oceantheorem: (castle water)
 We own a house!

This has been exhausting.

Good, but exhausting.

So far, homeownership can be characterized as "you must drive 30 minutes several times a week to meet contractors at the house at the crack of dawn, and then drive 30 minutes back to get to work on time" and "make four thousand phone calls to contractors" and "please arrive with a check".

We've had asbestos removed. We've treated for termites. We are removing a wall between the living and dining rooms, and installing recessed lighting in those rooms, and then having the hardwood floors refinished, and repainting all the walls, and replacing the baseboards, and installing crown molding. I am told this is a "small" job. 

I've been spending spare moments daydreaming about how to landscape. I want ALL THE NATIVE POLLINATORS. I want native bees, and butterflies, and moths, and even pollinating flies, though I reserve the right to tell them they are ugly when they arrive. In the pursuit of this goal, I have compiled a massive spreadsheet of California native plants, and tried to focus on which ones might be native to my new county, to determine what to plant.

We also want chickens, and a vegetable garden, so I have tabs in the spreadsheet for plants for those purposes (cucumbers and nasturtiums are natural de-wormers for chickens, did you know?). 

I deleted my LJ today. I am sad. But all the content is here, so there is nothing lost. Still sad though.
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: (airplane)
So, I spent the weekend in Reno. And before that I spent Christmas and New Year's here in New Haven, largely by myself, and had a fabulous vacation during which I said I would go to work but really just sat around the house playing Warcraft and watching a TON of West Wing. And I got a kitten. She's a very tiny 11-month-old orange tabby whom I have finally decided to name Claire, although she was very nearly a Thomasina and a Guinevere. If I am not completely exhausted by the end of this post, I'll upload some pictures.

Christmas was great. I'm really glad I decided to stay here instead of spending it with my parents. I had a very low-key day. I cooked a turkey and had three of my labmates over, and we ate a ton of food and drank homemade eggnog and two bottles of wine and then watched the Emperor's New Groove. We also played cards and sat around talking for a while. I've got amazing labmates, and this is by far the best Christmas on memory. No stress, no pressure, no worrying about spending money on gifts people may or may not like. The week after was pretty similar. I didn't go into lab, even though I really should have. I think I really needed the time off (I think I could really use a decade off, after quals), and I didn't even have the energy to feel guilty about slacking (which is really saying something!!). I went cat-hunting for three days after Christmas and finally brought Claire home on December 30th.

For New Year's, Aaron had a couple people over, and we ate pizza and drank really terrible vodka and I learned how to play Guitar Hero. I'm fantastically bad at Guitar Hero. It was a great New Year's, and for the first year EVER I did not cry AND for the first year ever I had someone to kiss at midnight. It was great. Again, it was low-key and very relaxing and I just don't know why more people don't avoid going home for the holidays.

I went home on Thursday, just to spend this weekend with my parents and Elena, and we had a pretty good time. There was a huge blizzard on Friday and into Saturday, so Saturday morning we took Elena sledding, which really meant Phil pulled her up and down a small hill in a sled, while she yelled in her tiny two-year-old voice, "More? More?" Then she spent the rest of the weekend yelling, "No!! No!!!!" which we finally realized meant, "Snow," or, more accurately, "Please bring me a bowl of snow so I can eat it."
All in all, it was a pretty decent weekend. I had a couple of really good conversations with my mom, and I think I have largely decided that I'm sticking it out until the end of the semester and then I'm saying Screw You to graduate school and am finding something better to do with my life. I have no idea what that Something Better will be, or if I'll end up just taking a one-year leave of absence or a permanent opt-out, but at any rate it was neat to talk about leaving school with my mom and not have her tell me flat-out that it's a terrible idea and I'm wasting my life. We watched the series finale of Gilmore Girls Sunday night before I left and we both cried. It was a good bonding thing. I think we're doing better now.

Anyway, I feel a lot better now. Stuff with my mom is on the mend, my little sister is exponentially more fun than the last time I saw her and is clearly a brilliant little kid, I've decided I'm getting out of this miserable miserable grad school experience, I bought a cat, and I currently have a very good relationship with Aaron. I think my life is still in SERIOUS need of some shaping up and taping back together, but for this moment right now, I'm okay. I am not a trainwreck. At how many points in my life have I really been able to say that I'm not a trainwreck? It's kinda nice.

Unexpected babbling (and a strange dearth of commas) about the above decision that should maybe be in a friends-locked post but isn't going to be, so deal with it. )

I'm gonna go make some more tea now.
oceantheorem: (emperor's new groove turned into a cow)
I'm home.

The trip was great.

We did go through the Wind Cave in South Dakota, and then over to Mt. Rushmore, and then through the Badlands. We made it to the edge of South Dakota and camped there for the night, then drove through Minnesota and up to St. Paul the next morning. That afternoon we wandered around the Mall of America (civilization! at its... worst...), and saw Knocked Up in the mall theatre. Not as funny as I thought it was going to be... Actually, I think the movie sort of traumatized me. I was in a weird mood for several days afterward.

After Minnesota, we drove through Wisconsin and up through the little arm bit of Michigan and across the Mackinac Bridge into the top of the mitten part of Michigan. We hung out in Mackinaw City for two days, did a bit of shopping, and spent an entire afternoon laying in the grass in a park next to Lake Huron, reading in the sun. THAT was vacation. That was nice.

After Mackinaw City, we drove down through Michigan a bit and then over into Ontario. We didn't have too much trouble crossing the border, despite not having passports or birth certificates. They grilled us on how we knew each other and what we wanted into Canada for, then stamped our piece of paper and sent us on our way. We camped outside of Toronto that night, then got up the next morning and drove to Niagara Falls. We agreed that the Canadian side of Niagara is much, much better than the American side. Then we drove back into the States (more grilling), and thus ended our brief Canadian venture. Except for all the signs being in kilometers, it was pretty much exactly like the United States. (The last time I was in Canada was when I was 8, and I didn't remember much except the Edmonton Mall and the Peace Gardens.)

In Niagara, we realized we were only 8 or 9 hours from New Haven, so we went ahead and came all the way back. We got in Friday night instead of today. We had dinner with two of my friends, so Ann got to meet them, and then yesterday we had dinner with two more, and this morning we had brunch with another. Hopefully now she'll finally know who I'm talking about all the time...
We also wandered around downtown New Haven a bit yesterday, and we're pretty sure we saw two of Harrison Ford's stunt doubles. They're filming the fourth Indiana movie on the Yale Campus, so there are film crews and road blocks EVERYWHERE, but we walked down to the Green and watched them shoot a bit of a scene early yesterday afternoon. There were people dressed up in 1950s college-type clothes lounging on the Green or walking around. They were the background. The actual scene had someone driving a motorcycle by with Harrison Ford's stunt double on the back. They drove just a little past the Green and then through Phelps Gate into Old Campus, where we couldn't see them anymore. It was kinda cool, there were 50s cars EVERYWHERE in New Haven, and Chapel St had actually been completely transformed for about a block--all the storefronts had been made up to look like 1950s shops. The local Starbucks was posing as a bar, and had a Guinness poster in the window. It was pretty cool.

Anyway, it's good to be home. Hopefully more updates will come.

Oh yeah, and I also got my final secret pal package waaaaay back in Reno, and I need to post pictures of that... (Thank you Emily!! I'd read both books within a week of picking up the package, and I love them!) Official update to come.

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