oceantheorem: (coffee life)
I'm not sure anything in particular really needs to be written, but it's nearly noon, and I'm at work with nothing to do, and I am bored, and I want to write.

We found a new place to live and started moving in earlier this week. Unfortunately, our gorgeous, beautiful, spacious new house (which we'll be sharing with three housemates) attacked me on the first night, and I had to get my kneecap x-rayed on Monday to make sure I hadn't shattered it. I'm mostly fine now, and am off the crutches already, but my knee is still very sore, and stairs in particular are still problematic. So I'm not doing much at work today. Just sitting. It's better than sitting in the new house without anything at all to do - at least there is internet here, and I had a long chat with Ulf this morning about science - but it's still pretty boring. So I might as well catch up on writing and other creative pursuits.

Overall, life is really good. We love the new house. I'm still very much in love with San Francisco, and am thrilled to be moving to an area that will test that love a little less - we're leaving the high-crime, filthy, noisy downtown/SoMa area and will no longer have crackheads and other bums screaming in the alley outside our apartment every night. The new house is on a street with a bunch of other houses, and the only noises I heard last night were a cat yowling and a dog barking. I can handle these noises.

Also, there is a coffee shop literally across the street. This is bliss.

Our social calendar has been delightfully full lately. We've had board game nights and hiking excursions and dinners with friends. We're both pretty happy with our social circle here. It feels solid and supportive. I'm so glad we moved out here. I miss our Michigan friends, but California is so great in so many ways....

Let's see... what else is new? Jim went Paleo, and has stopped eating all grains and sugar. He's lost a lot of weight. I worry about how much protein he's eating and how he avoids any carbohydrates at all, but he says he'll stop being so drastic about it once he gets back to his target weight (and he's nearly there). I have not gone Paleo, though I am at Jim's mercy for dinner since he's the cook in our family, and I have also tried to cut out sugar. I've lost about fifteen pounds this summer, kind of accidentally. I guess sugar is a lot worse for weight than I had thought. I now weigh what I did in high school, which is shocking (and delightful!). I had to buy new pants. And shirts. (Woe is me, right? How terrible. I just wish we actually had a budget that allowed for a new wardrobe right now.)

Yeah. I think that's it for now. I'm not feeling terribly introspective at the moment. Just wanted to get down a snapshot of where life is at the moment. 
oceantheorem: (emperor's new groove feel the power)
 Guys! GUYS! Oh man. I'm posting in my journal AGAIN.

Life is really, really, really good right at this moment. I wanted to write it down, to capture it, to keep it forever. It is WARM outside (I don't know where spring went. It snowed here two weeks ago, and now it is 80 outside and muggy and LOVELY) and summer is here. The sliding glass door is open. I'm cooking a lovely marinated steak, and an artichoke. I'm drinking beer. I got a birthday card from Jim's parents that is signed, "Love, Mom and Dad." My friend Anne sent me a hilarious knitted whip (she's such a Slytherin, deep down) for my birthday. My best friend Ann sent me a box of incredibly good dark chocolate (does it GET any better than a box of dark chocolate??). I am marrying the most wonderful, sweetest, cleverest, offbeat man I have ever met.

Okay. Maybe the beer is getting to me a bit. I'm definitely feeling sappy. But life feels so, so good right now. Everything, in this moment, is just right.
oceantheorem: (gg rl strings)
After two weeks, I'm still not sure how to start a conversation - or a livejournal post - telling people I'm engaged. So there! I'm engaged! Jim proposed on April 24th.

I should probably type up the whole story, which I have written in my paper journal, but I'm not up to it at the moment. I just got home from five days in Reno with my mom, and I'm wiped out, but I thought I'd update while I had the inspiration to at least get something recorded.

Hmm. I had more thoughts in my head, but I think they're slipping away. It's past my bedtime. Poke me and I'll try to get something better written in the next few days.
oceantheorem: (yay omg yay kermit)
 Good things are coming up! I'm starting to get excited.

I finally booked plane tickets to go see my mom in May. My original plan was to call her, like, Thursday while she was at work (the Thursday before Mother's Day - and my birthday) and ask her what her Mother's Day plans were. When she said "nothing" or "just hanging out" I was gonna reply, "Aw, that's too bad. I wish we could go out to dinner or something." And then she'd come home and I'd be IN THE KITCHEN and we'd go out to dinner and it would be totally awesome.

You know, planning surprises is REALLY HARD. So she knows about the visit now, but I'm going for a nice long five-day visit, and we both have the opportunity to make sure we get all those days off work, so we'll have plenty of time to spend hanging out together. I haven't seen her in a year and half, which is absurd and totally unacceptable, so I'm really really looking forward to this visit.

There's a bunch of other stuff on the horizon for this summer. First off is a casual get-together with House Cup friends in June - people from around Michigan and some of the connecting states are going to meet up for an afternoon potluck type thing. I've met most of the people who are coming, so it will be a nice chance to chat with some friends I don't see often.

July gets really crazy. Or, the third weekend in July is crazy. The Michigan Brewer's Guild Beer Festival is on the 22nd and 23rd, and I've been looking forward to it since LAST July. I've been to the festival the last two years, and it's just awesome. It's such a fun gathering, and there are hundreds of different beers to taste. The atmosphere is fabulous, and the company is even better.  This year, sadly, Jim's sister is getting married that Saturday, so we won't be able to spend the whole day there, but I do plan on taking most of that Friday off work so we can spend all of Friday at the festival.

August looks clear at the moment, except for maybe a fiber festival on the other side of the state...

The first weekend of September is going to be the highlight of the summer this year. I've been talked into attending DragonCon in Atlanta. There are several House Cuppers (Slytherins, actually) who live there, and my House Cup friend from San Francisco is going to be meeting up with them down there too, so it was really inevitable that they'd talk me into going. Plus, James Marsters, Felicia Day, and Anne McCaffrey will be there. It's a huge convention for nerds. It's going to be four days of epic drunken House Cup nerdery.

In the meantime, the sun is slowly returning to these parts. It's making me cheerier and giving me more and more energy. I feel less like sitting in the dark in my apartment and hiding from the world, and more like MAKING things and DOING things and SEEING people and GOING places. I need to start channeling all that energy somewhere (and I miss living in California, where I remember this energy being so much more powerful...).

This evening I started working on a costume for our Friday night gaming group. One of our members just had a baby (and was our DM, and is not going to be attending for the forseeable future), so we've switched to a new campaign for the next several weeks. I'm playing a witch, the kind who lives in a secluded hut and has branches in her hair and is a little crazy but makes the most effective potions you've ever tasted.  So I scored some free glass test tubes from work and spent this evening brewing up the perfect potion. I settled on water, butter, xanthan gum, and food coloring.  Then I had to figure out how to cap the tubes, which was a bit more of a challenge, but wax-soaked cut-up-sweater-squares glued and then tied on seem to have done the trick. None of them are leaking yet!

Now I just need a stuffed weasel (on its way overnight from amazon.com!) and a black skirt I can shred and tie branches into...
oceantheorem: (spirit beast)
I recently decided that I needed more motivation to do stuff I should really be doing on a daily or weekly basis. Apparently "being good" is not a motivator for me. At all.  

So I've kind of developed a (largely arbitrary) system of points and rewards. I get a point for doing each thing I should be doing (I have a spreadsheet with about ten different columns for specific tasks), and can spend the points on stuff I really shouldn't be doing. For instance, if I leave for work in the morning before 7:40 (I usually leave around 8:20, but I really do need to get out of the house earlier), I get a point. If I leave for work before 7:40 four days in a row, I can spend $10 (and 10 points) on anything I want from Etsy.

The rewards all cost some number of points, which helps force me to choose which things I want to spend my money on (instead of getting sushi once a month and buying yarn once a month and trying to save up money for a spinning wheel, I now have to choose - sushi with these points? yarn? or save those points for a wheel?)  and also takes away all that nagging guilt I constantly have about doing "fun" things. Now I know I've earned them.

I felt pretty ridiculous about this system (what am I, a third grader? I have to bribe myself to leave for work on time??), so I wasn't planning to tell anyone at all about it, until I heard a radio interview on NPR that reminded me of a TED talk I watched a couple months ago... and then, two days after I heard the NPR interview, I read an interview on a gaming blog I follow. All three were starring the same person, Jane McGonigal, who just published a book called "Reality is Broken". Her thesis statement is that games are useful to society and to human culture, and that gamers are a vast, untapped resource, a population of people who are very very good at solving problems and are not afraid to fail. Her work also touches on the concept that video games are a lot of fun, and reality isn't, and there should be a way to change that - to make reality more fun, more engaging, and more rewarding - and to make failing less of a risk in real life. It's an interesting set of concepts. She posits that if we could turn real life into a series of games, we'd all be happier - and a lot more productive.

This idea isn't totally new, either. There is a game called FoldIt I've been aware of for a couple of  years. It's a game designed by biochemists to help get solutions to the protein folding problem (which is, basically, how do all the proteins in your body know how to fold up into precise, perfect 3-dimensional structures, every single time? especially when the desired conformation is not always the lowest energy?). Players learn a little bit about the basics of protein folding, then play the game to help solve more difficult conformations. 

There's also a website called ChoreWars. The basic concept is that a family can sign up, and each person gets to choose an avatar (something D&Dish, like a ranger or a druid or whatever). As each person does chores, they earn experience points and treasure. I thought about signing up for this, except I don't have anyone to play against...

Jane also talks about a game where anyone in the world could parse through data coming out of Haiti just after the earthquake, to determine relevance and origin of location of text messages and other information, to help find and help survivors. Really! People from all over the world sorted through this information in order to directly help other people! Games can be very meaningful, in addition to providing entertainment. 

Entertainment and happiness shouldn't be looked down upon, though. It should be okay to enjoy games. Life in general should be more enjoyable. It shouldn't be weird for me to strive for a streak of early mornings or to encourage myself to bring my lunches instead of buying them, and to be rewarded for accomplishing those things.

I listened to this video this evening while gathering herbs in Deepholm (the realm of earth elementals, underneath the world of Azeroth). I was also chatting with my boyfriend, who was taming raptors (while sitting in a semi truck in another state).  I think the story at the very end, about why games were invented in the first place, and how they're serving the same function now, is particularly interesting (skip to about 37 minutes in if you just want to hear that bit).

Because I stayed up and listened to this, I didn't get a point for going to bed by 11. But if I make it out of the house by 7:40 tomorrow, I'll still hit my 4-day streak and get my reward. 

What are your thoughts?
oceantheorem: (I believe in science)
 Life! Summer!

Both are good.

We went to the Michigan Brewer's Guild Summer Beer Festival last weekend. We went last year and had an absolute blast. This year the weather was... well, pretty terrible, actually - it was so humid and the ground was so wet it was like festivaling in a bog instead of a park - but it was at least sunny, and the beer was incredible. We tasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 beers in less than 5 hours, got blissfully, happpily drunk, and were able to enjoy many of our samples sitting on a dock dangling our feet in the wonderfully, refreshingly cold river.  I got sunburned. I learned that I love, love, love dark beers. The darker, the better. I will be taking this knowledge to the adorable little liquor store I discovered about twenty yards from our apartment, which has apparently been there the entire time we've lived here.  I'm observant like that.

Yesterday we went swimming at Jim's parent's house again. We've been over there once or twice a week all summer, and it's been heaven. It's still not quite enough for me to be getting into the shape I want to be in, which is frustrating, but I'm not quite motivated yet to do anything about that.  Anyway, Jim's grandma was in town for the week, so it was nice to see her one last time before she heads home to Florida. I think we'll be taking her up on her offer to go visit her once it starts snowing here.

This weekend is CBfest, something like the sixth annual.  It's basically a giant party for the members of the WoW guild I'm still in. I went last year despite not even being in the guild, and it was a blast.  They're great people, some of whom drive in from some pretty far-flung states.  It'll be a great time.

Work is amazing. Not much to say, but it's amazing. I love this job. SCIENCE!

Haven't been knitting a whole lot. I'm almost through a sock, but that's about it.  Dunno where all my knitting mojo went!  I think it's still back in 2009.  Oh well; I can't really blame it. Hopefully it will catch up with me as fall approaches.  Fall, after all, means fiber festivals!  And fiber festivals mean road trips to New England!
oceantheorem: (grad school)
 Oh. My.

Today. was. amazing.

Yesterday was my first day at my new job. I got acquainted with almost all of the lab members, learned my way around the building, met the mice, attended a lab meeting, got my own desk and lab bench... it was busy. The people are great. I love them. The lab meeting was a little over my head; I've clearly got some work to do to get back up to speed scientifically. And I never was very good about remembering details, so I think I'm going to compile a list of key terms and genes and concepts I need to know, and just keep it somewhere.

Today I had new employee orientation at 7:30 am. This was a bit ridiculous considering my commute is more than 45 minutes.  Oh well. It was a beautiful morning, and I'm so excited about this job it wasn't too hard to get up.  The orientation itself was actually really useful; I learned all about the benefits package available to me, which is substantial. I learned about parking and the shuttle system. That's going to take some time to get familiar with. I don't have the advantage of walking all over campus to classes to get familiar with the buildings, roads, and shuttle routes, so figuring out where my shuttle goes and where it stops was a little confusing today.

The lab went out to lunch today to say goodbye to a recent graduate. It was a great lunch. This lab is full of incredible people. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this job and to be able to be back in a scientific environment with such bright, energetic people.

I actually got to do some bench research this afternoon. I learned a bit of the basics of how to work with and dissect mice (I'll leave the specifics of what we did today to my paper journal, for those of faint stomachs...) and teeeeeny tiny forceps.  What the lab does actually has to be done under a microscope. After all that time with yeast and cell culture, I thought mice were big, but no. :-P

All in all I was "at work" for almost 11 hours today. It flew by. I'm exhausted, but I was never once bored, and never once did I look at the clock wondering when I could go home.

I feel so, so, so incredibly lucky to have been given this second chance to get back into science. I don't think I fully understood when I left Yale how hard it would be to come back (well, granted, I also didn't know the economy was about to collapse). I'm grateful for the time I spent out in "the real world", because now I realize how much I belong in the lab. The contrast was sharp going in both directions (both leaving Yale and getting this job) and it's quite clear to me now that I am a scientist, all the way through, and always will be.  I still, good grief, have no idea what I want to make of that with the rest of my life, but I know now at least that I belong in a lab.

I belong in a lab!
oceantheorem: (do not forget to live)
 Look! An entry!

I got a new job.  It is an awesome new job.  I will no longer be formatting, copying and pasting, and writing diplomatically phrased emails to idiots.

I will be a lab manager for a research lab at the University of Michigan. I'll be in charge of some undergrads who will be in charge of some transgenic mouse colonies. I'll be keeping the lab running smoothly and safely. I'll be doing my own research project. :-)  I start at the end of June.

Lately I've been made kind of painfully aware of how not anonymous the internet is, so I'm trying to be as diplomatic about this announcement as possible. There are things about my current job I do like, and I will miss my coworkers. (Most of them.)

But really, I am absolutely thrilled about this new job. It is an AMAZING opportunity, and I cannot wait to get back into science and research. I MISS doing research. I miss being on the cutting edge. Just being around the cutting edge. SEEING the cutting edge.  I miss the university environment and the culture of academic thought. I miss being challenged every day.  I miss being able to get up and walk around as part of my job, and not being stuck sitting at a computer all day every day (I've gained weight since I moved to Michigan. Not a ton, but 10 pounds feels like a ton on my frame).

This does push back plans to move to California. /cry

Yesterday I went to Jim's parents' house to go swimming. The weather was beautiful for the first time in over a week (damn you, you stupid rain. stupid midwest cold rainy summer of annoyingness!), and I desperately needed the exercise.  Of course, they ended up inviting me to stay for dinner, so I got to hang out with his parents and his brother and sister. It was a fun evening. I threw a frisbee for their three dogs for about an hour (one of the golden retrievers will take flying leaps into the pool, over and over and over again. It's hilarious. We finally had to put the frisbee away because she was wheezing and still trying to leap into the pool), and then did laps for a while. I definitely feel less sluggish today.

It occurred to me that these people will very likely be my in-laws someday. I don't know why this didn't occur to me, y'know, a year ago when we were talking about rings. Maybe it's because yesterday was actually the first time I've been over there without Jim (other than when we lived there, obviously, though actually Jim was almost always around even then).  It's a very interesting thought, like some part of the nebulous future has kind of gelled up a little bit.  It's comforting, but disconcerting at the same time, in kind of the same way deciding on a graduate school disconcerted me. It's... you know what, this is probably worthy of its own entry.

Jim is taking me to Mackinac Island for the weekend (or so he says. he won't even be home until tomorrow morning, so we'll see how the schedule turns out in reality).  I've been to Mackinac the town, but never the island, which is apparently a second small town that's very old-timey. There are no cars on the island. I'm not sure why this is a big deal, but every time someone mentions Mackinac Island, they mention that there are no cars.  I think it has to do with the Michigan "cars are god" mentality; lack of cars is a huge thing.  Anyway, said town/island are also famous for fudge, and I think I can make Jim take me on a horse-drawn carriage ride, and this weekend is the start of some sort of Lilac Festival, so it should be a good time.  

In gaming news, I've been playing Oblivion and WoW.  Oblivion is interesting in that it's taken a lot of the good parts of Morrowind, added in a few new good things, and then a few new ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE things.  The inventory and stats interface is just freakin' awful.  They also removed the teleportation spells, but they made it so you can instantly travel to certain key areas on the map you've been to before. They turned lockpicking and speechcraft into minigames, both of which are just awful in implementation, but I do like the concepts in theory.  I also seem to just completely suck at playing, so almost every mob I've encountered so far (other than like, rats) has been really hard for me to kill. I'm clearly doing something wrong.  But anyway. It hasn't fully pulled me in yet, but, as with Morrowind, I find myself wanting to play it just so I can level alchemy (why yes, I do need to get back into bench science) and spellcasting. Sigh.

In WoW I've been playing pretty casually, working on some random old-world goals (like getting every cooking recipe in the game, including that annoying purple one that takes you through an extremely painful quest line and reputation grind), leveling a few alts, and actually reading quest text. The next expansion is going to drastically change the game world, and I wanted to see the Alliance side of things before it goes away.  I also stumbled across a guild made entirely for low-level dwarven hunters, so I created one and joined up and it's been a lot of fun so far (and it's made me want to play my level 80 hunter more). They have a large event planned for tonight, so it should be interesting to see what they came up with for 300 level 19 hunters to do.

Other than that... Not much is going on. I made a small silk shawl/scarf thing last month, but haven't knit much else. I've been reading a little bit, but nothing really notable.  Jim is gone a lot, and I miss him.  Claire is going insane with the weather being warmer and the porch door being open. She's started clawing the screen. It's far enough gone now I'm almost not bothering to stop her anymore; we're going to have to replace it either way. Sigh. That cat...
She actually woke me up the other night trying to chew on some dangly earrings I'd fallen asleep wearing. That's right. She was trying to chew on them while they were IN MY EARS.

It's overcast again. It better not rain in Mackinac this weekend.
oceantheorem: (Default)
 I've managed to write in my paper journal almost every day for the last ten days.  I didn't write over the weekend, while Jim was home, but it's surprisingly easy to stay up an extra ten minutes each weeknight to make myself write down the day and date.  That's pretty much all I'm committing myself to--I just have to open the journal, write the day of the week and the date, and then I have fulfilled my goal.  Of course, by that time I always figure I might as well write a sentence, and so far that first sentence has always led to at least one full page.  It ended up resulting in two pages last night, when I really did think for a few minutes all I was going to get written was the date.

So I dunno about updating here, but I really am making an effort to start writing and thinking again. I use writing as a way to get my mind working, and to sort through problems in my life and in my head.  This journal has sort of come to feel like a way to keep distant friends and family alerted as to what I'm up to, but I've never been very good at correspondance, and it seems hard sometimes to write an update on goings-on when I don't even know if anyone is still reading.  So I guess the point is that if I'm going to write in this journal again (and I don't ever want this journal to fully die--I really do like the livejournal format, and I have some good contacts solely here), I need to stop thinking of it as a blog designed to keep a record of my activities, and more as a forum for discussion about major concerns.

I think I knew all that already, but it helps to write it out.  (See!! Case in point.)

I had a meeting with my boss on Monday to have my annual review.  I don't think I've ever had an annual review before (well, I've never had a real job before...), so it was pretty terrifying.  But it went really, really well. He is giving me a (very small) raise, and thinks I'm doing well, except for a few small points I was already aware of (like the fact that I tend not to do things he asks me to do if I think they're unimportant).  So I'll try to shore up those points.  I also managed to find the guts to tell him I'll be looking for a new job within the next year (though I did take a slightly balls-less (what word am I thinking of that means balls-less? I'm drawing a blank) approach to it and say it would be a California job), which he took really well.  He is a pretty good boss, and seems to understand that employees eventually move on.
Hopefully I will actually be able to find something.  I would like to find a lab job somewhere.

I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.  This is greatly unsettling to me.  I used to have everything figured out, and I still feel like I'm drifting and directionless, and I don't know what to do about it.  Are there exercises you go through?  "Eat 3 ounces of mustard, stab yourself with a sewing needle in your third toe on your left foot, dance around in a clockwise circle outside while wearing something green, and then the meaning of your life will be revealed to you."
Meanwhile I am only able to compile a list of closed doors, and that gets disheartening, even when I've willingly closed them myself.

Okay, back to work--I've been unable to focus all day today, and was hoping writing would help get me back into a productive state of mind.  Time to go try it out.
oceantheorem: (coffee life)
I've been meaning to write a Decade in Review post since the end of December, but, well, y'know. I'm lazy and all.

So. Some quick summaries, with vague highlights as they stand out in my memory. I'd look things up, but all my paper journals (dating back to freakin' 1992) are still in Reno in my parents' shed in the backyard. So yeah, all from (terrible) memory.

The end of my freshman year of high school. Finally got over my first love. Had the whole David not-dating saga. Slapped a boy for the first time. Got flowers for my 15th birthday from Michael--the first time a boy ever gave me flowers. Taught archery to other girls at summer camp. Joined the yearbook staff. Met and fell in love with George.

Sophomore/junior year of high school. Got braces. Turned sweet 16 and had a Renaissance-themed birthday. Went to France with my mother (best two weeks ever). Became Assistant Editor of the yearbook and really did the job of editor-in-chief. Had alcohol without parental supervision for the first time--didn't like it.

Junior/senior year of high school. George at one point said something nice to me and I got teary-eyed. To cover, I told him I was a sentimental sap and cried at everything, including stupid commercials. Confused, he looked at me and said, "Canned peaches, on sale now." I laughed and pretended that yes, this was the sort of thing I would cry at.
George graduated and I spent the entire ceremony sobbing. Afterward we met up and he said he had a gift for me. I was trying to hide how upset I was and was presenting a smiling face, until he pulled out a can of peaches and smacked it down on the concrete wall next to us. "Look, a can of peaches!" I burst into tears.
I became editor-in-chief of the yearbook. Mom took me to visit colleges. I fell in love with Santa Cruz. I remember very little else of this period.

Senior year of high school. Got my first kiss in January. Cried when I got my acceptance letter to UCSC, which I opened in the yearbook room, where I lived. Braces off. Convinced George to come home from college to take me to prom. Graduated. Sobbed to be leaving.
Spent the entire summer working 60-hour weeks at the video store. Made barely $2k.
Kissed George.
Failed to learn to surf.
Started college.
Met Jamie. World changed forever. Lost innocence.

End of first year of college. Was... 19, in so many ways. So immature, so full of passion, so very confused about life.
Got first lab job. Fell in love with organic chemistry. Changed life plan from marine biology to biochemistry.
Took a class with Harry Noller. Fell further in love with molecules and biochemistry.
Spent Christmas with Nanny.

Nanny died. World changed forever.
Nearly failed physics, a subject which to this day still does not make sense in my head.
Mom got pregnant. I had surgery to see if I had endometriosis and if my uterus was actually functional.
TAed for a high school program at UCSC.
Worst summer I've ever had.
Got back together with Jamie. Ran in the First Rain Naked Run (so glad I did that-definitely a Life Experience). Applied to graduate schools.

Got into Yale. FREAKED OUT. Sister born. Broke up with Jamie for NO GOOD REASON.
Had best spring quarter in the history of the world--climbed, drank local beer, learned photography, spoke French, casually flirted with amazingly hot French guy but never got anywhere. Turned 21.
Graduated from college a full year early. Bought a car and left everything I loved behind. Moved to Connecticut.
Had completely disastrous attempt at normal relationship.
Started graduate school. Hated it. Loved it. Could not make up mind.
Saw New York for the first time. Fell horribly in love with it.
Developed crush on guy both my close girl friends dated before I could make up my mind about whether I wanted to or not.
Learned to cook a turkey.
Learned to knit.

Continued to hate and love graduate school. Got very, very depressed.
Joined genetics lab. Still not sure why.
Enjoyed a six-month-long secret relationship that ultimately went nowhere but was a great experience anyway.
Was convinced to qualify early. This went badly.
Started a real relationship.
Bought a cat.

Decided to drop out of Yale. Spent six months actually working up the courage to do this. Was convinced to go on medication for depression--was horrified and relieved when it actually worked.
Went off medication as soon as humanly possible. Was relieved to not relapse into depression.
Left Connecticut, breaking ties. The day I left Connecticut is etched very painfully into my memory. I remember the temperature, the colors, the sounds... Mike, Eliz, Kristy, Emily, Andrew, I miss you all so much.
Drove back across country. Burst into tears when the Rockies came into view. Mountains!
Was taken in by amazing aunt and uncle. Got job in local university bookstore. Wondered where the hell life had gone wrong and what the hell I was doing with myself.
Got depressed.
Fell in love with Jim.

Fell further in love with Jim. Uncle diagnosed with all kinds of cancer. Moved to Michigan for lack of anywhere else to go. Got job as medical editor.
Wondered where the hell life had gone wrong and what the hell I was doing with myself.
Slowly got life back on track in my head.
Applied to graduate schools.
Managed not to destroy relationship, which still baffles (and delights!) me.
Knit 18 feet of garter stitch and learned to knit lace.
Started to feel like an adult.

Goals for 2010?
Get into UCSF. Knit more lace. Knit for other people. Stop being so selfish.
Hit quarter-century mark. Have giant party.
Move to California. Buy house. Be deliriously happy.
Start graduate school over again. Be incredibly stressed out. Drink coffee. Love every second.
Convince Jim we should get second cat.
oceantheorem: (cat toilet)
I had sooo much energy last night. I was really wound up and had a really hard time falling asleep. Finally I moved out to the couch and was out within 5 minutes (how does it do that?? it must be a magical couch).

Before that, my brain was just going and going and going with all the stuff that went on this week.

First, and dorkiest, there was a huuuuge content patch in WoW. We got a whole new dungeon to explore, and Tuesday night we made our first foray into it. It's much, much harder than the last one (yay! a challenge!). And it's a lot of fun. We spent 3 hours Tuesday night messing around and trying to learn the new fights and mechanics... and only got one boss down. Last night we went in there again to try to make more headway... and spent 3 hours practicing on one boss. Never killed him, though we got him to 5% twice and 3% once. It was actually a lot of fun. Everyone in there was excited about the new encounter, and we made noticeable progress in learning the fight, so it didn't feel like we were wasting our time (though I spent about 200 gold on repairs because we died so many times, and I think I used about 8000 arrows).

Second, I need a second jooooob. There is a dearth of legit writing/editing jobs at the moment, for whatever reason, so I think I might start looking at local bookstores/yarn shops. I mean, as long as I'm looking for something part time that I can schedule around the pathology textbook job, it might as well be something that would be pretty flexible. Bonus points if I can read and/or knit while I work!

Third, Jim and I have been tinkering with the idea of moving out. I'll need a second job, and he'll need a first job, but I think we've found a good place to go. Hopefully we can get the financial ducks in order and move into our own place. The place we like is a third floor 1-bedroom that gets a lot of sun in the afternoon and evening, looks out over a dirt road and a bunch of trees, allows cats for no extra money, and was recently renovated (new carpets, appliances, paint, doors, etc). And it's extremely reasonable. Also it's closer to D&D, which means we will only be spending half a million dollars every month in gas instead of a whole million dollars.
And I could have Claire back!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the nerdy WoW thing... our guild leader and I have had some friction lately, but Tuesday during the first run through the new dungeon we actually had a pretty good talk. It was really cool. Hopefully there will be more of that in the future. I don't think either of us is really entirely sure why we were fighting (I mean, I know what we were fighting about, but it was all stupid), so maybe this is a step back toward being friends. That would be cool.

Also, Jim bought me some yarn. It was on sale for $3 a ball on Knitpicks, so I got enough in black to make another Clapotis for myself. An elegant one I can wear to fancy places like operas and whatnot. Yaaay!

So yeah. Lots of fun stuff going on.


The one sad thing is that I took my blue mug to work on Tuesday. It's the mug I got in college, the smallish blue one that I had in the dorms... it was the first mug I got when I moved out, and I used it all through college as a coffee mug, water mug, tea mug, soy milk mug... I think I even drank rum out of it.
When I got home Tuesday and stepped out of the car, I dropped the mug on the ground. It broke into about 7 or 8 pieces. I tried to superglue it back together... but it was like trying to tape a stained glass window back together. The edges were all jagged, I was missing teeny tiny bits... it was just bad. So I said goodbye to it and threw it away.
I just thought it deserved a public acknowledgment of a mug's life well lived. It was a good mug. I will miss it.


I may have to go home early today (you know, I say that all the time, but I never end up actually going home early...). I'm too hyper to actually get any work done. It's taken me 2 hours to write this (partly because I'm trying to do work) because I can't keep my thoughts coherent for more than about 3 minutes. I don't know what's up with me today!

I like it though.
oceantheorem: (crazy but ok)
This has been one of those mornings when I keep making ridiculous promises to myself. "Okay, today I'm going to finish that second infant sweater. And then I'm going to start writing in my livejournal, and I'm gonna get back to writing every day. And then I'm going to finish knitting my mom's shawl, and Kayla's blanket, and then make lots of baby things for Kayla too. And then I'm going to write some scientific articles and submit them all over. And I'm going to call my dad and get him to tell me about his life so I can start writing his biography finally. And then..."

The one I keep coming back to is the urge to get back to writing in my journal every day. I miss doing that, and I miss being able to look back at any given day after five years and being able to see what I was going through and how I dealt with it. I've been terrible lately at actually putting ME into the journal; it's all been straight facts and very dry recordings of happenings. I guess it keeps getting harder and harder to be honest with a public journal. I don't know why that is... but I feel like, as I get older, I keep being pushed further and further into my shell and I want to share less and less with the world in general. I hate that tendency. I'm traditionally an open and emotional person, and I interact with the world through feelings and perceptions. It's just the last two or three years that have changed me to interact more with cold logic and a hard external shell. Damn you, Connecticut. Damn you for hardening me.

The funny thing is that someone this week accused me of "changing" over the last year--as if this were a terrible thing. I find this hysterical, because the further I get away from Yale, the more I feel like myself. Since the moment I dropped out, I've been getting stronger, more confident, happier, more introspective... and I've had more and more energy, willpower, and drive. I used to be such a ridiculously passionate person. I miss that. It was like I had a constant fire blazing inside me, driving me to do all sorts of amazing things, and it went out when I moved to Connecticut. I should have known immediately that I'd made the wrong choice... but without that inner motivation, it was hard to change my decision and leave.
Anyway, I've hashed all this out over and over again. No need for it right now.

I'm not really sure what the point of this entry is (am I ever?). Maybe I'm just recognizing another small step in the recovery of my personality. That little inner motivating voice is coming back, and it wants me to get out and DO things, and MAKE things, and be creative. It's a good thing.
Now I just have to remember how to focus it....


Mar. 5th, 2009 02:38 pm
oceantheorem: (Cassie)
Last night I had a dream. I don't really remember it, but I know there were ferrets in it. There were two ferrets, and they were trying to bite my hands, and I was screaming and asking, "Why??!! Why???!!!" until someone finally said, "Oh, they're looking for the bats." And then I replied, "Ooooh, the BATS, why didn't you just say so," and ran around a corner in whatever weird house I was in, unlatched something, and two bats tumbled out of the ceiling. The ferrets went nuts. I believe the bats perished.

So anyway. Life is moving along in the manner that it tends to do. I have a part time job as a medical editor for an online pathology textbook. Mostly I'm sort of a glorified secretary, but it's a good start and I like the company. I've been slacking about finding a second job to add to the mix, though. I need to get back on that....

The D&D campaign is... interesting. I'm playing an evil character, which I suck at. I have no idea how to be tricksy and secretive and tell lies, so in some ways it's very very frustrating. I do like my character, and I think it would be a lot of fun to write a novel from her point of view, but it's difficult to roleplay her in a live setting where I have to think on my feet. I have a very hard time putting myself in her shoes and figuring out how she'd react to any given situation.
Are there any good novels written from the point of view of the evil characters? I'd be interested in reading something like that.

My mom called the other day to talk to me about my dachshund, Cassie. We got her when I was 9. She was the most adorable little creature, and she was "mine," although Cassie never really managed to belong to anyone. She loved food more than anything else. And once she started to reach adulthood she wasn't so cute anymore; she has dachshund pattern baldness and is missing most of the hair on her ears and tail, which makes her look rather ratlike. Plus her nose is deformed. She's a weird-looking creature... but she was mine. In the last couple of years she's gone deaf, plus Buddy died, so she's been alone for the first time ever, and she'll be 15 this year. Mom said Cassie has stopped eating and appears to be in pain. Apparently she's "going downhill fast," so they have taken her to the vet and gotten her some pain medication and are trying to make her comfortable, but... she's not long for this world.
I want to go home to see her but I can't.

Also I still miss my cat.
I had a dream about a week ago that my parents lived a mile away from me and chastised me for never coming over to see my cat.

Jim and I have been casually discussing marriage, as something that will happen in the distant future, when we are financially stable and whatnot (and when we've been together more than 4 months...). We make (actually, mostly it's just me) lots of little comments about it. Last night I said something about Jim being "definitely husband material" juuuust before our raid started in Warcraft, and he replied, "Oh, remind me after the raid; I wanted to talk to you about that." Of course I immediately assumed that I was in trouble and that all my little comments have been freaking him out, or pressuring him, or he's changed his mind and hates me, or has randomly decided that marriage is a terrible idea, or, or, or... etc.

Turns out he wanted to know what style of engagement rings I like. So we spent an hour looking at rings on the internet in the small hours of this morning after the raid.

I like this one:
oceantheorem: (cat toilet)
I made it to Michigan, as most of you have probably already learned/guessed. It's a strange thing to have moved... east... to the cold barren wasteland of Michigan... but I'm no long in a long-distance relationship, and that's TOTALLY awesome. Living with Jim is very very easy.

I had an interview on Thursday but won't hear back about it until week after next. If anything exciting happens I'll definitely update here... but otherwise still no job.

Jim is going to start a D&D campaign with our mutual friends up here, so it turns out I got here just in time to make a character and jump in. Our first adventure is tomorrow and I'm really excited. I learned a few things from the six or eight weeks playing in Utah, so hopefully I've given my character a slightly stronger start for this campaign.
Jim also has a group of friends that decided to start up a campaign D&D-like game called Earthdawn, so at the last second we flipped through the handbook and created characters (mine is a 17" tall creature with wings, whose basic class description can be simplified to "warrior". I cannot WAIT to roleplay a 17" tall warrior) and went to the first adventure last night. There are NINE people in the party, which is just freaking absurd, but the people are all awesome, and the DM seems like a good DM so far. I laughed so hard the whole evening. They seem like my kind of people.

So at least up here it seems like there is a pretty decent social network, which is nice.

Not much else is new. I'm really, really, really, really, really sick of moving. I hate having things in boxes, scattered across different states. I hate not knowing how long I'm going to be in a place. I hate not knowing the streets. Hopefully I can be here for a while.

I miss Claire.
oceantheorem: (climber silhouette)
Some things have changed quite a bit in the last month or two, so I did most of this meme with the first 8 or 10 months of the year in mind.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Gave up. Dropped out of graduate school.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A real career and a life goal. Happiness.

7. What day from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day I left Connecticut was actually rather painful and will be difficult to forget.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Deciding to take action to force my life in a different direction because I was unhappy and not because I thought it was the thing I "should" be doing.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Choosing to drop out right before the economy crashed. Losing my sense of direction in life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Pretty severe depression for the first half of the year. Glad to have that past me.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmmmm. I bought Claire on Dec 30,2007. Can I count her as the 2008 best purchase?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hmmm. I think I'm going to abstain from comment on this and the next question.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, gas, rent.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Leaving Connecticut. And a certain new relationship. :-)

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Hmmmm. Dogtown Mines is the sound of driving west and trying not to feel guilty about leaving the east behind.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder?
Happier. With promise of continued improvement.

ii. Thinner or fatter?
Thinner. I'm not eating much these days.

iii. Richer or poorer?
Quite a bit poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Singing. Dancing. Trying to be a human being and not worrying so much about what I'm "supposed" to do with myself. I still need to learn to let go.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I'll be flying back to Utah on Christmas Eve, and spending Christmas here.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Uhhhhhh. This... ummmm.... ask me again on New Year's.

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Oh man, I love How I Met Your Mother. Weeds is really good, too. I miss Gilmore Girls. :-(

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read much at all in 2008, actually. I will be remedying that in 2009. (is that really how remedying is spelled?)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I think Darren Smith is actually a late 07 discovery, but I'm counting him anyway. I'll throw Blue October in there as well, just for the hell of it.

27. What did you want and get?
My personality and identity back from the vile clutches of the soul-crushing graduate program at Yale.

28. What did you want and not get?
I'm gonna leave Zach's answer here: "A job, a job, o yeah, and a job."

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Ummmm. I'm wracking my brain and I can't remember any of the films I saw this year.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 23. My friends threw me a surprise party. It was absolutely wonderful. My wife carried a cake through the rain for me.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A more satisfying conclusion to the drop-out-of-grad-school thing. i.e. a real career.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
The same as always. I wear what is comfortable. Jeans, t-shirts, college sweatshirts. Lots of scarves (oh man, I love scarves).

33. What kept you sane?
Claire. Coffee. Loud music in my car.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Uhhh. Is this a romantic question? I really admire Obama, but not romantically.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The gay marriage issue and abortion. Don't even get me started.

36. Who did you miss?
Everyone, at one point or another, having moved across the country. I currently very deeply miss my east coast friends.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
*grin* Unequivocally, Jim.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Life is primarily something you go through alone, on your own power. You should therefore not do anything because you think other people will approve or disapprove; your actions have to be motivated by internal forces like desire for happiness and desire for success.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
So I'm putting my luck to the test, I'm bringing the eastern seabord's best. We'll be making it up someday, losing time along the way....

The same meme, two years ago
oceantheorem: (dreams made flesh)
It's been a long week. I've worked at the ridiculous bookstore twice, and had a really annoying interview with a human resources company (oh lucky me, I will be allowed to be part of a stuffing assembly line for four days after christmas). Wednesday morning I DESPERATELY needed coffee, so of course after purchasing said coffee at 6:45 am, I took a corner too fast and spilled it all over my feet under the gas pedal. LOVELY. I went back to the gas station and the lady behind the counter gave me a refill for free after I told her I'd spilled the first one, which was super awesome and very friendly of her. But still. It was not a good way to start out the day.

On the bright side... the car has smelled vaguely like cat pee for two months, and now it smells like gas station coffee. Which is, you know, one step up. Maybe I should buy some really expensive kona coffee and spill THAT in there.


There is a new boy in my life. I feel some guilt about this (quite a lot, in fact). It is, however, largely overshadowed by my absurd happiness. I had forgotten what it was like to be happy. It's... fantastic.

In other other news... I finally got my healer druid to 80. It was painful. I miss my hunter and will be leveling her as quickly as possible once my hatred of all things warcrafty wears off (I leveled the druid way too quickly and under too much pressure. the whole game annoys me right now). But in the meantime, I can at least get back into raiding with the druid.

Also, I started playing D&D with my cousin and some of her friends. Only two of us have ever played before (my cousin and the DM), but none of us has ever played 4th edition. And the DM has never DMed. So far we are all learning the basics of how the game works, but I think we will get better quickly. I've purchased dice and a D&D player's handbook (OMG I'm a real nerd now!) and am LOVING finally being able to play. There were guys who played when I was in high school, but they never let me join them, and I've been dying to get into a group ever since.

ANYway. aNYway. anyWAY... Sorry. High school inside joke.

I need a real job. And to move to California. And then life will be absolutely perfect.
oceantheorem: (claire)
Rawr. I meant to write earlier this week.
Really long entry about what's happened this week )
I've been thinking that my best option right now is probably to go back to Utah. I need to call my aunt and uncle and ask about a few things, but I really think that the "apartment" they offered would be perfect while I try to find a job and get back on my own feet. Claire needs the room to run around without me worrying about her escaping, and I need the room to move around and feel like there's actually a space for me. A WELCOMING space. Cause there's a lot of stuff I could add to this entry about the social dynamic this week... and it hasn't been fun for me. I remember now why I was so eager to move out after high school.


I played Spore on Friday at a friend's house. We got to the civilization stage. It was pretty awesome. When the price goes down I'll definitely pick up a copy.


Sep. 28th, 2008 12:44 am
oceantheorem: (alexis bledel)
I made it to Utah on Thursday. Claire and I are each in one piece, which is nice. The car also seems to be functioning well, for which I am deeply and eternally grateful to the powers that be.

I know I've mentioned this on here before, but in case you don't know, I have about a zillion cousins. My mom's side of the family is Mormon, so visiting Utah is basically like dropping myself into the center of a continuously ongoing family reunion. I am one of those extremely lucky people that actually LIKES her extended family (since they're all basically just totally awesome), so the fact that I am staying with my aunt and uncle for a couple of days is one of great happiness. Claire and I have a room to ourselves, and there has been much visiting of cousins and cousins' babies and whatnot. I always forget just how amazing it is to see family again. They're so bright and funny and loving and supportive... you can't help but come away feeling better about yourself. Even if your cousin's husband does beat you soundly at Settlers of Catan.

They're also trying to convince me to stay here, and I have to say, it's pretty tempting. There's a whole floor upstairs that's a mini-apartment that Claire and I could live in while I look for a job, and then I could find my own place. There's a built-in support network here, it's only a day's drive from Reno, there are several universities in the area creating lots of jobs and I'd have a ton of help getting back on my feet... I know, I know, I KNOW, it's not California. It is, in fact, a step backwards from Nevada. But there isn't really room for me at my parents' house in Reno (I believe I will be sleeping either on a pullout couch in the library or on a rollaway bed in the office... plus there is a dog-door that I'm terrified Claire will escape out of and be eaten by coyotes), and Reno's a smaller area, so getting a job feels less likely.... And going straight to California right now is just out of the question. It's the state hit hardest by the economic slump, and I simply can't afford to live there while I'm trying to find a job. I KNOW, I should have thought about all this before I left Connecticut. But I was terrified that if I stayed too long I'd never escape--and it was hard enough as it was. My friends did not make it easy on me. I seem to be plagued by an overabundance of people who want me around! What a terrible blessing!
On a side note, I've started having nightmares (mostly just sad, not scary) about the people I left behind in CT. Aaaauuugggghhhhh. The problem with choosing something is that you always have a thing you didn't choose!

Anyway. What was I talking about? I got distracted.

I'm heading to Reno tomorrow. Nine more hours in the car with Sad Cat (turns out Claire isn't Angry Cat in the car... she just walks around and cries. It's more depressing than anything else. after about half an hour she'll sit down on her pillow and sleep, but that first half hour or so is hard on the Cat Owner emotions).... Oh well. Wednesday night she actually used the litterbox while we were driving down the freeway, so I think she's finally gotten the hang of being a car cat. Poor thing.

Okay. I'm out of rambling for now. I'm sleepy and confused and all that good stuff. I miss Connecticut (by which I mean I miss the people I left behind, because I certainly don't miss the state), but I really think this was the right decision, and I feel like I have more options open to me now. I guess we'll find out.
oceantheorem: (women and tea)
1) I talked to my mom a couple of days ago and she related a really cute Elena story. I guess they bought a bunch of hummingbird feeders (they needed more than one...??). They hung up a few of them one day and were successful in observing hummingbirds that afternoon, so they went out the next day to hang up some more, at which point Elena looked at my mom, pointed at one of the feeders, and proclaimed very matter-of-factly, "A hummingbird is not a lobster." As though my mother had been confused!

Kids are ridiculously cute sometimes.

2) Claire just alerted me that she was out of food by sneezing repeatedly and then glaring at me. I really wish I spoke her language....

3) I'm horribly addicted to an awful thing called PonyIsland. Whatever you do, don't go to ponyisland.net and sign up and begin breeding pixel ponies. Please. The My Little Ponies will eat your soul. Oh, and if you do sign up, DEFINITELY don't tell them oceanaura sent you, 'cause you wouldn't want to give me credit for stealing your soul after I warned you and everything.
But look at how cute mine are!

4) I read back through some journal entries, which is my wont about every four or five months, and discovered once again that I am brilliant and funny. This encourages my desire from earlier this week to write more stories! I should finish the unrequited love among coral story.... Actually, I think it's pretty much done, except I feel stupid for how little I know about coral and how ridiculous this story would be if read by coral-studying scientists.
I also started a story about unrequited love among humans about the same time as the coral, and got three pages into it before I realized
a) you cannot write a happy story about unrequited love without it becoming a story of requited love
b) you cannot kill off the main characters in order to solve this problem if you're writing the story because a teenage friend of yours asked for it
c) I'm never going to get my payment of two stacks of Buzzard Meat if I can't figure out how to end this story.

5) There is no number five, because I sat here for ten minutes and went back to 3 and added more pictures and now we're just going to pretend that didn't happen and move straight on to 6.

7) I lied about 6.

8) I got a callback for the insurance company, as mentioned in the last entry, and I'm really really excited about it. I'm too sleepy right now to be coherent excited about it, but some of the things I rambled on about when I called my mom Wednesday after the informational seminar were "direct meaningful application" "heaps and heaps of money" "offices in California" "twice the retention rate of their competitors" "management track available if you progress quickly through training" and "compensation during said training".
Also coming to mind right now is the phrase "my ticket out of here".
Also also is "I think I'm going to be okay." Which, you know, is something I think like, every two months, and then promptly forget, but hey. At least it's always a refreshing surprise when it pops up in my head again!

9) There isn't really a 9, but while I like 8 and it's one of those nice symmetrical even numbers that satisfies all manner of my OCD quirks, 9 has been neglected lately, and really, it's got that nice 3^2 thing going for it. And this just seemed like a list of 9. You know?
oceantheorem: (Default)
The catbeast and I are largely moved. She gave me SEVERAL scares during the actual "moval of the catness" phase. She escaped from the car when I went back to get her litter (damn my stupidity and my lack of a cat carrier and my laziness in putting her harness on her...), and after about five minutes of me standing next to the open car not having ANY idea which direction she'd gone, I saw a flash of orange and chased her through the neighbor's yard and snatched her up neatly when she tried to double back. Mwa ha ha. I'm learning her little escape tricks. ...slowly, apparently.

We managed to make the two-block drive without incident. Weeeee!

Then I got her into the new apartment and occupied myself pouring new litter into her pan (for, like, eighteen seconds!)... and then realized the bathroom window to the roof was open, and I couldn't find her ANYWHERE. Turns out she was in the stairwell hiding, but it took a good ten minutes of me hanging my head out onto the roof clicking for her before she finally trotted up behind me. AUGH. WHY DO I HAVE TO LOVE HER SO MUCH SHE IS INSANE THIS IS WHY I'M NEVER HAVING KIDS.

Anyway. New apartment rocks utterly. New roommates rock utterly. They have awesome taste in music. Only problem so far is that it's on the third floor and third floor apartments are very very hot in the summer.
It'll be so nice in the winter though!


oceantheorem: (Default)

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