Wednesday, August 31, 2005

worthy of the refrigerator

Today in the new lab room the hood (thing that sucks in air so you can work with biological hazards without them floating into your face) got inspected and certified so we can use it. REALLY exciting stuff going on here, huh?

Despite the slowness of work and my pessimistic attitude toward it, a few good things do turn up now and then. For example, a couple weeks ago I made this!

What is it? It's a plate of media called sheep blood agar (thus the red color) on which I grew fecal samples from mice who had either gotten regular water (left) or water with some antibiotic in it (right). The point was to wipe out the bacteria that normally live in the mouse intestine with the antibiotic. And, obviously, it worked, because almost nothing grew on the right side of the plate, whereas tons of little grey blobs showed up on the left.

A simple "experiment," not really proving anything novel or exciting, but it was thrilling to have something actually turn out the way I wanted it to! I'm stickin' that picture up on the refrigerator, Mommy!

Another glimmer of hope came today when a Western blot (thing to detect small amounts of protein) I developed showed much higher levels of protein than I had expected. The bad news is now I have to do the blot over again because the protein levels are TOO high, but the good news is that it "worked."

I often wonder what it would be like if I worked in some other field. Do they ever have experiences like my experiments that I do over and over and over again but get no positive results. I suppose that in most fields people do who this don't last long because they're classified as unproductive workers. I an unproductive worker...???

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

knitting "knews"

I'm going to attempt to give knitting updates on Tuesdays from here on out...

Many things on the knitting front this week:

After finishing the Good Bias shrug a couple weeks ago, I've worn it a couple times and have decided that it needs some help. The back is way to wide. I considered taking out the center back seam, ripping out a few rows from each side, and reseaming, but the sleeves are also a bit too short. Thus, I'm seaming up the sleeves a little bit more. Not the perfect solution, but I think it will work okay. I sewed a bit of one seam on the bus yesterday but haven't checked the new fit. Sleeves seem to be a continual problem for me!! Either the length is wrong or the armscye is incorrect.

Fortunately, the sleeves on the Fairly Easy Fair Isle cardigan sweater are pretty good. Maybe another inch or so would have been better, but it works (I just like my sleeves extra long). At least my arm fits into the armhole without getting squeezed! I finished knitting on the button and button-hole bands (added an extra button-hole because I added some length to the body of the sweater), wove in all the extra ends, and then headed out to find some buttons. The first store I went to didn't have what I was looking I went to Jo-Ann on Saturday night. They didn't have quite what I wanted, either - I was looking for large periwinkle squares or circles - but I found some wood-look buttons that I thought would work well if sewn on with the periwinkle yarn. I was right! Another finished object for me! Below is a picture of my FEFI cardi in its new home - my freezing cold lab.

Also while at Jo-Ann to find buttons I decided to check out the price of Wool-Ease. I've decided to use Wool-Ease for a Maine Islands sweater called Starry Night which I fell in love with soon after I learned how to knit. Now I feel like I actually possess the skills to knit the beloved sweater! I was sooooo excited when I got to Jo-Ann and found out that the Wool-Ease (worsted) was ON SALE!!! I had been watchin the ads from Jo-Ann and Michaels for months lookig for a sale on Wool-Ease, and here it was, unadvertised. I felt so lucky. I grabbed the balls I needed and started swatching on size 8's aiming for 18 stitches/4 inches.

I had yet another experience with the Aran sweater that contributed to the love-hate relationship we have. I will really LOVE it when this sweater is done, and I hate that it's going to take forever. It takes extra long when I work the wrong stitch, as I did last week in the super-easy braided cable, and don't realize it until 4 rows (or more) up the pattern and then have to rip out the stitches. I'm getting better at weaving my needle into the row that I want to rip down to; however, it's still difficult for me to keep the needle on the same row the whole way across. After this unfortunate rip and do-over event, I've been going pretty well. Worked the Aran on the bus most days last week. I can get about 4 rows done per day that way...not very much, but every little bit matters.

And finally, the moment I've been waiting for...Knit One, the new yarn store by my house, is OPEN!!! I saw a huge "OPEN" flag outside their door yesterday on the bus home from work, and even though I still needed to go to the store, buy powdered sugar, make frosting, and frost cupcakes for my Bible study that was going to begin in an hour, I still hopped off at the stop near the store and dashed to their front door. They were not really open; the door was locked. They're actually closed on Mondays; the flag was more an in-general announcement. "We're open for business...the store just isn't open today..." But the nice lady unlocked the door and let me in. SO MUCH YARN. And it's spread out, too, so I don't feel like I'm going to knock over a whole case of skeins as I turn around. I am SOOOO looking forward to going there and hopefully just sitting and knitting. I hope they let people do that. I bought the latest Vogue Knitting magazine (I felt I should buy something since they'd opened the door for me!) and took delighted note of some cute totes made of recycled sweaters. I wanna make one...! Much joy and celebrating.

Oh, one last thing - I picked up Knitting from the Netherlands from the library today. My ancestors are Dutch, and I've always been intrigued by traditional patterns. I excitedly paged through the book over lunch today and found lots of things that will be neat to try out!

Monday, August 29, 2005

where do i belong?

I decided to figure out which Hogwarts house I would be sorted into were I ever to go to Hogwarts, which, for the record, I would never do. There is a multitude of Sorting Hat quizzes out there on the internet. The "official" one at redirects me to the Prizoner of Azkaban movie website once I've answered all the questions and click "submit." Not very informative. I have taken four others. Two said I belonged in Hufflepuff. One said I belonged in Gryffindor. One said I belonged in Ravenclaw. I have no idea anymore.

All I really wanted to do the sorting for was to figure out which colors I should use to knit a scarf-bookmark with "my" house colors. I suppose I can just pick which colors I like best and go with that. Sadly, I really like green, and that would plunk me in Slytherin, which is NOT where I really want to be sorted. A bunch of meanies and individuals with low self-esteem seem to be in that house based on the books.

Oh well...not that any of this really matters, anyhow!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

the power of suggestion and a bunch of changes

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Monday or so this week, and I picked up the 3rd book but only read the first chapter so far. Going to try to slow it down a little bit, though I certainly would like to read through the end of book 4 by the time the new movie comes out.

I really like the character Dumbledore, even better in the books than in the movies. I adore how he is always wandering around at night en route to get hot chocolate and how when disaster strikes in the middle of the night, he solves it and then suggests that everyone go have a nice hot cup of hot cocoa and go to bed. Hot chocolate seems to keep coming up in these books, and I have to say that I wanted nothing more for several nights than to sit with a mug of hot chocolate. On Wednesday I decided to make some - REAL hot cocoa from the stove top with sugar, cocoa, milk, and a dash of vanilla. Mmmmm. (Although honestly I like hot cocoa powder a lot better...I need to mess with the stove-top recipe because it's too sweet or something for my taste.) It was so nice to hold my mug of piping hot cocoa and slowly sip it...

Friday night I watched the Chamber of Secrets DVD, taking some note of the knitted and crocheted garments worn in the movie. Incidentally, I was knitting while watching it, so I didn't quite give the movie my full attention. Perhaps I'll need to remedy that soon. I must admit, however, that I'm less motivated to watch movies where I really care what's happening on the screen when I have to watch them on the t.v. at my house. It's so small, I can't see much. I know - stop complaining and buy a new t.v. Like I'm made of money.

Lots of things are "new" around here. The new room at work is basically all done - I hooked up my laptop to the internet in there this week and did some work from my new desk. Hooray!! A few finishing touches and a little bit of adjusting and we'll be up and running.

Today I helped my friends Karen and Craig (married) move into their newly purchased (closed on Friday!) home, in which another friend, Jason, is also living (and thus is also currently moving). I don't know what it is, but I LOVE doing stuff like this - real, actual, tangible work. (See my post about Habijax.) I had a great time, and it helped that the weather was cooler, although a tad drizzly, but not for very long. I and a small army of others successfully moved all the furniture into the new house, which was quite a feat. We're a little worried - Karen and Craig's cat seems to be missing -- escaped through a door while we moved things in and out??? I'm hoping not. Could be just scared out of her mind at all the big things entering the new house via a multitude of strangers.

And yes, when I arrived home tonight after the moving there were new shower doors in the bathroom. However, as anticipated, only in the one bathroom because they won't fit in the other one. I have to admit, I sort of like them. :-) They don't exactly work quite right, but it's nothing that a few creative people like my roommate and myself can't figure out. The issue is that the doors either aren't hung level or are just messed up and they won't stay closed at one end (obviously a problem when one is taking a shower and hoping to use the doors to keep water from escaping the shower area). We're going to attempt affixing some magnets to the ends of the doors and see if we can't encourage them to stay closed when asked.

Friday, August 26, 2005


A few entertaining things for this Friday afternoon...

I like my landlord and all, but every now and then she amuses me. On Wednesday night I got a call from her telling me that Tom, the handyman, would be stopping by this weekend to install shower doors. To install WHAT?! Shower doors. I'm not quite sure what this means, but I'm guessing something like this...except not quite so nice-looking.

There's nothing wrong with getting us shower doors (although I'm not sure how they're going to work with the one shower that has a window that intersects the place where the shower curtain currently is...), but it's just so...random! And I must say that the first thing that came to my mind when the landlord told me was "Could I please exchange the shower doors for a new window that actually closes and seals and locks because sometimes I get scared that it's going to rain and snow inside the house or someone is going to open that window and climb inside?" Or "Would Tom please look at our dryer first, because it's been broken for 2 weeks?" But I didn't say those things, and to be fair my landlady doesn't have any idea about those two items because we haven't brought them up. It's one of those situations where the wonderful American habit of complaining about the problem all the time makes it seem like it's obvious to everybody, even people who aren't in the house, what the problem is.

Hm, on second thought, that wasn't really so funny. Sorry.

This isn't super funny either, but I'm tryin':
At about 1:10p.m. (13:10 for those on 24-hour clocks) the fire alarm went off in my building at work. Grr... This happens quite often - probably one a month or so. Usually false alarms (or small, contained fires that would be better dealt with using, oh, maybe water - or a few minutes of waiting for the combustion source to be consumed). So all 500 or so of us emptied ourselves out onto the lawn and waited...and waited...and waited... It turned out that one of the steam pipes under the building burst and the steamfitters and facilities management people now needed to reroute the steam and figure out what to do to fix the problem. We ended up having to stay outside for at least an HOUR!! Ugh! Not the quick-fix false fire alarm we're used to.

That wasn't so funny (random, yes...!), but the fact that today is orientation day for all the new students to the Graduate School of Public Health was. These poor people step into their new surroundings only to be ordered out and told to sit outside! Some were pulled from their orientation lunches. :-( Some of the faculty finally decided that orientation needed to go on, so they gathered the new students from their departments together and started talking all about the ins and outs of the program - on the lawn. Poor students! Perhaps the most memorable orientation they've ever had!

Still not entertained? Visit Piled Higher and Deeper, especially if you are a graduate student. It's comics for and by grad studens, although they're pretty good even if you're not a student (I would assume). Comic number 20 is one of my favorites, answering a question I've always had about those fancy-schmancy calculators! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

the hardest question OR wisdom from the maine islands

I'm in the process of writing a grant proposal in hopes of getting some funding for my project here in grad school. Mostly I'm adapting materials I submitted in January for another grant that I JUST BARELY missed receiving. However, there is one section - number 15 - in this grant application that is different than the previous one...and it's amazingly tough.

Sounds simple enough: Long Term Career Goal. I'm sure I could pull together something and make it sound convincing, but the question still remains...what do I really want to do?

My gut reaction is to write about how I want to become a professor or other instructor (maybe even high school or middle school), cleverly masking this goal (since for some reason a lot of academics look down on teaching as a career goal) with wording that is more along the lines of "training" students or even just "future investigators," which would also secretly encompass my ACTUAL desire to leave the work force and be at home and raise children. That is, after all, what I (mostly) want to do. But is it really? I've seen that as I go through life, I learn about mroe and more careers that I never knew existed before. Like policy-advising...drug regulation...scientific writing...investment consulting...sales...scientific database development and management (I'm referring to Los Alamos National Laboratory databases here)... How am I supposed to know what I want to do when I don't even know what there is for me TO do?

One thing I know for sure is that I would like to do something that "helps people" a lot more than what I'm doing now. Yes, I'm researching ways to prevent the spread of HIV, but I have thus far made zero progress and see absolutely NO benefit to anybody from my three years of working here. All I've done is use tax dollars (as that is where my pay originates from) to pay for my comfortable living and supplies for experiments that don't work very well but that I get to present at meetings, which I travel to also on government money. I feel more like a criminal than a helper!

All I can determine from that is that I want to help people in some way. Teaching would be helping them, in my mind, although nursing or food service would be much more tangible ways of helping. And, in reality, if I want to be helping people with HIV, I'd be better off serving in a village in Africa!

There's always the argument, though, that I would be "wasting" my intelligent scientific mind if I left my current field and went to another.

As I began to ponder all this, I happened over to the library to pick up the video version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. While there I thought I'd try to track down my favorite knitting pattern book ever, Sweaters from the Maine Islands. It contains a pattern I'm going to start knitting soon and another one that I faintly remembered and thought might be good for my mom, so I wanted to see if I could find it. I hadn't seen it in the library for a while, as the library has been in transition for over a year. I finally asked a librarian, and she kindly dug it up for me from the oversized books, which were in hiding. (Librarian might also be a helping job I'd enjoy.) Not only does the book contain great sweater patterns, it also has some brief commentary about life on the little island off the coast of Maine where the designer lives and works and knits and publishes patterns.

Curled up in bed one night I read one of these musings. It described the island's workers - people mostly work at building or repairing buildings and boats or as teachers or store operators. And it described the island itself - with one small dump for everyone's trash, a school with 65 students ages 5 through 18, miles from the conveniences of a big city.

It made me think. About the meaning of work. About my career goals. About my significance in my career. And about the way I spend my money and live my life. I realized that, compared to the island life, there is little practicality in my work. All those jobs were serving jobs, jobs that met a need of some sort. That desire in my heart for a "helping job" isn't just what I want, it's something that makes logical sense. And I just don't see my research as a helping job. Not the way I want to see it.

So...what? Am I seeing my job as less important than it is? Is my current position just a stepping stone to something that IS useful - or is it merely a waste of time and other peoples' money? If now is just a step, what's that next, grand thing I'm supposed to be working my way to?

The more I think about it, the less sure I am that I have a true answer to section 15: Long Term Career Goal. Even "get married and raise children" doesn't speak to the deepest desire of my heart - to HELP.

Friday, August 19, 2005

in his blood

AMAZING! The new room for the lab is done. All the plastic has been removed and the ceiling is back to normal. I moved a bunch of my desk things back into the new lab, trusting that the ceiling will not fall down again. The internet I think works, but I need to get an IP address for my computer before it will work with my computer. Perhaps on Monday all will be okay.

So what was wrong with the ceiling? Why did it look like it would take forever yesterday and then today it's all done? Well, the problem was not a leak in a pipe as the engineers I heard talking suggested it was. Turns out, according the the painter, that when the ceiling had been finished before, it hadn't been painted correctly. There was condensation between one layer of the ceiling and the paint, and when that got built up too much, the paint said adios and started coming off. He assured me that he was a much better painter than that and that his paint job would NOT come falling to the floor. Hooray!

I had become really impressed with the painter over the past couple of days. He also painted the door to the room, which has a window in the middle of it. Without using tape or anything to prevent the paint from gooshing onto the window or other parts that shouldn't get painted, he put on layer after layer of perfect "inside the lines" paint! From my few days of painting for Habijax, I learned that it is possible to do this but is a bit tricky. I commented about the painter's skill to him, and he just grinned and said it came naturally to him. "It's in my blood," he told me. Turns out, he is and artistic painter, too. I guess I never thought about hte fact that DaVinci and Michelangelo, etc. didn't have lines to paint within, and their paintings don't have big paint blobs where there shouldn't be paint. Hm. Wow. Painting is certainly not in my blood.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


The construction of two new places I will frequent is almost complete!

First, the new knitting store. I keep looking out the bus window at it and seeing skeins and skeins of yarn building up inside, as well as very comfy-looking sofas and nice-looking people who are putting the yarn in cubbies. I want to try to walk by it and gaze into the windows today after work - maybe even meet the people if they're still there by the time I get out of the lab. I'll get off the bus a stop or two early.

Second is the new room for the lab. Last week marked the successful installation of internet ports (er...I guess I never checked if they actually work...but still), a telephone, a door, and a lock. The lab was finished! I moved a few things into the new place on Friday before I left for the hockey tournament. Tuesday when I came back white stuff was all over the bench top near where I had put a hot plate. I looked up, and lo and behold - the ceiling was crumbling in large chunks. So I called Facilities Management, and they have now come and put plastic over everything in the room (including my desk...which is a little not so great) and have ripped more of the ceiling apart in an effort to determine what is wrong. Well, they did all that on Tuesday, and they haven't been back that I've noticed, so who knows how long the room will be plasticized. I have noticed that another empty room down the hall, which does not belong to my lab, also has paint falling from the ceiling. When the people come back to work on the ceiling again, I think I'll point that out to them. So much for the room being done... Boo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

done, done and getting done

DONE - with the hockey tournament. Yow, was it something else. We lost 2 games and tied a third but won none. I did, however, win at the shot-stopping challenge in the skills competition, but that was rather ridiculous and wasn't a good judge of who was a good or bad goalie, in my opinion (nor was it a fair judge of who was a good or bad shooter). I won a new stick, and I can't feel too bad about winning the unfair contest because the new stick has a paddle about 3 inches too short thanks to my long legs. The tourney was okay, pretty fun, I felt good about how I was playing and now feel motivated to practice/work out some. It was also tiring and has caused my body to be in a large amount of pain, particularly in the upper parts of my legs in basically every muscle.

DONE - with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It was cute, funny, and a little witty. Still felt like a fairly small child's book despite a rumor from someone I talked to the other day that said the books were never intended for kids but were written for adults. I would tend to argue against that. I've begun on the second book, the first two chapters of which made me want to put it down and never read it because I dislike Dobby so very much. Sure he's just trying to do what's nice, but he's not doing it in a very nice manner. No matter what anyone says, he didn't go about his warning task in the correct manner whatsoever.

GETTING DONE - with the Fair Isle sweater. I rode in the car with 3 players this weekend out to Philadelphia/Delaware, and then back, and to and from the ice rink a time or two every day. That's a lot of hours for knitting! I finished the two sleeves in the round, and yesterday when I went to take my 2002 Civic sedan in to the Honda dealership to get looked over for its 40,000 mile check, I joined the sleeves and the body part together and have done a few rows. I have decided that I totally stink at the stranding technique and can't for the life of me control the yarn tension at all. I need some practice on something. I hate practicing knitting, because I feel like it's such a waste. I spend all that time making stitches and don't get anything out of it that's useful other than the mastery of a technique. I'd rather learn while I go. Maybe I'd actually better learn to withstand practice, otherwise all my projects are going to look like crap.

Anyhow, the sweater is huge now, but a good huge. It's just a big thing to plop onto one's lap to work on. Definitely can't take it on the bus to knit, because it requires its own quite large bag to fit into. Really, think about stuffing a full-size bulky sweater into something to carry around. That's what this is. So I'll just keep working on it at home. I hope that the weather stays cooler like I has been the past couple days around here, because it's awful trying to knit with the wool/mohair blend when it's 90+ degrees Fahrenheit INSIDE the house (which it gets to be).

Other knitting news: WEBS has confirmed that they're sending out the Cotton Fleece I'd ordered on June 22 and has finally arrived from the manufacturer. Yay! Perhaps I'll start knitting that on the bus. Harry Potter might win out, now that I've gotten past the make-me-want-to-kick-house-elves part.

Also, that new knitting store going up around the corner and up the hill from me is getting more and more done. There were lights on when I went past this morning on the bus, and the place looks HUGE and cute. I just can not wait for it to open!!

The news at work: One experiment I started last Friday worked great. One I started last Friday didn't work great but wasn't totally awful. The one I'm doing today is not going well at all. Grr.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I'm zipping through Harry Potter. It's pretty well-written as far as subtle foreshadowing, suspense-building, and importance of each scene go. Once upon a time I read a quote I think from Mark Twain about writing short stories (and I think this should apply to most novels, too) - in paraphrase it says that every word counts. Don't include any word that isn't absolutely essential to the story. J. K. Rowling does a pretty good job at this. I must admit, though, that Twain's advice wasn't quite followed in a lot of Emily Bronte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville works (although I'm open to the idea of me being wrong since perhaps I just don't understand a lot of that flowery language that probably is some deep allegory to life) - and they're still good (except maybe Moby Dick; that was just long).

Okay, I have located said quote. Well, more truthfully 2 that might be what I'm thinking of. They're from

"To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."
- Letter to Emeline Beach, 2/10/1868

"I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English - it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them - then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice."
- Letter to D. W. Bowser, 3/20/1880

I used to love to read. Every now and then I get back into a "fad" of loving to read, but it's not a constant thing like it used to be. I can distinctly recall making a goal one day when I walked into the local public library around age 7 or 8: I wanted to read every book in that library. And I was quite confident that I could do it, too. I bet I could, although I'd have to take it on as a fulltime job - but as I think back on it now, I don't want to read all the books there. There are loads I would never want to read, and I don't mean the non-fictions about chasms on Mars or the developmental biology of ants. I mean works of fiction that are just full of rubbish and aren't quality reading. I admit, I prefer classics over the New York Times bestseller list - not that all of the Times bestsellers are rubbish! But so many are full of violence, immorality, and concerns that non-merciful-me thinks are petty and easily solvable. Hand me a Charles Dickens anytime.

BUT - in my quest to read all the books in the Kentwood Library , I did manage to read a few of my all-time favorites, including...

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    If I were to begin the reading of all the books in the Kentwood Library, I would start out with these "reading goals" which include a bunch of series...

  • Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, which are the two other books in the trilogy by C.S. Lewis (one of my all-time favorite authors) that begins with Out of the Silent Planet, which I read furiously after my dear brother gave me a copy.
    (I should note here that Out of the Silent Planet is one of my favorite non-Kentwood-library-read books another one of which is The Princess Bride by William Goldman.)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (do we note a trend here...).
  • The Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling, thanks to my new book.
  • The Anne of Green Gables series - L. M. Montgomery. I read some of these as a kid but never got very far.

    OH! Just making this short list brings to mind a million more books that I'd like to read or re-read. I guess I do like reading. It just takes so much time...
  • Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    a new thing to do on the bus

    Oh yes... I thought about starting a new take-along project for the bus rides to and from work. I had originally considered something that I was thinking of making for some friends who are getting married soon, but then I decided I didn't know if I really wanted to put forth the effort when I didn't know if they really wanted a knitted project from me. Then I considered that dratted Aran sweater again, but it sounded too daunting for the time being. I also tossed around the idea of learning to crochet and using the tons of leftover cotton yarn from the shrug to make a few dishclothes for said getting-married friends. But then I borrowed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone from my roommate, and that is my new bus project.

    I have watched all 3 Harry Potter movies and liked them a lot. Charming, fun, funny, suspenseful but not enough to make me scared - they also require thought because there's always a complicated mystery involved. I had never read the books before. Not being one who likes to jump on the bandwagon with all the fads that come along, I never picked up the books. I don't know what made me change my mind now, but I did. Thought it might be nice to actually read something, and those books seemed like they'd be enjoyable since everyone I know who had read them couldn't put them down, and even if they were boring I'd still stay intrigued because I knew what was going to happen (from the movie) and would want to read until I got to a familiar part from the movie (this is how I got through the Lord of the Rings series, which I am terribly regretful to say were...not outstandingly gripping to me). I'm in the midst of the Sorting Hat chapter, and I rather wish I had not watched the movies now, because it's actually getting boring reading without needing my imagination. Thus, motivation to read through the 4th book before that movie comes out...! Funny how that works.

    new room

    Before I begin, I want to say that for anyone who's watching, I did NOT just amazingly speed through the Fair Isle cardigan - I simply realized that I had forgotten to take into account that I've already knit up to the armscyes on the body portion and was only counting the 5ish rows I've done on the sleeves. Oops. Makes me feel better, though.

    Onto the news of the day...

    Here at work my lab has been granted 2 new rooms which were "recently" ( January it seems like) vacated by a different lab. One room will go to my coworker Ming, and another will be used by my sort-of-supervisor Yue Chen, my coworker Lori, and myself. Renovations have been going on in these two rooms for quite some time, and we're anxious to move into the new place but must wait for all the renovations to be completed. We'd peek into the rooms every day, and often several times every day, to check on the progress. In the middle of July the rooms were pretty much complete. The new counters and shelves had been installed, and the desks we had reserved for the rooms (including my new desk - new to me, at least - which has a lot of room and shelves in it - yay!) had been moved in. However, we still couldn't really move any of our lab equipment in (and thus couldn't start working in the room) because the old - and by old I mean OLD - locks on the old doors were rusted from the inside out and thus couldn't be used anymore unless we wanted to lock the door and never be able to get it open again. So we have been waiting for new doors and new locks. And we also realized that we needed to put in a separate work order for the installation of phone lines and ethernet ports (I'm getting my own ethernet port!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!). In order to do that we had to search the rooms for if there already were any phone jacks or ethernet ports and detail their locations so they wouldn't install or move more than we needed.

    This week it seems like a ton has occurred in the little rooms. The old doors came off and the new doors went in yesterday, and glass was installed in the door windows today. Also today the phone jacks and ethernet ports were moved, and we even got the phones I had to order Monday (yeah, when you ask the University to put in a new jack they don't bother telling you that you also need to order a phone to go with the jack...). The phones now work, although the University voice mail system isn't set up yet, so I had to make one more call about getting that to be worked out (this also isn't assumed when you request a new phone line...). Tomorrow the locksmith is coming, and so we should be good to go by the end of the week! !!!!! Hooray!!!!!

    Can't wait to start moving things in...!

    Tonight I'm headed to the Cheesecake Factory with the gals from my Bible study group. I hope I can stay awake. I'm awfully tired today, although I got a lot of sleep last night. Suppose Monday night's lack finally caught up with me.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005


    Sometimes I really have to laugh at myself because of the situations I put myself in.

    Recently I've been learning a lot about discipline and why it's so important. I want to be disciplined in reading my Bible, praying, staying in contact with friends and family, sleeping, and working. I read something almost every day that reminds me that I should be disciplined and that it takes work but will pay off in the end. I've come to realize that I tend towards the notion (thanks to my upbringing in spoiled America) that I can have a high-paying job where I do not much actual work and get to take lots of vacations, and that I can have it NOW. Society says, "If you want it, go to the store and get it...even if you don't have the money for it." That's rubbed off on my view of life in general. It's very undisciplined.

    Thus, despite my constant reminders about it, I still stay up until 1:30a.m. (when I have to get up at 6), play games instead of buy groceries or at least call my mom who just came back from a trip and had a job interview, and don't eat dinner (fried zucchini doesn't count as dinner, although it feels like it in my stomach). And what happens? I'm tired (although I amazingly was wide awake at 6...), I have no food (like...seriously in my refrigerator there's really old salsa that I should throw away, leftover baklava from Friday night, lunch meat, and a piece of American cheese. That's it. I'm dead serious.) including no food for lunch other than a sandwich, apple, and carrots, and I missed out on a lot of exciting stuff with my mom that I found out boringly via email. PLUS I didn't do any of those I-want-to-prove-I'm-disciplined things I mentioned above.

    Why, why, why?

    On a brighter note, I did put forth a lot of disciplined effort in finishing the Good Bias shrug over the weekend. I seamed the two sides (using Kitchener stitch) yesterday on the bus (well...I started it at a million o' clock at night on Sunday and finished it on the bus...) and just need to sew up the arms now. Yay!!!!

    AND - this is unbelievable -- I called up WEBS, which is where I had put in my latest (June 22) and still standing order for yarn that was on backorder to make a skirt -- and it's in and should be shipped today or so. YAY!!!!! Now...I can start on something that I might possibly be able to finish before it gets too cold to wear. Brown Sheep Yarn Co. - I love you, but you really gotta up that production.

    Wait...wasn't I just saying something about being a demanding American?

    P.S. Check out my friend "Al"'s blog.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    can't think

    I can't come up with anything very interesting to write in these few moments I have available to type. I'm getting to the end of my shrug, which is good news. Need to find a new project to work on while riding the bus. I could, I guess, pick up that dratted Aran sweater again. It hasn't gotten big enough to be hard to carry around...since I have to rip it apart every 2 weeks when I do work on it - grrr grrr. However, this weekend my roommates are bringing back to me the first Harry Potter book. I've never read any of them and decided I'd give one a shot. So possibly I'll be devouring the pages on the bus if it's a gripping as everyone says it is. We'll see.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    hello, my name is grumpy

    Maybe it's hormones, maybe it's lack of patience, maybe it's a bad attitude. But I was not very excited to be at pick-up for hockey last night. First of all I hadn't realized that our ice time started 45 minutes later than it had the week before, and nobody had pointed that out to me. So I was there 45 minutes early. And I was there 45 minutes later...which meant I faced 45 minutes less sleep. As the ice arena is 30 minutes from my home, I had no intention of going back, and so I utilized the time to work on my knitting, which fortunately I had taken along with me. The first half is now done. "Woo hoo" I say with little enthusiasm.

    And then... And then when we finally do get on the ice it's this one guy trying his darndest to shoot the puck through the center of my body, I swear. I don't really mind taking shots like this. They're strong, clean shots (although I can't figure out why players - particularly guys - think they're exceptionally well-planned shots since they go RIGHT AT THE GOALIE...) and are easy to stop (see previous parentheses), so it makes the goalie feel like he/she is doing a good job. That wasn't my issue with this particular dude. I was much more frustrated by the fact that as he went flying around the ice with his show-offy shots, there was always at least one gal who could have gotten an even better shot if he had just dumped the puck back to her. I was mad. Wasting the team's time as they prepare for a tournament, wasting my time as in real games people don't usually get non-stop breakaways, and being a conceited jerk trying to impress I'm not quite sure who. I got off the ice. I couldn't take it. I thought I was going to have to sock him.

    And then when I jumped back on the ice the teams had switched sides and then I got about zero shots and just stood there most of the time. Overall not a very good experience. And I was crabby for having been at the ice arena for so long and now having to drive back home at 11p.m.


    I did, however, find out that the ice arena has curling. I'd love to try that sometime.

    I long for the "good old days" when I had a goalie coach to work with. I never realized how lucky I was to grow up with Mr. Townsend who would make sure he or another coach was working with me on skate saves or keeping my floating stick on the ice (bad habit I still while the other girls worked on passing and plays and whatnot. In college I was also so blessed - there was an ex-college goalie who came to most of our practices and worked Melissa (the other goalie) and I until I thought we were going to pass out. Those were the days...