Sunday, December 17, 2006

Back among the living

Hi! I've survived my first semester of grad school! How are you?

Actually, I was done on Friday, but I needed a little recovery time before I could even blog. The funny thing is, I took the weekend off from life (well, I worked in the lab for five hours on Saturday, so that wasn't really off), and now I'm all busy again. Baked over 100 cookies last night (stupidly burned half my Sandies, grrrrr), getting ready for a little get-together tonight (the apartment is a disaster), Christmas party at the lab today, laundry, packing, etc. etc. I know, boo hoo.

I haven't quite yet processed how I feel about this first semester and the prospect of another 4 1/2 years of the same. Other than "roller coaster". I'm going to let it percolate in my brain and get back to you.

So, yes, "time off" = handwork, handwork, handwork!!!

Finished my tree skirt!

Worked on the braided cable scarf (even in a restaurant while watching a football game, using a toothpick as cable needle 'cause I forgot mine -- it works -- tee hee). And I did something I have wanted to do for some time. Yes, kids, Sus has started a sweater. It's nothing elaborate, but it's a sweater. It doesn't really look like it just yet...

It's the Country Contrasts pattern from Knitting the New Classics. They call for a looped mohair blend, but I'm knitting it in, Red Heart SS you say? Why, no! I'm moving up in the world! I'm using TLC heathers! LOL! (For those of you who aren't yarn savvy, that's just a different cheap, plastic yarn. But it was free, so hey.) I really have worked with good, natural fiber yarn, but I have such a huge RH stash!!! It's got to be used up, and now, while I'm getting my knitting feet under me, seems like a good time to do that. Plus, it's just what you use for things like tree skirts and tissue box covers. The yarn snobs can get over it. (Woohoo! Watch Sus defend herself to people who don't even read her blog! Yeah! Issues, anyone?)

Okay, that PCR ain't gonna run itself. I'm off. Ta!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

See ya' soon!

Papers and finals until Thursday the 14th. See you afterwards. :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day

We got 13" of snow today. Classes were canceled; offices were closed. Alas, cells continue to divide, so I had to go into the lab. Friends from India had first snowball fight; I helped.

Still having beer and free popcorn tonight, thankyouverymuch. Hooyah.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This, of course, means nothing

I'm really surprised it didn't say, "Wow, we can't believe you noticed another person long enough to seduce them!"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

As you can see, somewhere along the line I decided that "finish all UFOs before starting anything new" actually meant "start a bunch of new crap and ignore the UFOs". As long as we're all on the same page here. Thus, "What I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation".

As I said last time, I got a new Christmas tree. This, of course, means that I need a new tree skirt. Obviously. So I've started one. Hopefully it won't take too long to finish. The base of my new tree is so nekkid.

Just over a week ago, I finally made it to my Local Yarn Store, Kro-Sha. Cute place, and on Wednesday nights they have open stitching. I may have to work that into my schedule. While there I got some aran wool so I could make a warmer scarf for myself and try a more intricate cable pattern. So far it's pretty fun and looks pretty decent.

So I guess the UFOs will have to wait. Again.

Now to update you on the cool stuff around the 'nets! I know you've just been dying for this stuff!!

  • Last week, Missa (who desperately needs update her freakin' blog) made me a coolio bday present. It rocks my face off!!! Hope you don't get sued, baby!!
  • Now, we all know I love the Denver Broncos. Well, now I love the Boise State Broncos, too. Or, at least, I love their star running back Ian Johnson! You see, our boy crochets! What a doll! I highly recommend this ESPN story about him. I just read that he was injured in a game a couple of weeks ago and has been hospitalized for a collapsed lung. Get well soon, Ian!
  • For some people, this is probably blasphemous. Well, it is to me, too, but for entirely different reasons. Dude. You're giving the Farmboy waaaay too much credit. Doesn't keep it from being my new wallpaper, though.
  • In a similar vein, think I should knit this?
  • Still same vein -- Kevin Smith hosted a Dinner For Five. Watch part 1, part 2, and part 3. Awesome.
  • I know that this is pretty old by now and those of you will TV's may find it to be old hat. But I thought it was quite the tirade. Agree or not, I haven't seen an editorial with this level of passion and eloquence for a long time.

Don't you feel so much closer to me now? Heh. Yeah. It's been nice knowin' you. ;)

Friday, November 24, 2006

If a plan died in my apartment, would it make a sound?

I have had this vision for several years now. And I've decided it's never coming to fruition. It probably wouldn't work, anyway, or someone would have done it by now.

Back when we sold the house and moved out west, I gave away the Christmas tree. It had been Mother's; it was the tree we'd had the whole time I was growing up. It leaned horribly and I couldn't figure out how to right it without, like, tethering it to the wall or something. Also, at the time, I was not really into Christmas that much, beyond gathering with family and friends and sharing a good meal. So I got rid of it. I don't regret it or anything, the thing was ragged. But, the point is, I've never replaced it. And I didn't want to. I wanted to Not Have A Tree.

But, you see, my mother and I also collected ornaments. Hallmark Frosty Friends ornaments, to be exact. Every year we got the new one and put it front and center on the tree, surrounded by the Friends of years past. It's a very successful series for the Hallmark company -- this year is the 28th in the series. I have every single one of them. I've carried on the collection since Mama died. And I have many other ornaments besides these -- Star Wars ornaments, ones that I made when I was younger, some of the ones that Mama would bring home to me when she went on her yearly excursion to Crown Center with the bridge club.

So, the point is, I have tons of ornaments. But I didn't want a tree. You see, I had a Plan. The plan was, get lots of green garland, drape it artfully along the tops of the walls, and hang the ornaments from the garland all around the room. In my mind's eye this is fabulous. It's been seven years since I gave away the tree and I have never tried the Plan. And you know what? I never will. I've given up.

Today I needed some lip balm. I'm addicted to lip balm. I'm one of those people who keeps a tube in her backpack, in the desk, in the nightstand, in the bathroom, in every coat pocket, in each purse, etc., etc. My favorite lip balm of all time is Caswell Massey Natural Therapy Lip Balm With Vitamin E. But, alas, they have been back ordered for six months with no end in sight. So I'm running out left and right. I went to Walgreens today to get some original Chapstick to tide me over until I can order more Caswell Massey or I figure out what to love instead.

Okay, that was off topic, but it brings me to Walgreens. Just inside the door they had a big sign proclaiming their one-day-only half-price sale of 6' pre-lighted Christmas trees. $20. I totally caved. I knew the Plan wasn't going to work, especially not in my apartment with the threats about too many holes in the walls and the windows on almost every wall up to the ceiling. So I got a really cheap tree. And as you can guess, the really cheap tree was not the most elegant thing ever put together out of a cardboard box:

But here's the thing about Christmas trees -- even really sad trees, once you get them all decorated and lit are beautiful and festive:

There are still ornaments that didn't even make it onto the tree and it is packed. So festive!

Since I don't have a fireplace, I don't have a mantel, so I hung my stocking near the heat vent, which is, coincidentally, where I have some action figures, so Santa will know for sure it's me he's dealing with when he comes.

Add in that tissue box cover and few other tchotchkes and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas up in here.

And I didn't hear a thing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Because mo' festive is mo' betta

Some things are tacky. Some things are just awful and should never be made, let alone lovingly handcrafted when maybe someone should maybe be working on a research proposal instead. But sometimes, tacky can transcend. Sometimes, sometimes, in the context of a holiday that is full of childhood memories and decades-worth of decorations that have run the gamut from tasteful to grotesque, we find that, given time and perspective, the tasteful is actually grotesque and the grotesque has become fun and kitschy. Or something.

This is all, of course, just ridiculous narrative attempting to elevate my blog entry from, "Look what I made!!" to something with some sort of societal effect. At least on the ever-important home decor front. But I'm failing. So, "Hey! Look what I made!"

Previously, I had been among the ranks of those who would rally against the existence of crocheted tissue box covers. But, because of the fabulous Gingerbread House Tissue Box Cover, I have been rehabilitated! I love this freakin' thing beyond all reason. It makes me happy. It is festive and cute and, really, these can only be good things.

I'm sure there's a way this could bring about world peace.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nixon is the reason I'm alive

Now, you don't hear that very often, now do you?

In 1968, my mother was a 38-year-old divorced mother of two working at JC Penney and hating every minute of it. Her good friend, Ann, was also friends with Pauline, who had a 47-year-old bachelor brother who owned a fire salvage business in town. One day during the first week of November, my mother was going back to work after having lunch with Ann at the corner drugstore and they came upon Pauline's brother walking down the sidewalk. Ann introduced my mother to him. One of his most memorable features was that he wore pants that were too short with yellow socks. He wore these things because they had been stock at the store that no one would buy, so he wore them. He always did things like that.

On Wednesday of the following week, the day after the 1968 presidential election, my mother looked up from her counter at Penney's to see him coming towards her. He smiled and approached the counter.

"Did your candidate win?" he asked.

"Yes, yes he did," my mother replied.

His smile broadened and he asked her if he could take her to the drugstore's soda fountain on her break that afternoon. She said yes and the rest, as they say, is history.

They married a few months later and thirty-seven years ago today, just a little more than a year after they met, I was born.

You go, Tricky Dick.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Okay, I lied -- the end is totally in sight

First, here is my Saturday Sky -- kinda dreary, but a nifty pink tinge earlier.

And now, probably my last hat for a while. Not that I'm off hats or anything, but I do have to get into Christmas mode, and I have a nifty little project I'm starting to that end.

But here is my Crusher Hat, the pattern for which I purchased from Annie's Attic. I think it's pretty cool.

Now you're all wondering what I'm making next -- but I shan't tell you! Oh, no! You shall wait and see! Oh, yes! Bwahahahahaha!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hat-ztravaganza continues - no end in sight

So, I love making hats. For right now. I'm sure the day will come when I never want to make another, but for now we'll just go with it, hmmm?

This hat employs the greatest technique ever!!! Joining colors is a pain in the neck because of all the loose end weaving and tension keeping. But no more!!! I've found a method of weaving in the ends as you go! It's da bomb!

This is an early graduation gift for Jon, another undergraduate in the lab. I'm so generous with the young people. Especially when they ooh and ahh and shizz.

Yes, it's a redux of the Quaker Ribbed Hat I made earlier. What can I say, he liked it when he saw mine!

Off to a movie and potluck! Ta!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I must be in a hat phase

I found some time to knit!! Woot! This is a good thing, because I need to gift a couple of folks who have been particularly helpful and kind over the last few weeks.

The cables of the Cabled Headband were so successful that I wanted to expand into full hat-dom with the Cable Knit Cap. This was slightly less successful, but I kind of like it anyway. I sure hope Lisa does, because that's who's gettin' it.

See what I mean about the cables? Okay, not the cables at all, but the places between the cables. It's all loose and long and the single knit stitch of the rib is all wide and weird looking. And it's not only this way when it's on a head. I tried to block it, but let's face it, I have no clue how to block a knit hat (I can shape a fur felt hat, but this is completely different).

I hate feeling this way about something that's a gift. I suppose I should not give it to her and make something that looks better, but I'm also trying to convince myself that it's not so bad as I think it is and no one else will be so critical.

And then I think, "It's a hat, Sus. If you were that concerned you would have made it out of something other than Red Heart SS. Get the heck over it."

Friday, November 10, 2006

It. Finally. Happened.

Hi! No, I'm not dead! Just really busy. But! I come to you with useful knowledge! Did you know that pipetting 1uL of solution fifty bazillion times uses forearm muscles not needed for any other daily activities, ever, in your whole life? Well, it does! Science is full of learning! (Owie. Hurts.)

Okay, on to more important things. Does the Thing That Finally Happened have to do with science and learning? Why, no! It's much more important than that! I have been waiting for this day, and I know a few of you have been as well. Yes, kids, it's true:

I ran out of tampons.

Sorry, fellas. I promise this isn't going to get graphic, but will only delve into the discussion of consumer products that you are already aware of and that, I assure you, are not useful for plugging up leaks in boats.

Do you remember the Spongeworthy episode of Seinfeld? The Today contraceptive sponge was taken off the market, so Elaine bought every one she could find, amassing quite an impressive stockpile? Well, the same thing happened to me, only with tampons.

Man, here's where I wish I could remember the date. The truth is, I don't know exactly when this happened, but I know it was not later than 1998. The powers that be decided to discontinue o.b. tampons. I had used my beloved o.b.'s since high school. They don't have applicators, which some people think make them icky, but I personally think that applicators are just as icky as well as wasteful and, in some instances, a little painful. So, I lurves me some o.b.'s.

But they were discontinued! Oh no! I was living in Maryville at the time, so I went around to every store that might have some in hopes of stocking up. No place had any left except the warehouse grocery store, Food 4 Less. They were marked down 60% and I bought every one they had. One and a half cases. And they're small little boxes, so a case holds a lot. Just a few months later, they came back on the market, but there was no way of knowing that at the time. So, for almost ten years I've been carting around jillions of tampons as I moved around the country and, except for the one box I had to get one time I was away from home and ill-prepared, I have not had to buys tampons that entire time. We always wondered how long it would take to use them up. Now we know. A long time.

Now, it's convenient to not have to buy tampons and to know that you're not going to run out in the middle of a month. But there was one thing about my stockpile that I hated. By the time I got to the store to buy them out, they only had regular absorbency left. Mostly, this is okay, but, you know. Sometimes it's not. But I simply couldn't justify buying different tampons when I had a case and a half sitting in the linen closet. So, I haven't. But now I can! Woot!!

I'm breakin' into the awesome gift my former co-worker Ann gave me when I left Boyce & Bynum -- Super absorbancy o.b.'s!! It's a great day to have a period!

Well, okay, that's compete bullshizz.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Busy sky

Sorry I've been so quiet, but exams and finishing up my first lab rotation have kept me from even thinking about le blog.

It's overcast and cold today, but there was a cool cloud formation near the sun when I went roofside to snap a pic:

Now I'm off to the lab again in hopes of getting some actual data. Oh yeah, it's been a long rotation.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Maybe I don't totally suck at this

I've learned two very important things in the last couple of days.

1. In certain instances, I can study and knit at the same time. This is very, very good news. No, really. You just can't imagine.

2. I just might be fairly decent at knitting. I have yet to meet a crochet pattern that I can't whip into shape, but my knitting skills have always been rudimentary at best. But it seems that I'm on the improvement track and I'm able to do more impressive-looking things which makes the whole process more exciting. This is also good news. I'm growing as a crafter! I'm expanding my winter wardrobe with no monetary output! This is very good news. Sus loves being self-sufficient.

I love my cute little Quaker Rib Cap, but you know. Hat hair. Yup. As much as we all know that keeping warm is much more important than how we look, hat hair is distressing and depressing. It's stupid, but it's true.

I remember once having a plain blue winter headband, but I have no idea what has happened to it or where it might be now. So I decided to knit one. I also wanted to try cables and thought this would be a nice small project that would be perfect for trying them out. I had already decided that I wanted to make an Irish Hiking Scarf at one point, so I wanted a headband to match it. I tried the Chicknits Cable Headband, but decided it wasn't as wide as I wanted, so I frogged it and just modified the scarf pattern into a headband. Now when I make the scarf it will really, truly match.

It didn't take very long and I got quite a bit of studying done while I was making it. So, wanna see?

Yes, so it looks positively radiant sitting on my couch. Okay, okay, you can see it on me wee noggin:

Yeah, yeah, so it's not so wee. Man. And, really, perhaps I should start wearing makeup again...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Yesterday was a light day as far as school, so I got to do a whole bunch of knitting and website design without guilt! How fun!

Ever since I started this blog, I've been meaning to redesign my old website as a repository for finished objects and other pictures so that they weren't just buried in blog entries where no one could ever find them. I also wanted to come up with a new, simple, spartan design that would be really easy to maintain. I finally had some time and got the majority of the new site finished. Now, if you're ever just itchin' to see a picture of the Prettiest! toilet seat cover ever, you don't have to figure out where it is in the blog, just browse through the finished object page!

Oh, and my free patterns are now PDFs! Woot! This, for some reason, makes me so happy.

Yeah, I know, none of you are remotely as excited as I am.

Well, maybe you would prefer to titter at how ridiculous I look trying to seriously pose (with no makeup of any kind) in a gigantic hat:

Yes, that's right, the Fatigue Cap is finally finished! I hope it keeps Gator's little ears warm and toasty this winter. I also hope it's what he wanted, because I'm not doing it again. :)

Seriously, it took months to finish that cap, but I started one for myself on Sunday and it's already finished. It's cute, too.

I wore it home from the library last night and it's fairly toasty. I may have to make a wool one sometime, though, to fend off the real winter winds that are on their way.

So now things will pick back up at school (exams next week - ick) so I may be quiet for a few days. But you never know. I'm unpredictable that way.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Most of the light will have to come from diyas

So far this morning it is rainy and hazy and drab.

Nominally, this has been Fall Break at Marquette, but graduate students don't really benefit from such things. Life pretty much goes on as usual. My load the last couple of days have been slightly lessened because my lab adviser has been out of town, so I've been knitting a little more and am just about done with the Fatigue Cap which I will be sending to my sweet hubby this week. This means I can soon start a hat for myself, as I don't have one at all and it's about to get really cold up here. (Finishing one WIP means I get to start a new project or three, right? Right??)

I hope it will clear off and stop raining, as tonight is the celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and I have been honored with an invitation to a local party given by one of my classmates. I'm pretty excited. I'm fairly sure local ordinances prohibit fireworks in the city, but I'm going to play dumb and just enjoy the festivities. Now, let's see. Do I have any nice clothes that aren't black?? Hmmm. I'm thinking, I'm thinking...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sus becoming a dull girl (and a picture!)

It's been pure work around here. And, mostly, it's been going well. I got my presentation done and, although my brain sort of switched off about three quarters of the way through, it went fairly well. It's over, anyway. I've accomplished a lot of work in the lab and am about ready to get my final results, which is always a little nerve-wracking, but it's only a rotation so if it doesn't work out I get to just go to the next one and not worry about it. That's the best deal I'll get for the rest of my life, I'm sure.

So, yeah. Not much to really blog about. But I did open my mailbox today and find a copy of the departmental grad student photo we posed for a month or so ago. These are the biology grad students, looking all happy because the stress of the year hadn't started yet and it was warm and still summer. Ah, memories.

We're a pretty good bunch. Don't we look like we could take over the world? ;)

PS -- check out that progress bar on the Fatigue Cap -- it's coming right along, I tell you!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Autumn Sky

It's chilly but it's sunny and beautiful out there. The sky is a clear, deep blue. This only sucks because I have to put a presentation together this weekend and can't go out and enjoy the football/sweater weather.

Although, I am going to take an hour this morning, listen to Car Talk, and knit on the fatigue hat. And I refuse to feel guilty, dammit.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My thesaurus says hard drive is synonymous with difficult drive

Here I sit, in Cudahy Hall, happily typing away on my new laptop. Well, now I'm happy. Argh. I shall explain:

Yesterday, in a fit of desperation from being unconnected and isolated in my apartment and having to walk upwards of two blocks to the library should I want the wonders of computer operation not to mention the internet, I went shopping. 'Cause, I'm tellin' ya, I had nothing I needed to do more than shop. Nope, nothing. ANYway, I went shopping. Computer shopping. And I was successful! I felt like the epitome of the 21st century hunter-gatherer, coming home with the kill. And a basket of tasty berries. So, happiness! Excitement! Re-connectivity! Right? Wrong. If there's one thing we've learned, kids, it's that nothing is ever easy in Sus' world.

Five hours later -- yes, five -- I still couldn't get my wireless network to work. Windows will tell me what the problem is, but it won't let me fix it. I tell you what, Bill Gates had better cure AIDS, because otherwise his whole freakin' existence is forfeit.

So, I went for a beer. It was a great idea.

My wireless connection at home still doesn't work, but thanks to the super-friendly (okay, at least dutifully willing to help me) folks at the Marquette ITS helpdesk, I'm sitting on a couch, just me and me wee laptop -- no cords or nothin'! -- blogging for your enjoyment and mine.

Luckily, I still have all kinds of cords and cables at home which allow me to partake of the richness of the World Wide Web, but it does keep me tied to my desk and unable to flit about my abode and surf, say, in bed. Which has always been one of my fondest goals.

Although you may not think so the first time I blog before coffee...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Life by numbers

1) It sold for $48,000.

2) Yes, you read that right.

3) Though it was temporarily resurrected, the computer has finally done died. Although I keep hoping that if I say that enough, it will spontaneously resurrect again. I shan't hold my breath.

4) Broncos won last night!!

5) Gator was in the hospital but is out now and feels much better. Yay!

6) Of the two exams I took last week, and was as woefully unprepared for one as I was the other -- on one I got one of the highest grades, on the other I got the low score. See how life balances everything out? Don't they tout that as a good thing? Aren't they smokin' crack?

7) I think it's finally really autumn here. My favorite. :) But it's very hard to describe to my Indian and Chinese classmates the merits of "football weather". Oh well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


They're selling the flute.

They're selling the flute and I can't buy it.

I can watch someone else buy it, though.

It doesn't even play notes.

It's pretty, though.

I'm such a nerd.

It's not even my fandom.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Parisian peeves by the hundreds

I may have just heard it all.

I just heard a commentator on NPR use the phrase "Paris Hiltonian". WTF?? It was used to describe the media coverage of another event. Granted, the event involved Terrell Owens, so it couldn't be considered an earth-shattering news story, but still. I have an idea! Let's express our contempt for certain media coverage not by invoking one pathetic name to describe another, but by completely ignoring the pathetic altogether. Murrow is spinning, kids.

This is just the latest in a small series of things about broadcast journalism that have rankled me lately. Since I don't have a TV, I listen to the radio a lot. That means a lot of NPR, but I also listen to the local news because one of the network affiliates in town broadcasts their entire day on the radio as well as TV. My most hated thing right now is the use of the word "hunnerd".

Now, it's one thing for Joe Shmoe on the corner to use the word "hunnerd" during an on-the-spot interview, most especially when something traumatic has just happened. It also has comedy use out the yin yang. But it's an entirely different issue when Carl Kasell says something like, "Today in Iraq, a roadside bomb killed two hunnerd Iraqi civilians." It makes me want. To. Scream.


I'm not a broadcast journalist. But I sing (which requires diction) and I was a student orator back in the day. Enunciation is important, especially if it's a big part of your job -- say, if you're a broadcast journalist. If I can do it, you can do it, Renee Montagne.

The thing of it is, once you hear it, you hear it everywhere. It's like libary and picher (those things that you hang on the wall). And it slowly drives you mad. You know, in that Paris Hiltonian kind of way.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Gettin' it

You know that old adage, "Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it"? Yeah, that one. Well, I wished for grad school. I wished to strike out on my own after 15 years of living with my husband (and roommates before that and parents before that except for one summer) and become a scientific superstar. Well, I got part of it. I'm in grad school and I'm out on my own. Rather, I'm all alone. Alone when I find out that my husband is not doing so well -- he's having some health problems (and though he's not alone - his mother is there - he's not with me and I'm being a horrible wife, etc. etc. -- this is my own guilt, he's being a sweetheart) -- alone when my computer dies -- which is my main source of information, entertainment and acedemic research -- alone when it storms and is dark and beautiful and scary and did I mention dark? Not that I'm afraid of the dark, but there's something about all of that that can make it obvious just how alone you really are.

I'm not really complaining, I'm just going through some time of wondering. Since I first decided to apply to PhD programs, people have been asking me, "What are you going to do when you're done?" and I've been evasive, hoping that in five years this answer will become clear to me. But, really, what am I going to do when I'm done? Some people think that a PhD in biological sciences/molecular biology means that the gravy train will be rolling in. And that's simply not true. Money certainly isn't the sole reason to do anything, but it is a consideration when you're basically doing a five-year stint to increase your education so you can get a job at the other end. Which, let's face it, is what I'm doing.

I don't know what I'm trying to say, and I don't think there's anything I really need to hear. I'm just spilling my guts because some say that's what these here blogs is for. I'm not content right now. I can't focus on anything. For awhile I just thought it was an ADD phase I'm prone to. But yesterday I cried about 18 times and that's not usually part of it. The hard thing to admit is, I'm not loving grad school and I really, really thought I would. I'm not going to do anthing rash about it. I'm going to ride this out and see what happens. It's all I can do. Right now, I'm woefully unprepared for an exam that will take place in about an hour and a half and I should go cram whatever I can.

And yes, I did say my computer died. So updates are going to be sparse until I figure out what do to about that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I don't wanna hear it

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Sus, you ninny, of course you're behind -- from the looks of this here blog, all you freakin' do is handwork and go to bars!"

Not true.

Well, not true anymore. At least the handwork part.

Observe: It has taken me over a week to complete one small thing. And I'm gonna make another because it was so fun and kind of addictive and neato and made me feel like an extreme knitter and it's cool. So there. I present the Garterlac Facecloth! (Missa! You've gotta try this! So fun!)

Yes, I realize this is not helping me finish my UFO/WIPs. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I'm about to get tres busy. Don't expect to hear from me until Saturday. Toodles!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

...and apparently other days, too.

Well, it's happened. It happens to some degree every semester I've ever been in school, and now it's happened again and that's why I haven't been blogging lately. I'm behind. In fact, I'm overwhelmed. There are several reasons for this -- super-huge workload, the little (and not-so-little) distractions of life, a possibility of ADD that I usually don't like to analyze too closely -- but we shan't really get into that now. Because now I'd like to focus on:

Old guys, bartenders and nerds dig my chili.

Did you know that, without doing anything particularly memorable, you can, in a city no less, go to a bar or restaurant or ride a bus once and be a regular?

Remember when I told you I went out and played darts? Yeah. Two weeks later I went to the same bar and ordered a Newcastle. The bartender said, "Oh yeah, you always get either Newcastle or Berry Weiss." Dude. I had been there once. Hi, cute little twenty-something bartender! I'm kinda old, kinda chubby, and not that hot! I'm not that memorable, I swear! What is your deal?

Fast forward to this last week. On Wednesday, Gator got some test results that ruled out potential horribleness after a health scare. I'm not going into details. But, since I was mucho relieved, I decided to give into my serious jonesing for a hamburger that had started to plague me. I went to Hegarty's, the little bar and grill next door to my building (it has a green neon sign outside that says "FOOD", but the "O's" are shamrocks -- you gotta love it!). They have awesome mushroom burgers, too. I was well pleased. The waiter/bartender was this young, kinda dorky kid who was nice -- but he was equally nice to everyone there (I have since learned that his name is Matt). I went back on Friday night because Friday is "Fish Fry" night in Milwaukee. I dig me some fish n' chips. And, far be it from me to ignore tradition, so I decided to partake of local custom. As soon as I walked in the door, Matt said, "Hey, Sus! Good to see you back!" and even though it was after seven (the time when they stop formally waiting on tables) he assured me that I was 'special' and could get personal service anyway. Again, Dude. I've only been here once!!

It's hilarious, really -- Matt and I got into a fight. The funniest thing is that I KNOW that this fight has only made it worse and now Matt has decided I'm his new BFF. Because, you see, we had this fight because he truly, in the very core of his silly little being, believes that the best Star Wars movie is Return of the Jedi. And I, of course, can only shake my head and chuckle with contempt. And his favorite Star Wars novel is The Courtship of Princess Leia. Again with the head shaking.

One game of Galaga later, and the owner and head bartender had adopted me, as well. Oh, yeah. THEY HAVE A GALAGA MACHINE! WOOT!

Now, rewind to earlier in the week. A friend had told me how to ride the bus to a particular grocery store. She was wrong -- very, very wrong. I ended up having to ask the bus driver if he knew where I went wrong and he instantly adopted me. Since I had gotten on a line that has little traffic, the next bus going back in the opposite direction would be his anyway, so I might as well just ride with him to the end of the line and back. He proceeded to tell me all sorts of things about the bus lines -- and all about the guy who hit his truck and minute details of the police reporting experience. Oh, and also, it was one of those situations where you start talking about your husband immediately, thankyouverymuch (I think that was right after the second time he told me how attractive I was. This only happens when old guys are involved. I swear. He did immediately get the hint, however, so no worries). Since about ten bus lines go past Marquette campus, this driver is in my area often. He now honks at me if he sees me. Hello! I have my own personal bus driver! Yes, I'm not quite sure how I do it, either.

All of this and I have yet to make an actual friend. Harumph.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I suck at posting on Monday

So, of course, this means that Snowflake Monday is being done on Tuesday this week. Hey, at least I actually did it. I tried, for the first time, metallic Knit Cro-Sheen which looks pretty nifty, even if it does make the teeny tiny plain white snowflake next to it look like it's from one of those snow drifts from which your mom warned you not to eat...

New topic: And warning -- this gets disturbing. Do your dreams ever just completely freak you out?? Last night I dreamed I was reading a graphic novel. I saw every picture and read every word in my dream. That alone is kinda weird. But the content! It was a story about a man who lost a bet to two of his brothers, so they got to tie him up, beat him, and then they started cutting parts of him off, cooking them, and placing them on his chest. For some reason, the victimized brother didn't even know the fingers, toes, etc. on his chest were his own. They did this until he was just a head and torso and he was still trying to figure out where this stuff on his chest was coming from. The art was a sepia-toned wood-cut style and it was really freaky. I kept wondering to myself in the dream why I would be reading this, but I couldn't stop. It's haunted me all day. I hate it when this happens. It hasn't happened for a long time. I sure hope it's not a trend.

Maybe it comes from crocheting yellow snow?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Well, maybe a little...

Progress, that is. I know I've made it sound like I just haven't had a spare minute to crochet or knit. Now, c'mon. You knew that wasn't true. But it hasn't been anything terribly exciting.

I made another set of dishcloths for the awesome administrative assistant who helped me so much during my financial aid woes:

And I've been plugging merrily away on the Crazy Quilt Coverlet and I got to move the progress bar this week! (Get used to pictures of these squares. Get very, very used to it.)

So, I got a message on my voice mail from Missa, who went to her niece's wedding this weekend in Colorado. She was just wondering where I was going to get to watch the Broncos game, because she was going to be watching from Section X, Row Y, Seat Z!!!!! "Gadzooks," I thought, "what a little snot. Calling and rubbing it in my face like that." Then for most of the game, instead of being all nervous or bummed because we were, again, playing lousily, I was thinking, "Ha! Boy, bet you're glad you were there to see that!" (Don't worry, it's already been established I'm a horrible friend. She's the same way. We totally deserve each other.) But my boys actually pulled it off in overtime!!!! I almost couldn't believe it. So, I'll grudgingly admit that I'm glad you were there to see it, Missa.

Now, post-transcriptional gene silencing in Arabidopsis! I can feel your jealousy.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hi! I'm not running, I'm reading!

Here's the hazy sky from my roof over Miller Park.

Look at all the tiny people getting ready for Al's Run! The course starts right in front of my building so the street is closed. I'm not sure what this has done to the bus routes, but it has put off my trip to the grocery store. Oh well. I had thought I would participate in the run (walking, of course -- let's not get cwazy!!), but my fun, fun! plantar fasciitis made me reconsider. Next year.

Last night, instead of doing something constructive (or crocheting, even!) I read most of a book. A conversation with Gator caused me to look at information on the Oneida Community, where they, among other things, practiced "Complex Marriage", where all members of the Community were married to all other members. They were encouraged to have sexual intercourse with people of higher moral constitution in order to improve their own spiritual standing. Through the practice of "male continence" they seperated "propagative" sex from "amative" sex. Later in the Community's life, they started, in effect, a breeding program, where individuals were selected to mate with each other to create a perfect race, the children of the union to be raised by the Community as a whole. The community finally fell apart after the founder, John Humphrey Noyes, resigned as leader and his replacement (his son) could not sway the community as John had. During the Community's heyday, they had several successful businesses and developed the silverplate business that is synonymous with Oneida to this day.

I found the book Special Love, Special Sex, a transcribed and annotated diary of a member of the Community who had a hard time with many of their practices but stayed because he believed in the central tenets and because his love was there. It's fascinating!! The idea that a place like this exsited in the 19th century is still amazing to me. The diary also provides a look at what life was like in a relatively technologically advanced community during the mid-1800's. It's hard to put down. I'll probably finish it today.

So, no handwork to show you today. I'm sure you'll live.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Goodbye, Ann

Dear Ann Richards,

You did it all, girl, backwards and in high heels.

So long.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Feel better, Sweetie!

Hey! Wanna hear about gene silencing in bread mold? Lead cleavage in tRNA? The FANTOM III mouse cDNA database? Alternative splicing of RNA? No? Well, now you know why I'm so quiet lately -- that's all I've got.

In far more important news, my boy has the flu! And still with the broken foot! I wish so much that I could be with you right now, Punkin! ::smoochies::

So, since I can't be there to be cute for you, I'll post super cute pictures and maybe they'll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside (and not just because you have a fever).
Kitty food!

Kitten = Cute! Pile o' kittens = ZOMG IT'S SO CUTE!

Puppy = cute! Bag o' puppies = ZOMG IT'S SO CUTE!

Cuddly baby!

Dude! Being so galdarn cute wears me out!

What?!? We're not doin' nothin' but bein' cute!!!

Applause! I'm so cute!

All pictures courtesy of Cute Overload.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good news, better news, bad news, good news

Before I even get to the good news, let me just shout out the wonderful thing that has allowed there to be any of this news to begin with:


I am a die hard Denver Broncos fan. Now, living up here in Packers country, and especially living up here without a TV makes catching the games difficult. Though I've spent most of my life in Chiefs country, so really this is kind of like a cake-walk.

In the past, however, if you couldn't get access to a television broadcast somewhere, you were a little out of luck, because no radio station that broadcast the games was set up for internet streaming. This year, this has changed! 850 KOA, the Denver AM station most beloved of Broncos fans, now streams and we can listen to all the games all season long! Frabjous day! THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS.

So, I turned on the stream today at noon and felt the wonderment of Broncos football coursing over me. Then, about halfway through the first quarter, I had a wild hair. The workout room here has a television with basic cable. I ran upstairs just to see if, by some miracle, the Broncos game was on in this market (but I didn't really expect it to be). BUT IT WAS! Callooh! Callay! THIS IS THE BETTER NEWS!

I runs back downstairs, changes my clothes and heads in to ride the exercise bike AND knit while watching the game. It was heavenly.

Except for the fact that the Broncos offense was apparently playing for St. Louis today. My boys really stank it up old school. Although, our defense was actually playing for Denver and kept what should have been 42 points down to only 18. And the offense did manage, somehow, to put up 10. So, it wasn't actually nearly as bad as it could have been, but boy, it was not good. THIS IS THE BAD NEWS.

But, ever the optomist, two good things came of this afternoon's game. One, I was able to knit on the fatigue hat to the point where it is now half done. Woot! And two, I rode the bike for over 100 minutes, upping the tension every 30 minutes! Yay, me! And, let me tell you, during some of those plays, I was riding really fast. THIS IS GOOD NEWS.

Now, I'm back to reading journal articles and preparing for tomorrow's classes. THIS IS NOT NEWS.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Roof shot, head shot

While talking to my friend, the Rhino, last night (I like all my men to be called after fierce animals), I realized that I had never posted pictures of and from the roof of my building. The roof is twenty stories up, and has a heated pool. It's quite nice and I like to spend time up there.

The view, especially to the east, is lovely and I can see Lake Michigan if the weather is clear at all:

And, since I've been taking random pics for Gator, I decided to go ahead and add one here. I'm not doing anything exciting; as you can see, I'm standing in the bathroom (duckies in background!!). Sometimes I wear makeup. Today is not one of those days.

Off to the Marquette 125th anniversary celebration kickoff. Ta!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My problem, and dinner!

After yesterday's post and, specifically, Missa's repsonse to it, I've been thinking. I realize that I made it sound like, after picking up and moving two states away and leaving Gator in Missouri to come here and become what I finally decided I want to be when I grow up, that actually doing school stuff is not how I want to spend my time. But that isn't it at all.

Going back to school after working is hard. I've done it twice now and it's hard for reasons you don't really anticipate right off the bat. It's not about the information you forgot, it's not about how to write a paper or read a paper or take an exam. It's not about interacting with professors or students or meeting expectations. It's about deciding what time is your own.

When you work (at many jobs, but not all, I realize), you go to work, you do your job, and you come home. You make dinner, you pay bills, you clean what absolutely must be cleaned. Then, you do what you want. If you blow off cleaning the bathroom, no one really gets hurt. And if, like me, you don't have kids, any of the above can usually be blown off anytime you want (bill paying notwithstanding). All after work time is your own to schedule as you see fit. If you want to spend all of it crocheting then, as a Big Girl, you can do that without guilt.

When you go back to school, you have this great big new priority whose boundaries are not so easily defined. I only spend about six hours a week actually in class. I could spend every second of time out of class doing something school related and really never run out of things to do (especially read). And, yes, this program is what I want to do and I love learning about these things. But, in all honesty, I don't want to read ten journal articles in a row. About anything. Ever. I may have to, but I'll never want to. And if I can "streamline" the process, I will. And, really, I probably should. But I'll always feel bad about it. And, until I'm established in a lab and have passed my qualifiers, I'll find plenty of things to complain about. 'Cause that's when the fun's gonna begin. ;)

In the meantime, I'm going to have to go through this adjustment period. I don't know how to quantify work and personal time -- it's going to just have to come to me. This method has worked before, I can only assume it will again.

Okay, so enough of my non-witty introspective bullshizz. On to the completely irrelevant thing that I looked forward to all day!!

Tuna and noodle cassarole!!!

Yes, that fabulous 50's comfort food has made its way into my humble abode! I realized several weeks ago that I had not had tuna and noodle cassarole since the last time my mom made it for me. Probably twelve years ago. After my initial shock and horror that I'd somehow managed to survive so long without something that was such a staple in my childhood, I became fervent in my dedication to making it (which I also couldn't believe I'd never done). Luckily, I knew that Mother used the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (the best cookbook ever!!) so I had the recipe and I knew what changes to make (fried onions on top!).

Here's my little beauty, after I ate a big, heapin' helpin'. It was heavenly! (The onions aren't really nearly as burnt as they look in this picture. I swear. Although next time I will wait and add them closer to the end...)

The only downside is that, after eating this for every meal until it's gone, I won't want it for another twelve years. Oh well. Next month I may do swiss steak.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Playing to my faults

I just had a long meeting with the professor with whom I'm doing a 10-week lab rotation. At the end of last week, he emailed me six journal articles. I assumed that he expected me to read them before we met today. So I tried. I kind of did it haphazardly and had some problems with a couple of them and skimmed part of one, but I basically read the articles, sort of, for the most part. Kind of. But not like I thought I should have. Not like I would have, if I hadn't been ADD Sus all weekend.

At the meeting today, he was impressed that a) I actually read them at all, b) that I read them closely enough to know that I had problems understanding parts of them, c) that I cared that I had problems understanding parts of them and d) that I understood his explanations of the problem areas. He kept telling me how impressed he was. It was a little embarassing, considering I thought I had sort of blown it off.

You would think this would be good! You would think, "Rock on, Sus! Grad school is agreeing with you!"


This is bad! This is very, very bad! This means I have less incentive to do things the way I think they should be done! And, kids, I am all about incentive! If I can rationalize doing something school-related in a half-assed manner so I can do something I really want to do, like crochet or nap, I WILL DO IT. And the more often I can pull it off, the more I will continue to do it. I managed to get a 4.0 at Columbia College with such nonsense, but REALLY, PEOPLE, I MUST BE STOPPED.

But, I want to finish Gator's fatigue hat before winter, and I'm really late making one of my nieces an afghan, and I really did promise that my sister would have a hand-crocheted tablecloth one day, and I am a little sleepy, come to think of it...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Rain haze and snow flurry

It's rainy and icky today. So, alas, no sailing. But! Instead! The sinus headache! Woot! A fabulous exchange, I assure you. So, no Arrr!, but Aarrgghh!

It's Snowflake Monday, so you know what that means:

Don't get too excited; I didn't make a single one of those this week. I simply stiffened my stash. Is it just me, or does that sound vaguely dirty?

And, on a totally unrelated note: Alas, poor Steve! I knew him not, Jane.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Progress? Surely, you jest!

Though it would be nice, let's just not get too used to this kind of progress, now shall we?

What is it, do you think, about a week so full of stress that you're too distracted to get the amount of work done that you would like, that makes a weekend-after-the-stress so equally unproductive? From an acutal work standpoint, anyway? I have felt as if I needed a reprieve, a way to actually see something I'd done, moreso than another journal article in the "have read" pile. This will somehow later bite me on the butt, I'm sure of it. Or, I'll pull it out. Actually, I'm pretty sure I'll pull it out.

So, yes! Progress! Of the handcraft variety!

Pssst! Girls (especially Em and Beck)! Don't show your mom this page until she gets this in the mail!

I present the completed Picasso!

I don't remember the last one I made being such a pain in the @$$ to put together. I'm not sure there's another of these on the horizon. So Sis is getting something special, indeed! ::BG::

And, though I had forgotten to post a progress bar for it, I had a partially completed amigurumi cactus in my bag that I decided to get at least mostly done today. I haven't figured out how to put pricklies on him yet, or decided if I'm going to at all. Also, I think his base needs something. A little scrub or pebbles or something.

But, anyway, witness Spike, the amigurumi cactus as he wanders through the land of giant silver, twisty candlesticks!

He's cute and that's good and I won't hear any more about it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Not just another Saturday sky

I love this sky. I think it is rather majestic. I dedicate this picture to Robert Lee Lynch -- a beautiful, loving man whose funeral is today. He was my husband's maternal grandfather and I was honored to call him Grandpa as well. He was well and truly loved and will be missed horribly.

Goodbye, Grandpa. I love you.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

-- Crossing the Bar
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Friday, September 01, 2006

End of First Week report

Well, I've learned two incredibly valuable things so far about Marquette University.

Suffice it to say that financial aid got me into a huge mess and the biology department faculty and staff, through great time, effort and compassion, got me out of it. This problem has taken a lot of my brain (and foot!) power this week and has left me a little distracted. Nothing like a relatively worry-free three-day weekend as a reward for overcoming a giant stress-o-rama.

Not like I don't still have a ton of stuff to read, but...

Lastly, in tribute to the fact that, barring unfavorable weather conditions, I will be going sailing on Lake Michigan on Monday, I decided I just might need this:

My pirate name is:

Iron Prudentilla Vane

  A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. You tend to blend into the background occaisionally, but that's okay, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Ahoy, Matey! Arrr!

Screaming for joy

If this is true, then thank God.

Life is fine. I'll write more soon.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Depressing, but true

This is the Wikipedia entry for the high school I attended:

Maryville High School is the public high school for Maryville, MO. They are more known for their unusual mascot, the Spoofhound, than anything else. Outside of the community no graduate from Maryville has risen to do anything of note.

Man, it just makes you want to go invent that robotic dog clone your husband's always telling people about and take over the world.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My first Snowflake Monday!

Okay, in respect to my last post, I'm officially asserting that Snowflakes Don't Count. I joined the Snowflake Monday webring (whose Ringers are very good about adding ring code thankyouverymuch) last week, and I have some flakes for show and tell.

Actually, I'll admit, I totally cheated. I had recently found a ziplock bag full of a dozen or so snowflakes that I made a couple of years ago, but couldn't find until I moved (and this had been driving me crazy). None had been stiffened and blocked. So my goal is to stiffen several a day until they are done, then start making a new one every week. And, yes, still make significant progress on my WIP's.

I discovered (too late, unfortunately) that I had a bad pin in my bunch and it left some rust on the first two flakes. Rest assured that said bad seed has been plucked from the lot and should cause me no further angst. I'm thinking just a dab of white acrylic paint might do the job. Anyone had luck with this?

The Pretty! potty makes a great backdrop for flake photography.

And one more in it's voodoo stage.

Somewhere a snowflake is screaming for mercy.