I'm currently at my in-law's house and head to my hometown tomorrow. Here's some bulletz...

  • Damn, Major-Midwest-Metropolitan area are you trying to kill me? -6 degrees. Windchill of -40. Blizzard warnings. WTF!
  • My computer died upon arrival in the Midwest yesterday. Nothing happens when pushing buttons. Luckily, we were able to get my hard drive out and everything off of it.
  • Whew....because I did not back up anything recently! Like the final edits to my dissertation...
  • The lack of computer and holiday will make blogging light this week.
  • I was supposed to submit a paper this morning, but the dead computer kept me from doing so. Tonight, my advisor sent me a review paper about the exact same topic. Timing is everything!
  • I totally lost my fantasy football championship game today. It was super fun all season and the heartiest congratulations to the Grackle for kicking my ass and winning the whole thing!
  • In real football news- Go Bears! Playoff hopes are still alive if they win over the Pack tomorrow night. Bears football + current georgraphic location = love!
  • I'm totally put off my department/academia/the bs that goes along with it right now. A faculty member shared some information with me that they should not have. This put me in a very difficult position. I decided to tell them how uncomfortable knowing the info made me and that I felt it was inappropriate to tell me the info. Yeah, that did NOT go well. At. All.
  • Is it ever ok to stand up for yourself to faculty people?
  • Thankfully I still get to leave! Next week, I'm cleaning out my office and then not going back to the department, ever! Or at least until I have to for a joint conference presentation with my advisor next month...
  • The other consolation is getting away from it all for such an enjoyable week. We attended a big family party tonight and will relax with family and friends for the next few days. Not working for a few days is sooooo nice.

Well, with my laptop lacking state, I might not get to reading many blogs this week- I hope everyone has a great week and a nice, relaxing holiday. Travel safe and stay warm!!


Scary key lady

This week I have been getting things set for the next phase of my academic life and tying up ends at my current institution. Luckily, Grackle will still be here if I miss anything. Some of these little things are fun. It is very exciting to renew all my society memberships and put my new information on them! 
Other tasks I am dreading. Cleaning out my office is sloooooow going. Plus, with the holiday, I have to turn my keys in tomorrow. This is the worst task of all. The key lady is a miserable, old woman who seems to have no joy in life except making others suffer. She ignores you when you walk in, takes forever to check information and always lectures you about something. One time, after I spilled something, she yelled at me for taking paper towels out of the bathroom near her office. If you don't have your ID number....well, watch out!
There is just no possible way that my key-turn-in will go smoothly. I will be very lucky if I get my 2 dollar deposit back. This is my own fault though. When I started, I put lab tape on my keys to ID them and now, 5 years later, the lab tape is still there and it is not coming off. Even if the tape comes off- the gluey residue will not please the key lady. 
I'm going to try some acetone tonight but any other suggestions for removing old lab tape? 
I really don't want to get yelled at (and could use my 2 dollars)!!

UPDATE: I skipped the acetone (just did my nails) and scrubbed away (ok, grackle did it for me). It was clean enough and I got my money back. After perusing my file, she told me that I had returned all 10 keys I had over the years and was in her good favor. Who knew? 



One cool thing about my new apartment is that the landlady is letting me pick colors for when she repaints. I'm tempted to do something trendy* but doubt I would actually go through with something like that. Maybe just for the bathroom or something....

The main living space is my main concern. In our house, we have a big red couch and a little red loveseat. I will be taking the loveseat with me. In an attempt to make my apartment all homey and awesome (because our house is both homey and awesome), I had the thought that I could have the apartment living room painted the same color as the living room in my house. 

Is that weird? 

*like purple, because I am loving purple right now.


Update on moving

I looked at 6 places. Fell in love with the idea of living in a downtown area but nixed it since it was farther from school, more expensive and not dog friendly.
In the end there were only 2 to choose from. 

1) 1 bedroom about 5 min from school. New (but very small) kitchen and new bathroom. Very cute. Boring, but safe location. Landlady works in my department. Listing said no pets, but she agreed to let me have visiting animals. Cats, dog and husband! Financially do-able, but I'm not going to be paying off any credit cards or buying a new Anthropologie wardrobe anytime soon.

2) 4 bedroom house with 3 roommates currently but one is moving out will not to be replaced. Nice house, nice roommates. One is afraid of dogs but willing to compromise. Other is allergic to cats. One in my department has reputation for being very social and a bit of a partier. Also seems to be a bit bossy/know-it-all (10 minute instructions to other roommate about exactly how she should cook fish...and it was only seasoning, butter and foil). One is a smoker, but only outside. But it is goodbye-credit-card-debt-hello-cute-shoes cheap!

I decided on the 1 bedroom. The whole roommate thing was a little too much for me. With the new job, an upcoming field season, and a house and husband in a different state I don't want to worry about whether or not it is my week to buy dish soap. The smoking roommate is an issue as well because smoke can trigger my migraines. That is not a risk I really want to take. Finally, while they tried to stress that I should feel at home and can use everything in the house as if it were mine, it just didn't feel like I would be comfortable. 
Having my own space and being surrounded by my own familiar things sounds much more inviting. From our last long distance experience*, I know how miserable it can feel to be stuck in a place you hate far away from the people you love. If I am much less likely to hate my own apartment, that alone is going to be worth the extra money!

*when I lived in the trailer from hell because it was provided for free



While everything has been falling into place, I still don't have a place to live in Postdoc City. Tomorrow I am going to visit, see 5 apartments and meet 1 set of potential roommates. 
Apartments and roommates? It never occurred to me that I would be doing this again as an old married lady. I didn't even know where to start so I used Craigslist and it turns out that one landlady and the roommates are actually in my department at the new University!

The ideal place just doesn't seem to exist. If the roommate thing works out, it is only a 6 month lease, cheap as can be and has potential for the Grackle to bring the dog for weekends. No cats, ever. My own apartment, however will allow me to have my own space and potential for kitties to stay with me but this will cost at least twice as much. No dogs ever. 
I'm trying to be open to all possibilities until I see everything and not freak out about it all. As a postdoc I'll basically live in the lab 16 hours a day anyway, right?   


For Yooo-oo-oo-uuuuu--uu-uu

There is a iPod nano commercial and Grackle just figured out some the first part of the lyrics 
G: Ohhhh, 'I tried to do handstands for you'
Me: yeah. 
G: What is that song? Who is it by?
Me: I dunno...you should buy that other iPod that has the application to ID songs, hold it up to this iPod commercial to find out the song 
G: Yeah, good plan....goooood plan.

This little exchange brings me to 2 topics.
1) My computer is getting older and is slowing down a lot. I'm thinking of switching to a Mac. I have used and liked them before, but have never been in a position where it was an option due to finances. Is there anyone who has used a Mac and didn't like it? 

2) The little exchange with Grackle is typical for us. The mundane, but hilarious (to us, at least) things that make up our days together. I love these things because we've done long distance before (two different 8 month periods spent 3000 miles away) and these little things are what I miss most. With my graduation and new position we will again be doing long distance. My postdoc is at a university about 2.5 hours from our current home and university. If he stays on schedule, he should graduate in 2.5 years. So, it is a longer period of time, but relatively close. I figure we will be able to see each other at least every 2 weeks (outside of field seasons when we travel). 
Our situation is interesting not only because it is challenging to us, but because it challenges a lot of people's perceptions of what we should be doing. Despite being the woman and 7 years younger than Grackle, I am more advanced in my academic career and have been the one to strike out geographically. Our first bout of long distance was because I was secured to go to PhD town while he stayed to finish a degree. Grackle then followed me to PhD town. The second long distance stint was due to my project and funding. Now again, I am the one to move out away from our home. Family members and many friends don't understand why we would do this (or as some put it, 'why he lets' me do these things). As much as we love our life together, we know that where and how we live right now is not permanent. Ultimately, we will settle somewhere together and hopefully both have jobs that make us happy. Dealing with the long distance now will put us in a better position for that long term goal and that makes it worth it.

Somebody please remind me of this in about 3 months when I haven't seen Grackle in a month and am a miserable, complaining mess!


Happy Repeal Day!

Have a drink (quick) because it is Repeal Day! The anniversary of the end of Prohibition. (It is the 5th....and I am posting at 11:58)

Our home is about 130 years old and located in a historic district. The historic society thinks that our house was a speakeasy in the time of Prohibition. Very cool- even more reason to celebrate although, we don't have a bathtub in which to make any gin....



Major transition time! I am set to turn everything in to the Dean tomorrow. For the first time since I was 4, I will no longer be classified as a student. 
This is a little weird but it is nothing compared to what it really means. I have to move on. Like, for real and right now. In the next 6 weeks I will move to a charming new city, start in a new position in a new lab, new department, on a new project and study system. All this stuff is exciting, but moving on means leaving too. This week, talking about the details of turning in my keys was probably more difficult than my revisions. 

The first transition I have to make is getting back to having a life! I can blog (and blog read) regularly again! We have piles of laundry you wouldn't believe and I haven't baked in months. The Grackle is happy to not cook every meal and I'm even excited about keeping the dishes clean these days. It might not be an exciting life, but it feels so nice to get back to it. 


Final InaDWriMo 2008

As promised- I have written no more after the dissertation. That was my goal and that was enough! I've been editing but haven't bothered to count as I go along. 
I think the best thing about this exercise and my time-crunch-writing situation this semester has been to show me what some of my potential is. If I have to, I can write a lot in a short amount of time. I lived through it and it wasn't even that bad. In theory, there should be nothing stopping me from just sitting down and writing whenever I need to. Of course ,we all know that but the practice of actually doing it gets more complicated. I am hoping that when I get to my next set of papers or grant or whatever, I remember how to find this productivity and hopefully keep my writing momentum without a looming deadline.