Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random Citings

I've been collecting some random musings lately so I thought I'd share.
  1. Whenever I do laundry I inevitably forget about it and end up leaving it in the washer (or dryer) for several hours.
  2. I only buy chocolate chips in 72 oz. bags. Anything less is hardly worth it. (Have I mentioned chocolate chip cookies are a staple in my house?)
  3. Sometimes I like to be domestic—cooking, baking, that sort of thing. Unfortunately my desire to be domestic never extends to wanting to clean the house.
  4. I like blueberry-chocolate chip pancakes, as in both of them in there together. It occurred to me once that I liked blueberry pancakes and I liked chocolate chip pancakes, so why not try them all in one? Yum.
  5. It takes two people to give our dog a bath. At least. She's a squirmy thing! (But oh so clean and fluffy afterwards.)
  6. I have lots of freckles. Probably has to do with my reddish hair, which I think was even more reddish when I was a child. (Never carrot-red, though.)
  7. I make an awesome dog nurse. (I nursed my dog back to health and got her to eat again when she was sick over the summer.)
  8. My hubby and I met online, on a Christian dating site. Maybe I'll tell that story someday...

  9. And last but not least:

  10. The professors in my department have a conspiracy to have everything due on the same day. Really. I asked one of them about it last night, why major projects in different classes are always due on the same day. He said it's a conspiracy.
Back to the books!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Problem with Fridays

Fridays are a problem for me. You see, by the time Friday rolls around I feel like I need a break after going through the week and before heading into the weekend (which is really just an extension of the week when you're a full-time graduate student). Unfortunately I really don't have time to take a day off—at least that's what my head tells me. My body is pretty persistent, though, and I'm pretty sure after I finish typing here it's going to take me downstairs to make cookies. (I consider chocolate chip cookies a staple in my house and I've been out for several days now. I hate it when that happens.)

The reason I can't really afford to take Fridays "off" is because I have three classes this semester (what's considered a full-time load) and they all require a lot of work. No exams, but lots of readings and periodic assignments and projects due during the semester. Two of the classes are in the classroom and one is online (the social media class I've mentioned in previous posts). I do my best to keep up with the two classroom ones but I always feel like I'm playing catch up with the online class at the end of the week. I suppose this actually makes sense since the two classroom classes have their things due during the week (when they meet) but everything for the online class is always due on Sundays. So I end up spending the week doing the classroom stuff and once that's done I have to hurry and get the online class stuff done before Sunday rolls around. I try to do the reading and watch the lectures earlier in the week if I can but it doesn't always happen, particularly when I end up with assignments for both classroom classes due on the same day. That's really painful. (It'll be happening again next week, too!)

So it comes down to I wish I could spend more time on the social media class, or at least balance it better with the others. Last week I mentioned the latest photosharing assignment I have; I managed to take the pictures for it last Sunday but then Monday rolled around so they've just been sitting. The assignment is due on Sunday so it's time for me to actually do it—yep, starting on Friday. I don't think it'll be too difficult. I just have to upload the photos to Flickr and create catchy captions and tags for them. Ok, depending on how creative I'm feeling that may or may not be difficult. I've never used Flickr before but I created my account and it seems straightforward enough. I particularly like that Flickr is part of Yahoo! now and uses Yahoo! login information so I didn't have to create a new username and password for that. As much as I want to try and keep track of usernames and passwords for every single Web site out there that needs one... (I realize some of you don't know me too well yet so I'll just let you know: I'm being totally sarcastic there. I do not want to have accounts on every Web site known to man.)

Enough about school, it's time to go make those cookies. Then I'll be nice and rested and ready to dive into my homework, right? Yeah, right.

I'll just leave you with this lovely picture of doggie and hubby I took yesterday:

Ahhhhhh, it's a good life.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Staying Home

It's official: I'm sick and staying home from school today. No fever thank goodness so it's still just a cold, but enough of one that I need to keep my germs to myself if I can. When I wrote to my professors they both agreed I should stay home: One mentioned school policy (staying home for 3-5 days if you have cold or flu symptoms) and the other thanked me for considering my classmates (which I thought was really cute). I probably won't miss anything major in either class but just in case I've let some friends know I won't be there so they'll let me know if I miss anything important.

Since I won't be going to class tonight that's about 4.5 hours I'll have to work on things that I wouldn't have otherwise—I should probably use it wisely and be productive, don't ya think? Not watch TV or anything like that...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Doing Things Right

I like to do things right. I always try to do my best at school, whether it's doing the best I can on assignments or actually reading everything assigned and trying to understand it to the best of my ability. (Not always an easy task with some of the reading assignments I have this semester.) When I work I'm always thorough and do the best I can on my projects. My doing things right also extends to when I get sick: When I get sick I "do it right."

I have a cold. I'm pretty sure it's just a cold; I don't have a fever so I don't think I have the flu (H1N1 or otherwise). I'm pretty sure hubby gave it to me, too (bless his heart). He started feeling congested toward the end of last week; he was stuffed up over the weekend but said he didn't feel too bad and today he said he felt fine. Of course I hoped I wouldn't get it... No luck there. I have never met a germ that didn't like me. (At this time last year I had strep throat, which turned into a respiratory infection before it was through.) I started feeling a little stuffed up on Saturday; by Sunday I was more stuffed up and my throat hurt a little, and by Sunday night I definitely had a cold. I took cold medicine last night which helped me sleep but it didn't do much for me today. I've been sneezing and feeling "blah" all day; luckily I don't have class on Mondays so I didn't have to leave the house. Hubby didn't have to go to work until noon so this morning he went to the store and got me my "sick juice" (Ocean Spray cran-raspberry) so I've been drinking that today.

Deadlines wait for no one and I've been trying to get some of my exorbitant amount of reading done today; not an easy task in my current condition. It'll be interesting to see how much of what I've read today I actually retain.

On that note back to reading. ACHOO!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Little Victories

I kept thinking that one of these days I'd put together a philosophical post about some things I've been thinking about recently, how I don't want to just do "good enough" and skim through graduate school (or skim through all the reading I have to do), how I went back to school to really learn and not just get letters by my name. I thought I'd try to throw in some Bible verses about what God wants from us and how this is all part of His plan. Yep, that's what I thought I'd do when I had time. Now back to reality: I will NEVER have time.

Since I really want to get an update done before the three people who read this blog think I've died I'm going to talk about some lighter subjects instead. Recently I lost a barrette. I don't lose things very often so it's always a little annoying when I do. It was a cheap plastic one, though, so I figured I'm not perfect and I didn't give it that much thought. I also don't wear my hair in a barrette very often so again, not a huge deal. This morning I decided to put my hair back in a barrette, though, and I remembered a silver one I have that I used to wear a lot; when I went in the drawer to get it I discovered it wasn't there. Now, you're probably thinking my first thought was, "Oh no, I've lost another barrette"—nope, that's not what I thought. The silver barrette is a nice one and I knew I wouldn't have lost it. My first thought was, "Ok, those two barrettes are together somewhere, probably in this house." From there it was a quick matter of deduction: Since I don't wear barrettes very often the only time I have them together outside the drawer where they live is when I travel. When I travel I put whichever ones I bring in a cosmetic bag, so I went and looked in the cosmetic bags I usually bring on trips. I looked inside and they were all empty, but then I noticed a zipper pocket that was open in one of them. I put my hand in—and pulled out the two barrettes. I hate losing things so finding both of them easily this morning made my day. Given my ridiculously busy, always tired graduate school life I seem to be living right now it's the little victories that keep me sane.

This reminds me of when we moved to North Carolina. Everyone knows when you move you always lose things, right? After unpacking everything and finding several things we thought we'd lost it finally came down to one thing I just couldn't find: The cyclometer that goes on my bike. I figured maybe I forgot to take it off the bike and pack it elsewhere so maybe it fell off the bike in the truck and we somehow never noticed. I didn't like losing it but kind of like the plastic barrette it wasn't a huge deal and wasn't worth getting that upset over. Last May we went to California to visit family. I took out a carry-on bag that I don't use very often but I'd decided I wanted to bring on this particular trip. I was taking some extra straps out of it and put my hand in one of the outside pockets—and pulled out the cyclometer. I must have taken it off the bike and in my packing haste thrown it somewhere it would be safe. I'm sure I had other things packed in that bag when we moved so I must have just missed it. Apparently I don't unpack bags very well!

And one more: My latest assignment for my social media class is to put together a photosharing site for an organization. I'm doing it on the state park where my husband is a Park Ranger since I have an "inside track." This afternoon I went there to take some pictures. On my way home I decided I needed some ice cream (I really like ice cream); unfortunately there's no ice cream place between our house and the park and the closest ice cream place isn't all that close to us. I didn't have any great plans for dinner tonight, though, and ruining my dinner with a Baskin Robbins chocolate peanut butter shake sounded like a fine idea. So I went out of my way to get it. I figure I probably drove 8-10 extra miles and paid way too much for it, and now I feel royally sick from drinking the whole thing. And you know what? Totally worth it. :-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Critter Returns

Our resident flying squirrel returned to the feeders the other night.

We've named the little guy Zippy. Shortly after hubby took this picture Zippy climbed to the top of the feeder tree, opened his arms, and sailed off to a nearby tree. Hubby wants to get a picture of him flying sometime—that would be cool!

Caught Up

I caught up with my homework today! — For last week. Assignments for my social media class are due at 5:00PM on Sundays each week and I finished my last blog post for the class at 4:48PM so that counts. (It's an online class so weekly deadlines are somewhat arbitrary since one day is as good as any other. Sundays work for me.) Now I can rest for about five minutes before I need to get started on the next round... Time's up.

Last week was a particularly hard week. I had two papers and an oral presentation due in two classes on Thursday; each assignment by itself was doable but having them both due the same day was tough. Being a graduate student is all about juggling (or having priorities, some might say, though it's more like juggling to me) and having things equally important due the same day makes it VERY hard to figure out what to juggle when. I managed to put a brief PowerPoint presentation together in 20 minutes (the only thing I've ever done quickly) and I finished the second paper 30 minutes before I needed to leave for class which is a little too close for comfort for me. Of course while I was focusing on the papers for those two classes I totally ignored my third class (that'd be the social media class) which wasn't good since I had my first assignment due for that class on Sunday (in addition to the weekly readings and blog posts). At least Sunday comes a few days after Thursday! I managed to get that project done on Saturday, which is why the weekly blog posts didn't get done until 10 minutes before they were due on Sunday. It's hard enough to keep track of everything, let alone keep up.

One nice thing about my program is it's relatively small so you get to know the people in it and you share a lot of the same classes—or in other words we suffer together. There are six of us that have the same two classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights. At least we could commiserate when we were all falling asleep on Thursday from having both papers due on the same day. That helped some.

I did get to take a break from the rat race Saturday afternoon to meet Dr. Wifey and her hubby—that was fun! We had a nice stroll in a park with our hubbies and my dog; the precious pooch LOVES outings and meeting new people so it was a pretty exciting day for her. And for me, getting to meet a bloggy buddy. I hope we'll be able to get together again soon.

This week I'm taking advantage of my student status (something I'm always told I should do while I can) and going to a conference in my field that just so happens is being held at my school. It's on a topic that I'd like to learn more about. The director of my program sent a message to all the M.S. students about it last Wednesday and said if anyone wanted to go to let him know and he could probably get some free passes. I finally looked at the e-mail on Friday (I didn't look at much of anything on Thursday other than those two papers that were due) and realized I really should take advantage of the opportunity and try to go. I thought it might be too late since it was around noon on Friday when I e-mailed my professor but that evening he sent me a message that I was on the list and all set for both days. The conference is on Monday and Tuesday. It's been a while since I've been to something like this and I think it will be a good experience for me.

On that note... Have a good week, everyone!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

Thought I'd take a moment out from laboring and wish everyone a Happy Labor Day—especially all you laborers for whom today is actually a holiday. (My hubby doesn't have it off, unfortunately, and as a graduate student I don't consider any day a day off.) I hope those of you who have it off are taking some time out to relax and enjoy the day with your family and friends. If you're having a cookout flip a burger for me! :-)

Friday, September 4, 2009


We had corn-on-the-cob for dinner the other night. I asked hubby to clean it so he went outside on the deck to do it. Our dog helped.

I can help! I can help!

Finished that piece, now on to the next one...

Now I'm ready for some corn. Yum!

Our dog is a "corndog." Yes, corny, I know. You can thank hubby for coming up with that one!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

California Fires

Perhaps some of you have seen in the news about the Station Fire burning near Los Angeles. My husband and I moved to North Carolina from that area two years ago, which is where I'm from. The Station Fire isn't burning directly near where we used to live or where my parents live, though they've smelled smoke at their house, they've said. A friend of mine who lives in one of the threatened areas went to stay with friends over the weekend due to smoke; she said there's smoke and ash everywhere, similar to a fire we had several years ago while I was there. (I remember ash all around my house—it's weird.)

The saddest thing about reading about the fire is I recognize a lot of the places they mention. The San Gabriel Mountains were my home; I always call them "my mountains" whenever I see them on TV. (You'll see them, too, if you ever watch the Rose Bowl or Rose Parade on January 1st.) I've been hiking in many of the areas that are now burning. I've seen plenty of blackened hillsides in my life but it will be strange to see the extent of this fire next time I'm there (whenever that may be). I've also been to Mt. Wilson and seen the telescopes at the Mt. Wilson Observatory there. (I think I even remember going there for a school field trip, probably in elementary school...) Mt. Wilson has a Webcam; it usually updates every few minutes and is very popular with those who know of its existence. I checked it a couple days ago and could see the plume of smoke in the distance. When I checked it today, however, I found it was down: Apparently a backfire burned through cables supplying all telephone and Internet service to the Observatory. If you look at the Webcam today you'll see a static picture from yesterday (located on another server)—the last update the camera had before going down. It's a smoke-filled sight.