oceantheorem: (was lost now I live here)
 So, all three grad schools rejected me.  Stanford had the decency to send me a paper rejection in the mail.  UCSF actually made me download a pdf rejecting me.  Gee, thanks, UCSF.

I'm still not quite sure what the next step is.  This does mean we won't be moving to California in August.  Jim and I talked about it and agreed we'll move out of Michigan the following summer, no matter what, because neither one of us can stomach the idea of indefinite winters in Michigan.  To be perfectly honest, the idea of just one more winter here makes me feel like a little bird in a cage, throwing itself repeatedly against the bars until it knocks itself out.  I want out.  There's just no way to swing that this year, unfortunately.  So we'll start planning and saving and make it work in 2011.

Last weekend I took a road trip to New England. It was completely outside our budget, but it was definitely worth the expense.  It was waaay too short a trip, but I did get to see all my favorite Yalies, and eat delicious coastal sushi.  Never underestimate the value of hugging your friends in person when you're going through hard times. Or of full-strength wasabi after a year of cheap weak stuff.

The point of the trip was actually to go to Massachusetts for a yarn gathering.  The group I'm in on Ravelry, HPKCHC, was having a meetup at a ginormous yarn store, and as more and more people said they'd be there, it got harder for me to resist going.  The people on this forum have been my family, my life support for the last six months.  I do have a few friends in Michigan, and I love them, but it's not the same as the support network I'm used to having.  This knitting group has helped make up the difference, so I couldn't pass up a chance to meet some of my favorite people in person.

It was awesome.  Everyone was just as wonderful, or more so, than I had expected.  We only spent a few hours together, milling around this ridiculous yarn store, and then going to lunch, but it was definitely worth the 1400-mile round trip.  It was so nice to put faces and real names to Rav names.

There are a lot of pictures.  Here.

I spent $9.47 on yarn. I was very proud of myself for staying under my budget of $10.

I got 2 skeins of the blue and 1 of yellow. Should make a nice warm hat.

There is, of course, lots of other stuff going on.  But I think those are the big things.
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: (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: (gg rory's list)
It just occurred to me I have been MIA for a while.  Let me catch you up on why.

First off, November is National Novel Writing Month.  Many of you know of this already, and are participating alongside me.  For those of you who don't know, I am trying to write 50 thousand words in 30 days, between November 1st and November 30th.  I tried last year and made it to about 11k before giving up in favor of spending hours on the phone with my new boyfriend (speaking of which, we just had our one year anniversary! yay!!).  I'm trying the same story again this year and am doing much better.  So far.  It's about pirates and interdimensional travel (which ended up meaning it's got some time travel in it, drat--I did NOT want to write about time travel problems, but there they are, and what are you going to do) and the main character is so far the least interesting person in the story.  Except for maybe her love interest.  Sigh.  Anyway.  I don't know if I will make it to 50k, but I really want to try.

I was going to do my dad's biography instead of the pirate thing, but I realized it just wouldn't be possible to meet the word count every day if I have to call him constantly to ask him about stuff.  That is high on the list though, so maybe I will tackle it in December/January.

The second ridiculous commitment is graduate school applications.  They are all due December 1st, but all I have left to do now is write my final draft of my statement of purpose, pay the app fees if I can't get them waived, and make sure all three of my letter writers actually upload their letters.  Getting the three recommenders was a HUGE ordeal, but I'm not sure it's something I should post on a public journal, so if you want the sordid story in all its dramatic glory, let me know and I'll email it to you.  It's definitely exciting.

The third horrible commitment is knitting.  I'm in this group on Ravelry that has 3-month-long "terms" composed of "classes" that last 1 month each.  So each month there are six "classes" offered, and you have to knit at least one of them--they're things like "knit something cabled" or "knit something in a plant fiber" or "knit something embodying love".  This month there is one to clear a "weed" out of your project basket and finish it up--guess which one I have chosen?  Yep.  The wedding blanket o' doom, for my favorite cousin, which should have been gifted to her, oh, I dunno, maybe BEFORE her first child was born.  The nice thing is that if I get this finished, I get bonus points for things like the project having reached "mythic" status (i.e. the intended recipient no longer believes it exists) and for a video testimonial.  If I am diligent and actually accomplish this--plans are to do it this weekend--I am pretty sure I can bribe aforementioned cousin to do a short video testimonial for me.  Right, K la?  Right???  (I promise it won't take more than two minutes away from NaNo.  It can be a 10-second video. Really.  I will beg.)

So the last stupid thing I'm doing in November is also knitting. For the same group.  It's supposed to be a project that takes the entire 3 months of the "term", and I decided to do something ambitious back in September, not realizing that everything would all be due on November 30th at the same time.  So I'm knitting this. It's a lace shawl (my first lace).  It's huge.  It is on tiny needles.  The "hard" part (the center) took me two months.  Now I'm on the "slow" part--knitting 5,000 beads into the netting on the outside.  I'm about 1,200 beads into it.  Putting the beads on entails sitting for an hour or two (while watching tv or something) and dipping a beading needle repeatedly into a bowl of beads, then locking the cat in the bedroom and unstringing hundreds of yards of lace up and down the hallway and pushing thousands of beads down those hundreds of yards until there is about three inches in between EACH BEAD, and then re-balling those hundreds of beaded yards so they don't tangle.  And THEN knitting with them.

(I'm in love with it, by the way.  I do not at all mind the effort that goes into the beading. I'm so in love with this shawl it could kill a man and I would forgive it.)

So yes, if you've been paying attention, all of this is due at the end of the month.  Gigantic beautiful shawl, Wedding Blanket o' Doom (9 seams to go...), fifty thousand words, and, most importantly, grad school applications.

Oh yeah, and I work full-time.

Oh, and did I mention we're spending the last week of November in Reno with my parents?  So I'll be finishing all this stuff while having Thanksgiving and trying to be social with my family.

I'll see you in December. If I'm still alive then. 

(Thank goodness Mom's 50th birthday is at the end of December and not the end of November.)

(Note--reading over this post makes it sound like I'm whining.  Oh man, so not whining.  All of this stuff I'm doing by choice, and I'm having a blast.  I'm just exhausted!)

oceantheorem: (grad school)
 Check it, I'm making two posts in one day!
Both are short.

I wrote my statement of purpose. Errr, I wrote a really really really rough draft.  It uh, took me a month.  Or two hours, depending on how you measure time.

I'll try to post more discussion about this tomorrow.  For a quick summary--I found my application materials from last time before I started writing, then I cried, then I wrote.  So yeah.
Life is kinda weird.

(Also, I almost kinda missed tagging posts with this particular pair of tags. Almost.)
oceantheorem: (grad school)
I'm going to reapply to graduate schools this fall.  UCSF, Berkeley, Stanford, UCSD, maybe UCSB as a backup.

I could write about six pages on this subject at the moment, but for now I think I'll just leave it at that.
oceantheorem: (gg cursewords Michel)
Hi Kara,
According to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Programs and Policies Handbook- page 203:

Master's Degrees
"M.S. Students are not admitted for this degree but may be awarded this degree if they leave Yale without completing certain requirements for the Ph.D."

Regarding the M.Phil requirements: Page 467
" The Masters of Philosophy is awarded en route to the Ph.D. in many departments. The minimum general requirements for this degree are that a student shall have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. except the Prospectus and dissertation."

If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me.

[Registrar Lady][of Doom]
oceantheorem: (gg cursewords Michel)
After I copied the message to [new Registrar lady], she called me to correct something that I wrote to you. If you withdraw from the program, you can apply for and get an M.S., but if you are taking a leave of absence you can not. If during the leave, or at its end, you decide to withdraw, you can apply for the M.S.
Best wishes,
[Mr. Evil Director of Graduate Studies Man]

that seems wrong. if you qualify for the masters, you should have it whether or not you stay


who is this woman?

she's our new registrar
SHE sent me an email too
hers said
Hi Kara,
I am looking into this right now. I will get back to you by tomorrow. Also, what are your dates for LOA?

[new Registrar lady]

LOA being leave of absence

fair enough

can I kill someone?
I want my fucking degree, I earned it.
oceantheorem: (bluebell sort of)
I've been ridiculously stressed out lately. In theory I should be very relaxed, since I'm freeing myself of graduate school and looking at an amazing array of options. All doors are open to me, and I can do anything I want. I should be excited and happy. I guess part of me is, but a bigger part of me is stressed out about whether or not I'm going to regret the next decisions I make, and about whether or not I'll be poor for the rest of my life, and about where my priorities should lie between location and romance. I need to be in California, but Aaron is here. In the end, I suppose there's no contest, and I already know what I'm going to do, but I've been stressing out about it all the same.

I still feel like my well of ambition and motivation is empty. It used to be a deep well, maybe full of little pebbles and stones and larger rocks and boulders instead of water. And every time I needed some energy, I'd reach in and pull out a rock of the appropriate size--small rocks for bio midterms, large boulders for physics finals... but since qualifying, there just haven't been any rocks at all in the well. I pulled the last one out when I started qualifying, and somehow I just haven't had any more delivered. I have no motivation for ANYthing. It's still a struggle to motivate myself to go climbing, and I LIKE climbing. Not to mention the difficulty I have in making myself do homework for the insulting undergrad class (which I've taken to doing actually during lecture the day it's due) or for the graduate seminar series (which I've taken to doing in 20-30 minutes before class, without reading the paper). Where is all my drive??? How do I start putting energy back INTO the well, faster than I'm trying to pull it out?

I don't even have the energy to finish this post.
oceantheorem: (heart beaners)
Last night I had a dream about Clark. This is weird, because I have only had dreams with Clark in them on a few occasions, and I can't even remember those dreams clearly. I'm beginning to think that Clark signifies my conscience or my "voice of reason" in my dreams, because basically the only thing I remember about the dream from last night/this morning is that he was asking me, in a manner not unlike the one in which Jess questions Rory, whether or not I really wanted to be leaving school. "Are you really sure?" he asked. In that tone of voice that suggests that of course I'm not really sure, because it's a terrible idea and he's going to say I told you so in five years.
Actually, I also remember thinking, "I'm so glad you contacted me," (and in the dream I remember it was over AIM, and the chat window was all familiar and it was kind of comforting) and wondering if I had been too hard on him when we stopped talking, and if part of my anger with him wasn't really anger at myself and general frustration at my current life situation. I don't think he deserved all the wrath I heaped upon him, although he certainly deserved part of it.

The weird thing about making lots of friendslocked entries is that, after a while, it gets to be nerve-wracking to make unlocked posts. It induces paranoia.

I went climbing tonight and there was great music and I had good new climbing pants and of course the company is always excellent, and I felt like, "hey, this is santa-cruz-y and I'm okay here. I should climb more often." But something niggled in the back of my brain, saying, "This is not what you're missing, this is not why you're unhappy; more time spent climbing is not going to make it all better. This is not your solution." And I thought, "Yes, you're right." But it's interesting how I can have good moments--I had a great weekend too, with Aaron and with some of his friends and a few great rounds of a card game called Munchkin--and be generally okay and still be absolutely miserable. I really am absolutely miserable. And it's really just getting worse, despite everything I'm doing to try to force myself to dig in and put down roots and adjust, damnit (I just got a cat, for crying out loud, and the small furry thing, while I adore her, is not making everything better--I mean, not that I expected her to, but this sort of indicates that it's not an easily fixable thing, you know?).

Anyway, point is--subconscious, or Clark: I am unhappy and I don't know how to fight it without leaving. Fighting it here is not working. I think the unhappiness is inherent in the graduate school at Yale part. It's the being young part. It's the... it's all that. I don't know.

I'm very young and very miserable and very confused. But at least I have new climbing pants.
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: (I shall not waste my days in trying to p)
Wow, I really haven't updated in ages.

Qualifying was meh. They gave me a conditional pass. They loved my proposals and said they were well-written, creative, and interesting, but I lack a general knowledge of biochemistry and I need to know things "cold," so in order to receive a pass on my qualifying exam, I have to take an undergraduate biochemistry course next semester, write a 10-15 page paper on the structure and function of the ribosome (due end of March) and have another oral exam at the end of May, after grades come out (I must get a B in the undergrad course).
To some extent this really, really makes me angry. I have a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and there's no reason I shouldn't have been able to answer their questions, had I known that those topics would be covered. Ten minutes of review would have freshened all that stuff in my mind, and I would have been fine. I just wasn't prepared emotionally, and after the first two questions I was too thrown off to recover. *sigh*
On the other hand, this means I can't TA spring semester (THANK GOD). It also means I get to take another class (even if it's one I've taken before), and I love classes. I'm good at classes. This will be ridiculously easy for me, but who knows, I might learn something new. And lastly, this gives me a real chance to slow down, take a deep breath, and do some science before I qualify again in May. So what if I was the first person in our class to start qualifying and I'll now be the last to finish? I'm still a good two years younger than most of my classmates. I have soooo much time. The whole idea behind coming to Yale and not going to UCSF was that here I'd have a chance to slow down and be a real person, outside of science, in addition to being a graduate student. I have time, and an excuse, to breathe now. And furthermore, I didn't feel like I was ready to qualify, and I think that if I had passed I would have felt like I'd somehow fallen through the cracks and hoodwinked my committee. So at least now I don't feel like an impostor. The "worst" has happened--they've found me out--but they haven't asked me to leave. So I'm relieved.

Anyway. I will talk no more about this subject. For at least a few weeks. I'm so sick of the "q" word.

Turns out my packages have been being delivered down the street. The previous tenant of our house requested that we put a sign on our mailbox saying she'd moved to such and such a house, and apparently the FedEx people don't bother to read the names on our mailbox versus the name on the sign, and as soon as they see the new address they just march the boxes on down the street. So my books (and a bouquet of calla lilies!!) have been found, and all is right.
oceantheorem: (coffee gg horoscope)
Qualifying is absolutely everything that everyone told me it would be. I barely have time to breathe. And my brain has been in a constant state of mush since Monday, which is really too bad because I have eighteen papers I need to read by Sunday night, and I really wish I was exaggerating that number. But I'm not.

I got that door, and it blends into the bookcases and you totally can't tell there's a room back there. I live in a secret room! It's so awesome!

I've gotten addicted to the new Shins album all over again, and I keep getting Regina Spektor songs stuck in my head, even though I haven't decided yet whether or not I like her.

I think I've spent less time playing Warcraft this week than I've spent drinking coffee, so it looks like everyone's fears about me getting addicted were unfounded.
Although I have spent a LOT of time drinking coffee.

Aaaand now I'm gonna go read some more papers. And resist making coffee.

Also, I've been thinking a lot and I'm hoping I'm becoming a less psychotic person. But somehow I doubt it.

Also also, summer is DEFINITELY over, and I really miss it.
oceantheorem: (I believe in science)
Okay, I'm doing a bad job of updating.

The weekend was awesome. I drove to Woods Hole to visit Ann. Apparently, though, just driving to Woods Hole would have been too boring for me, so I "decided" to drive to Boston first. I didn't realize where I was until I was almost ten miles past Boston. I stopped, turned around, and drove back south to Woods Hole, where I met up with Ann and some of her friends and we watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith on this gigantic screen in their student lounge thingy. Saturday morning we slept in, then went kayaking. "Kayaking", for Ann and me, means "paddling out to the buoy and proceeding to throw one another out of the kayak until it drifts far enough back in to shore that we have to paddle it back out again, repeating until covered in bruises." It took about two hours before we wore ourselves out enough to stop trying to throw each other out every time we got back into the kayak.
My right knee is still a bit swollen.

Sunday morning I drove back to New Haven so I could go to my lab's wiffleball game. Now that I and the other first-year have joined, about half our lab makes up about a quarter of the wiffleball team. One of my labmates was hosting this week's game, so we got a bit tipsy at her place first, then trekked over to the local high school and set up a game in one of the empty fields there. We had fifteen people show up. Our team was down 5-0 for most of the game, but in the last two innings we made a comeback to win 6-5. Then we all went back to the house and stuffed ourselves silly. My labmate makes the best ribs I've ever had.

And now, for some comic relief: I've been reading about sperm production and whatnot, because it's tangentially related to my thesis. I came across this figure today, in an old Science article:

Science, vol 316, pg 405. (Click to see a larger, clearer, version.)

It is a diagram showing that tissue from a small boy's testis can be cryopreserved, whilst he throws a baseball to his future self, who receives a sperm transplant while concurrently catching said baseball.

I'm so jealous.
oceantheorem: (Mika violet sky)
I'm definitely not writing enough lately. I went back and read some entries from last summer, and my writing style has degraded quite a bit. I was much more eloquent a year ago. And much more coherent...

I feel like grad school has aged me. I feel much, much older than 22 these days. I think I knew this would happen if I came to Yale; I think that's part of why I was so deathly afraid that I'd made the wrong choice. I posted last June that I was afraid I wouldn't feel alive in Connecticut, and I really don't. I haven't felt alive in the last few weeks at all, and the last year seems like it's gone by too fast for me to have actually lived it. The three years at Santa Cruz took up eons because I lived, sometimes painfully, through each and every second. Sometimes now I feel like I'm just trying to push the seconds past and get to the end as quickly as possible.

I'm not the person I want to be right now. I'm not as good or as intelligent as I'd like to be. I think a lot of that has to do with willpower; I've never been good at self-discipline, having been able to get through high school and college on sheer intelligence and not by studying hard. There were times that I DID study hard, but that was because I wanted to, and not because I made myself. My few low grades in college were in the classes I simply couldn't force myself to study for. I think that's catching up to me now; I find it very very hard to motivate myself to do anything I don't want to do. Maybe I just need to practice. I'm looking forward to qualifying--I actually want to qualify, and I want to work hard to do well in qualifying, and I'm hoping that two months' worth of solid studying insanity will help me keep working hard after I pass the exam. Until then, though, I think I really need to work on being the person I want to be. Like I said, I'm not as good or as intelligent as I'd like to be right now. I feel out of control and uninformed. I feel like I'm living each day based on present desires and without any attention to consequences.

Also, I'm very very lonely, and I no longer know how to reach out in real life. Maybe I've gotten too used to reaching out through livejournal (does it seem to you that every entry here is a cry for help? sometimes it seems that way to me). Didn't I used to ask real life friends for help? Didn't I used to have actual conversations about my problems instead of writing about them over and over and over and over again? Or, if not "instead of", then at least "in addition to"... It seems like I've become, again, the person that everyone talks to, but no one ever asks how I'm doing and actually waits to hear the lengthy depressive answer. Maybe they're all just sick of my depression too.

Please forgive me for a second while I quote Grey's Anatomy: "We're adults. When did that happen? And how do we make it stop?"

Growing up seems to be one of those things they should have given you a manual for in middle or high school. You know, like dating, and applying to colleges, and grocery shopping. It's one of those things you aren't prepared for, even though you've watched other people do it your whole life. No one tells you that, the older you get, the more alone you'll feel. Or that eventually, you no longer have to worry about what other people think of you, but that you'll worry a lot about what you think of yourself. Maybe I should write up a manual for Elena.
oceantheorem: (hp ravenclaw smarter)
I hate it when I feel like I desperately need to write, but I don't know what to write about.

I sort of picked my qualifying committee today. If the scheduling works out among all three faculty members (and all three say yes to my request that they be on my committee...), I'll start qualifying the second week of September. I'll then read for six weeks instead of five (to accommodate one professor's travel plans), write for 1.5 to two weeks, and then take the qualifying exam the first/secondish week of November.
I'm no longer freaked out about the process. I'm more sort of...tired. Thinking about it just makes me tired. Part of me is really excited, but it's a really tiny, really far away part. Hopefully, as the beginning of the exam draws nearer, my enthusiasm will increase. After all, I'm in graduate school, and in this lab, because I love science, right? Because I love ribosomes? Even though that makes me super weird?

Does anyone have any good book recommendations? I'm looking for something in science or in current events. Definitely not fiction. I'm feeling particularly uninformed lately, and I'd like to read a book on something other than genetics. So anything mathy, physicsy, or current eventsy should do it. Anyone? Anyone?
oceantheorem: (Mika and coffee)
Blah. It's Tuesday and yet it still feels like a Monday.... I'm finally actually getting a pile of work to do, and thanks to procrastination I might even be able to engineer a busy day on Thursday or Friday. In the meantime, since I'm still at the beginning of my project in lab, I only have a few hours' worth of work to do each day, and I'm spending the rest of my time trying to focus on reading papers. Friday I made it through three papers, yesterday not any, and today so far I've read about two pages of one paper. Mostly, though, I've been kinda bored, and very low on energy.

I finished the Harry Potter book Sunday afternoon (no spoilers, I promise). I thought I'd cry but I didn't, even when someone I was awfully attached to died. I will say that it's by far my favorite in the series, and that I've started reading it over again already.

I talked to Jamie on the phone Thursday night for about 40 minutes. Because of the time difference to the west coast, this meant that I was extraordinarily tired on Friday morning in lab, but it was nothing a large cup of coffee couldn't fix. It was a fantastic conversation. I'd been putting off calling him (even though he'd asked me to, after graduation six weeks ago), because I was afraid I'd fall all over him again. But actually, I felt a lot calmer after our conversation. One of the things I like about Jamie is how easy it is to talk to him. I never have to worry about what I say to him, or even how I say it--he always seems to know exactly what I mean, and he always seems to understand. We did talk, briefly, about my feelings, but the bottom line in that discussion was that I really, really, really want to be friends with him again. I miss his friendship and his presence in my life more than anything else, and while it is a bit awkward and painful for me to hear about his current girlfriend, it's more important to me that we be able to discuss anything and everything. So. I'm okay there. Hopefully we can rebuild a real friendship.
Now, if only he weren't so terrible at remembering to call people back....

Not much else is going on. I haven't touched knitting in over a week; I think after all that marathon knitting on the wedding gift I sort of needed a break. I think I've pretty much decided how to finish up the gift, so I need to sit down and spend a few hours on it, but I just haven't had the motivation yet. Also, the yarn and pattern for the Dragone shawl came, but I haven't gotten the needles yet, so I haven't started it.

Anyway, I'm giving half the lab meeting on Monday, so I should really go think about my talk. And I'm supposed to have an abstract of my thesis project written up by Friday, so maybe I'll go think about that for a while as well.
oceantheorem: (I am volatile chemistry)
Dude. This week has been... particularly stressful. So much for the good mood I was in last week; grad school seems to take those good moods and pound them into the ground. I've felt ridiculously stupid and lazy for the last three days. Maybe I should be working harder, but I think I'm about on par.... Except for the fact that Susan wants me to qualify this fall, and also gave me a look yesterday that indicated I was the least intelligent person in the lab, especially because the other first year in the lab had read the paper on my gene and I hadn't. And our undergrad is ridiculously intelligent, and every interaction with him makes me look like some sort of underdeveloped fourth-grader.
Our second year grad student, whom I adore and admire, insists that I have imposter's syndrome and that I'm much more intelligent than I think I am, and that I'll be fine, and that Susan was just having a weird day.

Anyway, life has also been difficult socially. And emotionally. I mean, I keep waking up in the middle of the night having NO CLUE where I am, and the cat sleeps right next to my head, so that's freakin weird too (although sleeping with Kayla's cat in Utah actually seems to have mostly acclimated me to waking up to a face full of cat fur). And I seem to have been particularly stupid lately, and trusted a few people that I probably shouldn't have, so the end result is that I went from having a secret lover to a non-secret lover to a non-secret non-lover, passing through various stages of unnecessary drama and trauma involving way too many extraneous people, such as labmates and housemates. Things seem to have settled now; all parties involved have gotten over the issue entirely and I'm pretty sure that the only residual feelings are a little bit of anger on my part, and no sadness on anyone's part, so whatever. Anyway, it all happened in the last couple of days and blah. Unnecessary. The main problem is the stupid dreams I keep having, about a certain person back on the west coast, that make me insane. If it wasn't for the dreams I wouldn't be insane. None of this would have happened if I hadn't been trying to distract myself from the dreams. And the thoughts that go with/cause the dreams.

My new housemate gave me a list of references. I'm gonna go see a shrink. Soon. Really. I need to. I'm becoming more and more convinced that my brain chemistry is completely out of whack. Or maybe I just need more sunlight. I was fine on the drive across the country; maybe it was because I was getting so much sun? Damnit, I don't want skin cancer....

I don't even know what to write about, or how to make this post coherent. So I think I'm gonna go make some sort of private entry that will be completely incomprehensible but will allow me to vent without worrying about sounding like an idiot.
oceantheorem: (was lost now I live here)
What a week--what a summer.

Travel has completely worn me out. It feels good to be home, even if that home isn't quite the home I'm used to. The last 24 hours, since "home" and "Eliz and Ali's" became the same place, has felt a little surreal. I'm sharing a room here, and it feels a little more like camp or dorms than having an actual apartment. I dunno. Maybe going to lab tomorrow and coming home to this place will help make it feel real.

Yesterday was actually a pretty good day. A ton of people helped me move and clean, and we were actually done by 6 pm, which was a lot sooner than I'd anticipated. I took a long nap afterwards, after which Emily and Ali and I went out for drinks. It was nice to go out and feel social. We drank martinis and came back late and I slept quite well, despite the fact that when I woke up this morning I had absolutely no idea where I was.
And today was good too--mostly I lazed around and read Harry Potter 6. And now people are here and we've watched The Departed and are an hour into Children of Men (which I've seen before, and just don't quite have the energy to pay 100% attention to, since it's a pretty intense movie). I love lazy Sundays.

And now that the last few months have sunk in--my decision not to transfer, and to allow myself to settle in Connecticut--I think I'm 98% happy. I'm really enjoying grad school. Lab is going pretty well, even if I've only been back for a week, and I think I'm going to qualify this fall. I'm not even very scared of it anymore. After so much struggling and such a ridiculously awful year, the okayness of this summer feels almost startling. It's a nice contrast, and I hope that in the next five years I'll be able to keep feeling like I'm okay. Even if I'm not, I'm actually pretty content right now to just enjoy this summer for what it is, and be happy that I'm happy. Life is good for the first time in a long time, and I feel okay about 98% of it. Now, if I just knew how to stop worrying about that last 2%....

I haven't touched my knitting needles in days, but I've decided to make this (another link here). I should really work on the wedding gift instead....

P.S. I also have a thesis project! Hurrah! Ask me about it!


oceantheorem: (Default)

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