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Wed, May. 9th, 2012, 09:47 am
Ohaithar, LJ

Ohai. I, uh, kinda forgot you existed there for a little while. I'm gonna blame Chrome...when I switched from Firefox, I no longer saw the LJ bookmark on my bar, and I couldn't be arsed to actually search for anything.

Yes, that sounds more like a me problem than an LJ problem. Fine.

I miss the little bit of community I had here, I think, so I'm going to try to come back. We'll see how it goes. I enjoy the public blogging and the twitters and the faceborgs and all, but...well, sometimes there's stuff you want to talk to a couple close, semi-anonymous internet friends about. G+ seems to offer that, but who uses G+ any more?

Thu, Jun. 10th, 2010, 10:24 am
end of an era

I don't really have the words right now. My favorite local store/hangout/third family, Hanks Yarn and Fiber, is closing its bricks-and-mortar store.

I'm not entirely sure why this hit me so hard. After all, I'm leaving town the same time that they're closing. I suspect it's a combination of a lot of things, including nervousness/anxiety about leaving Gainesville and irrational disappointment at "failing" to finish my PhD, and it left me crying on the bus on the ride home Tuesday, when the news was made public.

Rather than focus on how sad their closing makes me, I think I'd rather take a moment to celebrate the amazing community Lorena, Sharon, and Ginger created. The three of them, and the regulars at Hanks, have become a third family to me, and I feel so very fortunate to have followed Emma into that-new-place-where-Harmon's-used-to-be (I can't believe that was almost two years ago). I've gone to amazing concerts with Hanksters, found people to play games with, discovered roller derby, and learned that I can actually do something artistic and crafty. I'm so thankful to them and honestly think I'm a better me now than I would be without Hanks.

Sun, Jan. 31st, 2010, 07:15 pm
what we repeatedly do

Is January really over already? It really feels like just yesterday that I was writing up my goals for the year. Overall, I'd give this month a C+/B-. It wasn't bad, but there's certainly room for improvement. Let's hit some bullet points, shall we?

- I'm only 13 miles into my walk to Chattanooga. I started pretty strong for the first two weeks, then hit a wall and never quite recovered my momentum. The original idea was to wake up early every morning and do half an hour on the treadmill but found myself opting to sleep in most mornings. Goal for February: 30 miles. Ideal goal: 50.
- As of this afternoon, I'm down 5 pounds. As with the walking, I started well and then fell off. It's as if they're related. I was down a shade over 10 pounds in the middle of the month and put weight back on the past week or so. Goal for February: 6 pounds. Ideal goal: 10 pounds.
- I've been pretty successful about not buying my lunch at work. There was one week I bought fast food twice, when I drove to Chattanooga. Overall I'm pleased. Goal for February: continue kicking ass brown bagging it.
- As far as knitting projects go, I've made slow, but steady, progress on my sock monkey monkeymen sock. As of this afternoon, I have a heel and am working on the leg of the sock. Goal for February: finish this sock! Ideal goal: finish this sock and the toe on the second.
Monkeymen Sock Progress - 1/31/10

- I started a second project to work on while I'm waiting for/on the bus: a new hat. I've been meaning to make Jared Flood's Turn a Square for a while and I think this will make a nice traveling project. It's primarily stockinette, so I should be able to just pick it up and work on it for a while, then stuff it back in the bag without really worrying about where I am in the pattern. Unfortunately, last night I discovered the problem with the Knit Picks interchangable needles that I got for Christmas: they come apart. Goal for February: cast this sucker back on and get it done.
- Work has been up and down. Mostly up, but I could be doing better. This week I noticed a mostly-amusing habit I have: I try to do more as the week goes on, to get stuff done for the Friday afternoon lab meeting. The meeting seems so far away on Monday, so I think I tend to push experiments off until Tuesday or Wednesday, and by Friday am trying to do the whole week's work in one day. Goal for February: Stop that. Er, manage my time better Monday and Tuesday.
- Second work goal for February: finish my proposal draft.
- I've been very happy about my efforts to be more social. I've started going regularly to a trivia night at a local bar with some friends from grad school. Yeah, it's largely an excuse to drink beer and be nerdy, but it's fun. I went and saw Jonathan Coulton in Orlando which was just fucking amazing. A couple weeks ago I went to a friend's apartment to hang out and watch a movie and knit, and then last night I even had a couple friends over to the house to play some games. Goal for February: keep it up! No concerts on the agenda for this month specifically, but a group of us from the yarn store are going to see the Giants in Jacksonville in early March. They're doing a Flood show! How could we not go?

Hm, that's probably enough blathering. Two guiding thoughts for February. First, from Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Second, from my boss, a corollary to Boyle's gas law: The amount of stuff on the to do list expands to fill the available time, so you might as well aim to do more stuff.

Aristotle quote reminder via Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project.

Sun, Dec. 27th, 2009, 06:32 pm
recipe sunday: barley and mushrooms with beans and spinach

In an attempt to blog more than once a month, how about a weekly recipe series? Here's a cold-weather favorite of Emma's and mine. I wish it had a better name, other than "That barley-mushroom thing with spinach".

Olive oil
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic (or, if you're like us, lots more)
1/2 cup uncooked barley
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15.5 oz) white beans, drained (we're particularly fond of great northerns in this recipe)
1 package frozen spinach
Balsamic vinegar

1. Saute mushrooms, onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil in a medium saucepan. Saute until tender.
2. Add barley and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer 45-50 minutes (or until barley is tender).
3. Mix in white beans and spinach. Bring to a boil, then simmer for approximately 5 minutes.
4. Serve in bowls. Add balsamic vinegar to taste.

Mon, Nov. 30th, 2009, 01:03 pm
from today's therapy

Three Thoughts for "Framing" My Work

1. Every thing that I do leads me a step closer to Emma.
2. The harder the thing that I do, the more I prove that I am exceptional.
3. Although I may not be happy about starting this task, when I complete it, I will feel happier than if I had avoided it. I will feel all the more confident in myself.

I have these written on an actual, physical piece of paper that I'm supposed to carry around with me. In addition, I figured I'd share it with you, dear friends.

Thu, Oct. 29th, 2009, 11:31 pm
taking risks

Two weekends ago, I submitted my application for readmission to grad school.

A brief backstory:

Spring and summer of '08, I was going nowhere at work. Experiments were stalled. I wasn't generating any data and none of my techniques were working. Every "established" lab technique was broken in a fun and exciting way, usually involving the equipment, and I couldn't make any headway. I was getting increasingly frustrated and, in retrospect, wonder how hard I really tried. I felt like I was pushing hard, but now I wonder. At the end of the summer there was no money left to fund me. It was suggested that I take a leave of absence, then come back "recharged." In retrospect, again, perhaps I should have.

Burning down the lab (1)

Instead, I worked for free in the lab all fall, trying to "prove" my dedication and commitment to the lab, the department, and the program. And hoping that one of my experiments would work, and I could show that I was a productive member of the lab. They didn't and I didn't, so I was presented with two options: leave (either with or without a master's, assuming I could write up what I had into a reasonable thesis), or find a new lab on my own.

I was crushed. Humiliated. Outside of my immediate family, I don't think I told anyone. A few people in grad school, maybe, since it would be immediately obvious when I wasn't around. And after that? I guess I went into hiding for a while. Cut myself off from friends and the modest support system that I have. The whole situation was too painful to discuss. In fact, it's even hard to write about now.

Over the winter I applied for several lab tech jobs, and eventually got an offer that was decent. The PI needed someone with molecular biology experience for the research he wanted to do and somehow I was able to convince him that I was up to the challenge, despite my lack of faith in my own abilities. Through the spring and summer the work went well. Experiments actually worked. I was useful and a valuable member of the lab. Well, there were only three of us, but that's beside the point. I contributed. And I started to think that perhaps all the crap that I went through wasn't entirely my fault.

Towards the end of the summer there was a review that came across both my and my boss's radars, combining the stem cell research we were doing with the epigenetics research that I had been doing for the previous four years. We sat and talked for a good hour about the review and the knowledge that I could uniquely bring to our lab. I walked out of the meeting with one thought in my head: "How do I turn this into a thesis?"

What a ridiculous idea! My wife was finishing her residency and had taken a job in Chattanooga. My 33rd birthday was approaching. My last attempt at school ended in failure. And yet, I couldn't get it out of my head.

So, here I am, a few months later, with my application submitted. I've talked with the program director who seems very supportive, so I'm confident that there won't be problems with my readmission. I'm going to change my major from biochemistry and molecular biology to neuroscience, which means I'll have to take a bunch of classes in the spring. Classes which, honestly, I was probably going to take regardless...I don't have enough background for a neuroscience thesis. Still, having to take the classes versus choosing to take the classes makes them that much more daunting. I really believe that I have the ability to be successful, but the voices are still there, whispering at me every time I close my eyes. What if I can't hack it? What happens when it gets hard? What if I fail, again?

Wed, Sep. 23rd, 2009, 08:04 am
Emma's apartment

Emma has taken a few pictures of her new apartment, now that she's moved in and has finished unpacking. It's pretty cute, don't you think?

Mon, Sep. 21st, 2009, 10:02 pm

The house is quiet, with just me and the cats. I'm not saying that Emma's loud; it's just that with every lack of another footstep and the sound of nothing coming from her office, I'm reminded that I'm here alone. Eventually I'm going to get into a rhythm, get used to being by myself in the house, but for now? It's still weird.

Sun, Sep. 20th, 2009, 09:11 pm


This morning, Emma left for Chattanooga. I'm...well, I've been better. If I don't think about it, I'm okay. The house sure is quiet, though.

Fri, Sep. 18th, 2009, 09:00 am

I've been in a self-reflective mood the past few days, so when this cognitive psychology tool popped up in a friend's twitter feed I was all about it. If you don't mind, would you pop through to these two following links and contribute your thoughts? Shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Thanks!


Oh, and submitting them anonymously is totally cool with me. I'm mostly curious about the wisdom of the mob, if you will.

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