Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I've caught DH's cold. Had a 99-100 degree fever all day, and now I am headachy. Ugh. Must sleep a lot, but I really want to work on my symposium proposal. It's hard to think about it, though.

I finished the scarf for my friend. I'll post pics of it later.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


DH and I had a successful Thanksgiving. We invited a foreign student friend of DH's who would otherwise be spending the holiday alone. All our food turned out well, although it took longer than expected to get everything ready- still, we ate only an hour late (7 PM instead of 6 PM). We made HUGE amounts of food. Yay! Love those leftovers.

DH and I spent a few minutes earlier in the day talking about what we were thankful for, and we were very conscious that we should be darn grateful for the sheer availability of food, as well as our ability to buy way more than enough for ourselves. As DH says, "We won the birth lottery just by being born in a highly developed country." So many people around the world (and in our own country) don't have what we have (meaning basic needs like food, clothing, basic human rights, etc. We are also thankful for each other. It's really nice to know that you married a nice person upon whom you can count when you are in need. DH has been sick for the last week or so, and I know he appreciates my efforts to take care of him.

On a knitting note, this weekend I frogged my Ugg scarf. I had doubled up the JoAnn's Beautiful (what is standing in for the shearling) on the first stripe of it, and I hated it. Rather than live with it, I decided to go back and start over. Good decision, I think. I'm also still working on my Agate & Lace scarf for my friend- it's coming along nicely. It's really long now, which I am particularly proud of!

And even though I have another Agate & Lace scarf in progress (using double-stranded Shimmer lace yarn from KnitPicks), and yarn for another TWO scarves, not to mention my Ugg scarf WIP, I keep looking for more yarn and projects! I checked out the book Weekend Knitting from the library, and there are several projects in there that look interesting. I'm also eyeing the recycled sari yarn on ebay... has anyone out there bought some? If so, how did you like it?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Good News, plus other updates

I got a Revise & Resubmit on my symposium proposal. The organizers sent me this really long email, and I just kept scrolling and scrolling to get to the decision. It was one of those messages where they say stuff like, "We've gotten so many good proposals this year..." and go on and on about what purpose they want the symposia to serve. I'm scrolling/skimming thinking, "Oh crap!" but then they said that they wanted me to try to explain more about certain points that they were interested in and then resubmit it.

I'm thinking, "Well, that's good, I think. It's not a "no," anyway! I didn't know they'd let you revise and resubmit!"

So I told my advisor about it, and her reaction was almost exactly the same. "That's good- I guess. I didn't know they did that."

It adds another step to the process (I think they don't do R&Rs very often at this stage, which is basically a proposal to do a proposal!! I think they do usually give straight up yes, submit the full proposal or no, this isn't appropriate for the theme we're going for.), but that is fine with me. I'm just glad I didn't get rejected, and I'm sure that it is, in part, due to the Big Names who have agreed to participate. Next is to revise and resubmit by Dec. 10th. I will then get a yes/no decision about whether I can keep going forward with this. If it's a yes, then I submit the full proposal in the middle of January. I'm nervous! But it's a good nervous. I'm really glad I pushed myself to do this. I think it's really good for me to stretch like this. The easy thing would have been to chicken out and not do it. I thought this was the road that I would take, but then I changed my mind.


DH and I are planning Thanksgiving. We're doing it at our apartment- the two of us, plus DH's office mate, who is not from the US. We're making a ton of food! Yay! Last year, we spent T'giving with my in-laws, and they just didn't make enough food. It's sad when you think, "Gosh, I've already had 12 green beans... if I take any more, there won't be any left for the rest of the family!"

I don't like turkey, so we're having a standing rib roast. I figure since we don't have to pay $800+ for plane tickets home, we can splurge on our meat. MMM.

Knitting and Other Stuff

I'm working on my Christmas present for one of my friends. I'm doing the Agate and Lace scarf in Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille- a yarn I love! I am pretty sure I haven't posted a picture- it's a lot longer than this now (about double the length, maybe a little more), and I have one more ball to go.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I'm undecided about whether or not I'm going to do beads on the end of it. I've had a hard time finding beads that I like that aren't uber-expensive.

I'm also knitting an Ugg scarf, based on the one done by Kay. I'm only using one color of Lion Brand Suede, though, and my fleecy yarn is JoAnn's Sensations Beautiful in Off-White, which does a darn good impersonation of shearling, for yarn. The other change I'm going to make is to do the ends as a ruffle. I've never knit real ruffles (aside from the Ruffles scarf from Scarf Style, which is done with short rows instead of doing lots of increasing on each row), so this will be a first! I'm really liking my scarf break- they're pretty easy, and fun.


Went to a kick-butt Iyengar Yoga class on Wednesday night. Wow. It was hard! It was only a level 1-2 class, which I should totally be able to do, but it was pretty strenuous. I like that, though. We did handstands and headstands (I can only do them with the instructor's help!), and I must have worked pretty hard, b/c I have these tiny red pinprick-looking things around my eyes. I think I was straining so hard that I broke some capillaries- this is what some of my online friends think, anyway. This past week, I've been alternating yoga with running, and I like that mix a lot. I need the cardio of running, but there's nothing like yoga.

I've been running using an interval method of alternating running and walking. I started out running 3 minutes, walking 4 minutes, and then upped my running time by 30 seconds and decreasing my walking time by 30 seconds, so I was doing a 3:30/3:30 split (split isn't the right term, I know, but it makes sense to me here). Then, yesterday, I cut my walking time by 30 seconds, but left the running time alone, so it's now 3:30/3:00. Next step is to increase my running time. I try to do 5 intervals (so 5 running segments), and I succeed most of the time. Not always, but most of the time. I want to run a 5K at some point in the near future, and it is really important to me that I actually run the whole way. I could almost certainly do one now doing my run/walk system, but I want to run it! Seriously!

My running pace is at about 10 min/mile, which is pretty good for me! I'm starting to try to push myself a tiny bit during the first interval by raising my knees a couple inches higher- this makes you go faster with less effort, says my husband (who ran cross country and track in high school and cross country). It does make it harder, though! I don't care what he says!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Positive thinking at work!

I had a great experience today that really emphasized the learning that I've done with Your Best Life Now.

I have been working to organize a symposium for the annual conference for my field. I have to submit a brief application, due tomorrow. One of the keys to getting accepted is to have Big Names agree to participate. I had emailed three Big Names. One said he didn't think that he would be able to go to the conference, so he referred me to one of his former students who is just starting out. She's not well known (yet) but does interesting work. One Big Name accepted. The third Big Name expressed interest, but didn't commit. This whole time, I was thinking really positively, and making my declarations about the favor of G-d and my ability to succeed, a la YBLN.

BigName #3 didn't get back to me, despite a couple of emails. I had a mild freakout this weekend, and settled on a couple of backups. Both of them turned me down. Then, at the last minute, BigName #3 got in touch with me. He's going to do it! I am really excited. He does very interesting work, and is very well known. Yeah!

I really feel that I'm starting to reap the benefits of positive thinking, and believing that G-d will come through for me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Your Best Life Now

For the past several months, I have been working on the Your Best Life Now Journal by Joel Osteen. This is a companion book to his best-seller Your Best Life Now. I remember seeing YBLN in the bookstore and rolling my eyes at it. Oh, another Christian self-help book that pretends it can fix everything in our lives. Please.

Then, a bunch of my online friends started talking about doing the Journal, which is kind of a workbook. I read reviews of YBLN on amazon.com, thought about it, and decided to go for it.

I used to be a very positive person, always looking for the good in a situation. I eventually kind of had this beaten out of me (metaphorically). College was a really, really hard time for me socially. I felt like no matter what group I tried to join, no matter how many auditions I went on, it just wasn't working. I felt like I didn't have any friends, and if I only tried harder I could remedy this. I couldn't. To this day, I only have a couple of friends from college (well, I did meet my husband at college- I guess he counts too!), and aside from my husband, only one of them is really a close friend. Intellectually, I knew I could make and keep friends- I had a terrific group of friends in high school (most of them are still my friends!), so I didn't think it was all me. I don't know what it was, but it was just a very discouraging time in my life.

Things looked up after graduating from college, until my friend died, which was a huge, huge setback. Then I made the crazy decision of going to grad school and moving thousands of miles away, had a crazy horrible roommate with a cat that didn't like to use the litter box, and on top of all of that (not to mention being poor), I had this stressful incident where an epileptic with a suspended driver's license had a seizure and slammed into my parked car. Almost totalled it. Nice. (that situation worked out fine in the end, but was really stressful and awful).

So the combination of all these things over a 5 year period really got to me. I had been so disappointed on so many levels, that I just lowered my expectations to nothing, just to protect myself.

Recently, I have been feeling that I am ready to get back to who I used to be- the positive, upbeat QueenBee who was convinced that everything would work out in the end, and usually did.

Despite my initial skepticism of YBLN, it is really working! The journal is helping me look at the world in a more positive manner. It is helping me to expect positive outcomes from the world, and it is helping me to believe I can succeed. It's terrific!

I recently bought the book, as well as the YBLN devotional book. One of my complaints about the journal is that it seems so simplistic. The book really helps to clarify issues I was struggling with, and the devotional book is helping me understand the Biblical basis of what Joel Osteen is saying. I had originally thought that the book would be kind of "Name it and Claim it" (i.e. "prosperity gospel"), which I don't agree with, but it really isn't.

I highly recommend it. It's terrific.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Or maybe "F##########ck!" would be better.

Due to an administrative error, I received half of my support this summer from a professor not in my area that I have never met. The same administrative office that made the error has informed me that I now have to pay back that money to this professor. The amount will be at least a few thousand dollars.

I wish I were kidding. What the hell? The office suggested to me that I ask my advisor to transfer the money from her research budget to him so I don't have to pay him back out of my own pocket. If my advisor had the money in the first place, all my support would have come from her! Geez!

I am not sure what I am going to do about this. I may talk to my advisor anyway, not to ask her for the money, but to see what my options really are. I could possibly see her going ballistic on the business office about this, but I could also see her asking me why I didn't say anything earlier. I have to sign this piece of paper, but honestly, I didn't pay much attention to it. I have to sign these pieces of paper all the time; the business office often sends me multiple copies in a semester, even if nothing has changed. And I have to sign them all. At the time, I assumed that it was just an administrative thing to get me full funding- this sort of thing has happened before, but with professors that I knew- their names just showed up on the sheet, and no one told me until after the fact what was going on.

Argh. Anyway, I don't have time to worry about it right now. I'm working to put together a description of the symposium I am developing for our big professional conference this year. That's priority number one right now. I had a "Big Name" respond to my invitation to participate with interest, which is very, very positive. This is going to work out, I know it.