferring since... since before I left Santa Cruz. I promised myself, back in April 2006, that I would give it one good year at Yale. That I would try my hardest, and do my best to fit in, and that at the end of that year I'd reevaluate, and if I was miserable I'd come home. I made this pact before I ever even left California, and I've held onto it like a security blanket. That faint hope got me through the long dark winter. But at some point I stopped hanging on to it as a real hope; maybe once I realized I'd missed the application deadline for the 07-08 school year, I stopped thinking that it was a reasonable hope. Thinking about it this week as something I could ACTUALLY do was both exciting and terrifying. The parts of me (the very few, small parts of me) that have actually managed to settle in New Haven and bond with Yale are reluctant to let go and take the risk of starting over. I really would have to start over; this year would be a complete academic loss. I might get some classes waived, but I'd have to do rotations and be a first year student all over again. On the other hand... California.

California.

It's almost, almost enough to think that I'll go back after I graduate. To think that there are only four or five more years to give to New Haven, and then I never have to leave California again. But the miserable part of me screams and writhes to contemplate four or five more years away from the sunshine, the fog, the climbing walls, the weed (and still, I don't even smoke). I guess I just have to sit down and figure out how much of me still really wants to leave, and how much of me is just afraid to let go of the idea that I can leave. In some ways, realizing that I CAN transfer has made me feel a lot better about staying; I originally felt that I came to Yale for some specific reason, that I'm SUPPOSED to be here, and I'm staying here because I'm SUPPOSED to. But since Thursday I've felt like maybe I'm here because I choose to be here. And does that make all the difference? I'm not sure yet.

I had a really good conversation with my mom (actually, two of them) this week. I finally decided to take a chance and tell her what I was actually going through, so I opened up (and expected to be ignored or brushed off), and amazingly she was really supportive and helpful and honest. We talked about living alone, and being 21, and sleep paralysis and how it's linked to feeling insecure. We talked about transferring, and mood drugs, and expensive counselors. And holistic healing and how her insurance will cover it, so I can go have some weird voodoo performed on my midsection and maybe it will stop destroying my life. Anyway, it was awesome to talk to my mom so directly again, to be Rory and Lorelai and actually connect. I missed that. I'm glad it's still there.

And it's been a good weekend. I've hung out with friends, gotten drunk and gossipped (and on a side note, I had the desire to drunk dial people last night, and went through a list of possibilities, and only realized this morning that Graham was on the list and Jamie wasn't--which reinforces that I'm correct in saying I'm over him), slept, and had a lovely two hours alone in lab (I love empty labs) doing minipreps and cell culture, followed by hanging out sober at a bar with two of my favorite people in the world. How could I leave these things? Even for California?
oceantheorem: (was lost now I live here)
I've been thinking a lot lately. This is probably a bad thing, and is likely a product of me not being in lab and class all day long. Luckily my normal hectic life resumes tomorrow, and I become a prisoner of science once again....

Before I get into all the thinkingness, I just wanted to mention that I had a really good spring break, despite being bitterly lonely for most of it. I don't know when I became a social creature; the transformation seems to have snuck up on me. I used to be so antisocial and so afraid of other people. It seems weird that these days I'm so dependent on the company of others. But I did have a good break, and the solitude allowed me to some things I hadn't been able to do in all the hubbub of grad school academic and social life. I watched The Chronicles of Narnia, which made me cry. Such a good movie.... I finished knitting the Cascade 220 bag I've been working on forever, and have learned 1) that it really does matter how long the cable is on circular needles and 2) you really can't felt something in the bathroom sink unless you're a lot more patient than I am. I shall have to bribe a friend with a washing machine. I've also read about half of the second book of the Bridei Chronicles, which I bought about a week ago. I love Juliet Marillier. Her books are amazing. They seem to take hold somewhere inside my heart and then proceed to pull out all of my most secret inner longings about love and life and honor and strength. Her stories speak to me in a strange way that most other stories don't. Then again, I cry at commercials, so maybe I'm giving her too much credit. But this book is amazing, and it makes me wish I had the first one here in Connecticut so I could read it again, since I don't remember most of the minor characters, and Ms. Marillier has a nasty way of making her sequels about minor characters instead of about major ones.
Also, I saw 300 on IMAX the other day, and it had a weird way of actually making me feel violent. Actually violent. I got into the bloodthirstiness of the Spartan killing tactic, and I WANTED the Persians to die. And when the Queen (all right, I won't say anything for those of you who haven't seen it; I don't want to spoil it) does that awesome thing she does, I relished the violence of the moment. It felt good. This led me to realize that I am, in fact, withholding a great deal of anger. This, again, is probably a bad thing. I think I need an outlet for all of this anger, or something really bad is gonna happen.

Anyway.

I've been thinking a lot about my life and what I want out of it. What I want to do with it, who I want to become, where I want to live, how I want to make my living. I listened to last week's This American Life last night, and they sang "California," and for some reason the song hit home in such a strong way that I actually stopped knitting so I could stare out my teeny tiny cell window. I felt like ice. I felt like I had this huge, momentous decision before me, and I knew the way I was supposed to choose, and I knew the way I would choose, and they were different. I'm supposed to go home to California and be something else, do something else, follow some other life path. But it's easier to take no action, to continue following a course already set out, and that's what I've chosen to do. Besides, what kind of other life would I lead? There seem to be so many options, and all of them are terrible, or at least depressingly difficult.

1) Stay here, follow current path, do postdoc in California, etc. Be geneticist.
2) Re-apply to grad schools this coming fall, transfer to UCSF, Berkeley, or Stanford. Be scientist.
3) Move to California (or, more realistically, Reno) and buy a flower shop. In Reno, I bet you anything I could talk my mom into helping me do this, because she tried to about three years ago, and would have succeeded if someone hadn't outbid her on the shop she was trying to buy.
4) Throw a ton of money at a really nice camera, and somehow fight my way into the realm of respectable photography. I could then either be a travel photographer (and writer, there's no way I could travel and not write), or photograph weird inner-city wildlife like deformed pigeons and tame rats. I have no idea where this idea came from, but my dark and twisty brain really likes it. Photography would be so much fun.
5) Re-apply to grad schools, except this time for marine biology. Like Woods Hole and Scripps. Be scientist. Study whales, like I planned in the second grade.
6) Stay here and work on PhD and write a novel. Publish novel, become horribly rich, drop out. Become writer.

Most of these options seem to be horribly flawed in at least one way. Several of them, I know, are completely inviolate (that's a word, right? too lazy to look it up).

In the end, I don't even know why I bother updating about this sort of thing. I know in my heart that, even if being here is utterly wrong for me, I'm too weak to take any action on that decision. I've made my choice in coming here, and am too terrified of being left alone and starving in the cold to leave my current career path. I have no money and so much debt as it is; how could I possibly end the only income I've ever had to throw myself at a dream that may turn out to fail horribly? Or that I may turn out to be bored with? Perhaps I underestimate myself, and I'd be bored to tears as a florist or photographer. I know that spring break is boring me to tears....

I can't help but wonder if all of this insanity and upheaval over HIM is because I'm really all insane and upheaved about ME. I think I'm projecting. I think my own life is a crazy mixed-up confusing mess right now, and I'm living something I'm not sure I believe in (haven't I always yelled at people who don't follow their dreams?), and I'm transferring all of that upsetness over to him so that I'll have something concrete to be frustrated at.

I'm angry. I want to throw things. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure I'm mad at myself. I shouldn't have made the decision to come here, and once I did I should have given myself over to it completely. And since I haven't, I should make up my damn mind about what I want to do, and then I should have the balls to follow through with it and DO something about my misery. I'm so mad at my own unwillingness to help myself. That's a quality I despise in other people, and it makes me livid to see it in myself. AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH.
oceantheorem: (summer and cat)
Didn't make it to either yoga or climbing yesterday. Blech. Oh well, with the bruised hip it's probably better that I didn't go.

In the last two months, since getting back from Christmas break, I've started
*knitting
*listening to NPR
*going to yoga
I think this means I'm officially an adult. If nothing else, I can always say that Yale made me finally grow up. Hopefully I didn't skip everything after my early twenties and go straight into being a grandma, but eh.

My rotation ends next week. I'm meeting with another professor later this morning to discuss whether I can do my third rotation with her. I should look up what she does again, so I have something to say if she asks me why I'm interested. *sigh* Lately I've been wondering again if I'm crazy and if science was a stupid idea. I think it's time for spring break; I'm worn out and slightly depressive and I think I really just need to turn off my brain and sleep for a few days. One more week!

I looked at plane tickets yesterday afternoon on Southwest. It's ridiculously cheap to fly round trip from Hartford to San Jose right now. If I wasn't already freaking out about how I'm going to afford my taxes, I'd so have purchased tickets right then and there. Wouldn't it just feel so good to spend my brain-off-and-sleeping days lying on Cowell's Beach? Or on the concrete outside the Science Library? Oh my god, Santa Cruz is getting to the beautiful time of year. The cherry trees will be blooming soon; that's my favorite part. The road up to campus will smell like lilacs soon, and the ocean will lose that blurry gray color it probably has right now and will take on a painful bright blue shine. I love spring in California.

Spring in New England is still, supposedly, two months off. It snowed a few days ago, and the wind chill has had the temperatures in the negatives. The desire to spend my spring break DRIVING to California is kind of absurd, but definitely there. I'd probably spend more in gas than I would on a plane ticket, though. At least driving is an active thing; I'd feel like I was doing something. For some reason, right now I feel like I'm not doing anything. I feel like I'm letting life happen to me.

I need to go skydiving.
oceantheorem: (summer and cat)
As usual, I don't have any coherent thoughts, I just wanted to write.

At the recruitment party last night, I wore a tank top under a zip-up sweatshirt, because I've run out of warm things to wear and have learned that two or three California shirts equal one Connecticut shirt. After a couple of beers, I got too warm for the sweatshirt, so I took it off and realized that, for the first time since last summer, I was wearing just a tank top. It felt wonderful. I felt like I was back in California. I felt so light. Warm clothing is so heavy and restrictive! I dunno why it was such a huge deal, but I guess it also sort of reinforced that feeling in me of still being a Californian; underneath all these warm Connecticut clothes, I am still the weird neurotic tank top-wearing California girl I enjoyed being. I definitely feel like a different person here most of the time, and since I was really happy with the person I was becoming in California, sometimes that's a sad thing. Every once in a while, when I discover that the California part of me is still there, it makes me very happy.

Anyway. I really need to get to the laundromat. I'm washing EVERYTHING today, blankets and sheets and the blanket that thinks it's a rug, and when I get home I'm going to vaccuum and wash dishes and sweep the kitchen and bathroom and my apartment will be CLEAN all over for the first time since I moved in. I'm looking forward to it.

Part II

Jan. 5th, 2007 09:39 am
oceantheorem: (Default)
Anyway, where was I? )
oceantheorem: (I am volatile chemistry)
Let me preface this by saying that I am drunk, and therefore anything I update about cannot be held against me.

In the last couple of days, a lot has happened. I walked several miles Thursday night, alone, in the cold, and saw the luminaria on the Green and sat in front of a church and thought about my life and where it's going and whether or not I'm happy here. And I'm not. And maybe I'm just not used to New England, and maybe I left the real me behind in Santa Cruz, tipsy on a beach on a May afternoon after a day of climbing and a bit of drinking at the Seabright Brewery. But even so, maybe this just isn't the right place for me. I'm not fitting in here, I don't feel at home here. Would I feel more at home at UCSF? Did I make the wrong decision?

It snowed yesterday. And it was windy and the powder blew straight into my face and stung my cheeks. Maybe I was wrong to be excited for winter?

I also learned how to knit yesterday, and am now on my way to making a scarf. I feel very... domestic.

Anyway. There's an 8-10 page paper for 603 I haven't chosen a topic for yet, and Monday we're getting take-home exams for 602, and 625 has a shit-ton of stuff coming up, so I'm going to go get some sleep and try to think of sunny things. I hadn't realized I liked the sun so much, but damn I miss the temperate nature of California. Right, anyway, I was saying--I'm going to bed.

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