Sunday, January 29, 2006

Secret Pal!

I got my Knittyboard Secret Pal today! I am really excited- we have a bunch of preferences in common. Our "dream occupations" are remarkably similar, even. I'm going to try hard to spoil her with things that she will like.

DH got home last night. I ended up being pretty excited about it, which was good. I knew I was excited when I found myself making a blackberry crumble, because I knew he would like it. :) It's good to have him home.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Five Days of Solitude

I had the apartment to myself this week. DH went to his university on Sunday, so he could see all the job talks this week, meet with professors, etc. I admit, it's been nice to get a little "alone time" this week. I've always liked having alone time, and it is really hard when DH and I are both working in the same office at home all day, every day. If we're not together, it's because I'm out doing something like teaching class or going to knitting. It's been especially nice to get the break from cooking! He should be coming back today.

So I've tried to do things that are difficult for me to do when he's here, but are fun for me. I went to see Brokeback Mountain (GREAT movie, btw). I didn't cook AT ALL. Didn't worry about tidiness (got to make up for that today, though!).

Monday, January 23, 2006

Two more for the blogroll

I'm adding two new blogs to my links on the right- the first one is PsycGirl, and the second is The PhD Explosion. Let me just say that I feel their pain.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hey, Kool-Aid!

Tonight, I am going to make my first foray into dying yarn with kool-aid. I spent $15 on Kool-aid at the store today- got WAY too much. WAY too much. I figure I can always send the extras to an international person from the knittyboard as a random act of kindness. I'm testing it out on some peach superwash merino DK weight yarn that I have left over from a scarf I made my mom a few years ago. I went to a couple of different craft stores looking for Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool (to tide me over until I make a knitpicks order), but the Joann's and Michael's that are closest to me didn't have them. So I went to my LYS, but they were CLOSED today! The nerve! I was going to get some natural colored NatureSpun.

When I got home, I remembered that I had an orphan skein. Peach isn't really my color, and I only have one skein, so I didn't really know what I was going to do with it anyway. I think overdying is fine for my initial foray into kool-aid dying. I'm going to do a bunch of different reds/maroons with a touch of grape, and maybe, MAYBE a smidge of blue. maybe. The peach is pretty light, so I think it won't interfere with the colors too much.

One of my good friends got engaged a few days ago! Best wishes to her, and congrats to her fiance! I know she's excited about it. They're trying to figure out where to have their wedding. It could be anywhere! (seriously.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Progress on Resolutions

So in a recent post, I listed four goals I have for myself this year.

1. Flylady
2. Run a 5K by June
3. Get my act together with regards to school
4. Spend less money on groceries

So how am I doing?

Flylady: I just can't bring myself to subscribe to the emails! However, I am working through the babysteps to make a control journal. So far, I have a morning routine and an evening routine, which I am, more or less, sticking to. I think the morning routine may be a little extensive for me, but I think they're all things I need to do, so I don't know what to cut out. Evening routine is easy, although I am resistant, for some reason, to laying out my clothing in advance. So far, so good. Next step is to try to get some kind of afternoon/evening routine that involves doing Kelly's Missions and doing the 15 minutes of tidying/decluttering.

5K: Not going so well, because my knees have been killing me. I think I overdid it on the elliptical. I'm not due for new shoes yet, and have been running on incredibly soft surfaces (indoor track, athletic fields). I think it's been almost a week since I've done any running? I've run twice in the last week and a half. Not great, but I will just try to be nicer to myself in the future so I'm not laid up for so long!

School: Oy. Not so much. This is a huge source of anxiety. I was hoping that teaching this semester would help me with prioritizing, but that hasn't happened yet. I think I need to do what my advisor says and "ignore the cracks in the ceiling." This may mean ditching more of Flylady. We'll see. I also need to work more efficiently with regards to prepping for my class.

Groceries: No clue, although we have been doing decent meal planning. We spent a lot of money last week on eating out b/c of the flooding and general turmoil associated with pretty heavy duty maintenance. So obviously, we'll have spent less on groceries but a lot more on eating out. Not great, but a good effort so far.

In other news, I signed up for the knittyboard's Secret Pal 6 round. This is kind of exciting!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Greetings, gentle readers!

I apologize for not updating in a while- I've been really busy recently. First, we arrived in our other apartment to find the carpet soaking wet, the result of a plumbing backup next door. Fun! We've spent the last week dealing with this. DH has been a total gem dealing with all the university housing folks, who have been resistant to doing pretty much anything related to fixing the situation. DH had to convince them that yes, they needed to replace the carpet pad that had been soaked with untreated waste water, and yes, they needed to clean the carpets. Our neighbors next door have had it much worse- the particleboard in their cabinets soaked up the waste water, so the stench has lingered in their apartment. The University refuses to replace all the cabinets, and the neighbors, who have two kids under the age of 3, are living in "emergency housing" right now, and trying to get the university to give them another apartment. Our oriental rug got wet too, so we had to send that out for cleaning, and DH also convinced the university to reimburse us for it. You can't use a rug doctor or regular carpet cleaner on an oriental rug; it will ruin it.

Second, I started teaching my class! I think this will be fun for me, although stressful and time-consuming. I think it will force me to be more efficient with my research time too. I FINALLY, finally, finally did the IRB revisions that I've been putting off for WAY too long. They actually sent me an email today saying that they hadn't heard from me, even though I sent my revisions off yesterday. I'll call them on Tuesday to try to clear it up.

I have a lot to learn with teaching, though- I went WAY too fast for my first lecture. WAY too fast. I finished what should have been an hour and a half lecture in one hour. Students came up to me afterwards to ask me to slow down! I am not used to talking slow enough to allow for note-taking, and I didn't have a whiteboard to slow me down (I was using powerpoint slides).

So goals for this weekend: do research work, plus my first lecture for next week. The other professor teaching this class has kindly allowed me to use her slides, so I don't have to develop major content, only filling in the (rather large) cracks.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! We celebrated last night by making roast duck (using the recipe from Barefoot in Paris- Ina Garten, you haven't failed us yet!!) and drinking the delightfully declasse Sofia champagne from the cans. Well, we did pour them into our snooty Vera Wang flutes before drinking, but still. Today, following tradition, I made black eyed pea salsa and will be making greens to go with our pot roast tonight. All in all, 2005 was a pretty good year for us, and we did black eyed peas and greens last year, so who are we to mess with superstition?

DH and I are finally back from our trip back to my hometown for Christmas. The trip went fairly well- no screaming temper tantrums from my mom this year. There were a few major events, though.

First, my parents started demolition on part of their house as Phase I of their big remodeling project. A few years ago, they moved to a nice neighborhood in the city where the houses were old and tiny and the lots were huge (my parents have a 3/4 acre lot!). It's the kind of neighborhood where developers will buy the old, tiny houses, knock them down and put up McMansions.

My mom has always been scared of the stock market, although they do have a little money there, and she has felt most comfortable in real estate. This would explain why my parents have moved seven times in my lifetime! That doesn't even count a few more moves they made in the five years before I was born. Some of these places were temporary, while they were looking for a new place to live (stays might last anywhere from 2 weeks to a year and a half- there have been three places that I would consider temporary). They're not flippers, exactly, but they don't get sentimental about houses. When they think a neighborhood has peaked, they get out before the property values have a chance to deflate. They've done this twice now, successfully. This is really the fourth REAL house that they've had in my lifetime (I'm not counting a house they bought for my sister to live in, which was a HUGE debacle. That's another post for another time, but that is technically a fifth house). Contrast that with DH's parents, who have moved ONCE since they came to the US when he was 6 months old. He thinks the amount of times my parents have moved (twice since we've been together, which has been... 5.5 years!! Wow.) is ridiculous, and thinks that moving once is perfect.

The response in my head is, "Please." My thinking on this is that he will see once we actually start buying property that we will want to move after a few years, just because we'll want to move up. We won't be able to afford what we want right away, so we'll have to build up to it. He will learn this for himself, though, so I see no need to tell him at this point.

Anyway. With all the big house building in my parents' neighborhood, they want to keep up and increase their resale value. These renovations have been in the works since they bought the house 3.5 years ago, but with my wedding and my sister's wedding back-to-back, they've delayed starting construction. Until now. DH was so excited about it- my dad got a dirt guy to come in with his huge, industrial-strength backhoe to knock down the crappy addition the former owners put on the house, tear up the back patio, and grade the back yard. DH took movies with his digital camera. He was so excited. Even my brother-in-law was sad that we didn't call him to tell him to come over.

Second, my dad got a job! This was a huge shocker for all of us. This job just fell into his lap. The wife of a friend of his called my dad to tell him about it. They had closed the position, but couldn't find a qualified candidate (apparently it's hard to find someone who does construction who also has a college degree in engineering), so they opened it back up for my dad to apply. My mom is ecstatic, because it means my dad will have these awesome state benefits (it's a job at the local public university), and she isn't trapped at her job now. Plus, Dad will be bringing in a steady paycheck, which is something that he hasn't done in 25 years (he has been working for himself). Mom is also uber-excited about that. My dad is less excited about the job. He can see the logical reasons why it is good (benefits, retirement account, it's not hard physically like normal construction work, and considering my dad turned 59 last week, these are all big plusses), but he hasn't worked for someone else for 25 years. He likes the autonomy, the setting own hours, working at his own pace, setting his own rules. 2005 was a banner year for my dad professionally- he got his plumber's license (passing the test on the FIRST TRY), and now this new job. Crazy.

Now for the less than good.

My mom's best friend's daughter finally told her that she is a lesbian. This came as a surprise to nobody except her mother. Of course, this isn't bad news, but my mom's best friend is quite conservative, and disapproves of homosexuality. She's taking the news very, very hard. Friend's daughter just left her think-tank job in DC to take an assistant professorship at the local public university so she could be near her mom. They're close. She loves her daughter very much, and she's not going to disown her (thank goodness), so she has a big fat worldview adjustment ahead of her. She also blames herself, because she has made a lot of bad choices in men. She feels that she didn't set a good example for her daughter, and that's why she's a lesbian. Of course, this is totally ridiculous, but at least it means that she's not being as judgmental as she could be (if that makes sense). She'll get over it, but it's going to be tough for a little while. My mom is way more liberal than her friend when it comes to homosexuality, so she's going to be the voice of reason for a little while, as compassionately as she can.

Even worse was my dad's best friend having a stroke. Oy. His girlfriend called up my parents in the middle of the night so my dad could rush over there (the girlfriend lives 45 minutes out in the boonies; my parents live 15 minutes away) and wait for the ambulance... which didn't come! There are some serious city/county issues in my hometown. Lots of bickering. The girlfriend lives in the county, so when she called 911, she got the county dispatcher, who didn't send the ambulance because my dad's best friend lives in the city. Not too long ago, someone who lived on the border DIED because both the city and the county were claiming that his house was in the territory of the other. My dad had to call 911 again when he got to the house. His friend seemed okay then, but seemed to keep having these ministrokes after getting to the hospital. My dad went to see him the next day and said he was much worse. Poor guy. It was kind of nerve-wracking for all of us.

Today, I've been trying to get my teaching all straightened up. I've been trying to get access to do the course website, etc. First productive thing I've done since my symposium got accepted.

I have a few New Year's Resolutions. I am pretty much a "make a change if it needs to be changed, don't worry about the new year" kind of girl, but I think it's nice to have goals. My goals for this year are:

  • Get back on track with FlyLady, and really try to do it FOR REAL this time instead of half-a$$ed. I will never be a shined sink/ugly laceup shoes in the house kind of person, but I think her system should be flexible enough to include people like me, who aren't concerned with our dull sink as long as it's empty of dirty dishes and like to wear slippers around the house. I dread getting all those emails, but darn it if I'm not going to sign up for them again.
  • Run a 5K race by June. Run the WHOLE THING. All 3.1 miles of it. I've been pretty good about running kind of regularly (at least once a week- we ran three times while we were home, twice in the big park with nice trails and American bison!!), and I've been improving. Next semester, I'll be at my university full time with its nice gym, so I'll probably work out more often. This is usually what happens when I'm down there. In theory, I would like to have more fitness goals (eat less sugar, do more weight training, etc.), but I want to keep it realistic and make one change at a time.
  • Get my act together with regards to school. Seriously. I want to make it out in five years. I can still make this happen but I have to work hard, and I have to work fast.
  • Finally, I want to spend less money at the grocery store. We spend SO much on food. It's ridiculous. We're two people. I know my DH eats enough for three, but still.

I guess that's about it from the holiday front. I'll write about knitting tomorrow, I promise. Maybe my presents, too.