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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - What's it gonna be?

"So how about this: one year. The end of 2013, that's our deadline. Or a year from whenever you read this. While other people are telling you "Let's make a New Year's resolution to lose 15 pounds this year!" I'm going to say let's pledge to do fucking anything -- add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people. Don't ask me what -- hell, pick something at random if you don't know. Take a class in karate, or ballroom dancing, or pottery. Learn to bake. Build a birdhouse. Learn massage. Learn a programming language. Film a porno. Adopt a superhero persona and fight crime. Start a YouTube vlog...
...But the key is, I don't want you to focus on something great that you're going to make happen to you ("I'm going to find a girlfriend, I'm going to make lots of money ..."). I want you to purely focus on giving yourself a skill that would make you ever so slightly more interesting and valuable to other people."


Taken from this fantastic article here

Highly recommend you read it. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Post holidays

It's been a mellow past few days. Christmas meals and obligations done. A few neat gifts given and received, not the least of which is a new light switch Dad installed in my basement. Had a nice visit with my Dad. Ate many waffles (new wafflemaker!!!). Sampled local rhubarb raspberry wine and my own blueberry wine (which turned out very nice for a reddish sort of wine- I am pleased). Read the Algebraist by Ian M Banks over a few days of mellow (very good book, if a bit over descriptive). Enjoyed beer and snackery (boxing day supper was  a whole table of horderves...mmm) and there was a lot of slothfulness on my part. In my defense I will say that I did manage to fall down the stairs rather spectacularly while carrying presents at my in-laws house on boxing day. Thankfully I didn't do anything too serious, but I've been taking it easy...other than a bruised butt I seem to have gotten off OK. Stiffness is fading. Good scotch helped.

Unfortunately J has been sick as a dog since boxing day. Today he has a shoot so he is all drugged up and out working out of necessity, but we haven't done much we'd planned since boxing day, as he's just felt too poorly. I seem to be (somehow) still immune, washing my hands religiously and taking Cold FX with the vain hope that it skips me. We shall see. I am hoping he feels much better so we can celebrate new years tomorrow as we've been looking forward to it for some time...at the very least I'd like to crack a bottle of mead and try some (I've heard reports form across the pond that it turned out rather well and I'd like to see so for myself!).

At any rate, hope your holidays were well enjoyed and relaxing. I didn't get to all I'd schemed, due to plague avoidance tactics, but at least I will get out this evening to spend time with an old friend catching up on life, sipping wine and being ridiculous. I'm slowly getting used to the slowing down of life...another day or two before we're back to it all, all adultish and stuff.
Yes, it will do for now :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

One more time...

Am I done with the baking? Oh no. :)
The next 2 days are family filled so I am prepping for what I have to bring to them. Meatbuns, stuffing, lemon tarts and sticky toffee pudding. And a nice salad with pomegranates and hazelnuts and feta...Yum. The kahlua is bottled and it is most delicious indeed. Lots to sip away at and still give away.
I am taking a break after kneading a LOT of bread dough...and making some tea.
Dad's here too. It's lovely.
Soon is christmas.
Soon :)

Merry Christmas to you you and yours :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nuts and Bolts

It's not christmas without mums nuts and bolts. Super easy...and so tasty.
All you need is:
1 large box Cheerios
1 box Chex or shreddies (I prefer Chex)
1 bag pretzels
2 cups nuts ( dry roasted unsalted almonds or peanuts)

Mix those in a big roaster. Melt 1 1/2 c margarine +1/4c oil and stir in 1T of celery salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Add a few shakes of smoked paprika, 2 1/2T worchestire sauce and 10 or more good shakes of tabasco. Mix well. Pour over mix like you would butter on popcorn and stir well to coat all over.
Bake @ 250 for 1 hour, stirring well every 20 min.
Devour while sipping mulled wine and kicking your family's ass at cards :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

sticky toffee pudding

I'm pumped.
It's my job to bring a christmas dessert on christmas day, so I've decided that this year I'm making scottish style sticky toffee pudding. I've been craving it for a while since we ate our weight in it on holidays this spring...and have found a good recipe. It's simple to make and it will be super easy to make it gluten free so we can all enjoy the toffee yummy deliciousness. There's even a british store here in town where I can get treacle and Lyle's syrup if I want to go all traditional british on the sticky toffee part. We shall see. I have a scottish and british version which are essentially the same except for the caramel sauce part...

Mmmm...
Perhaps I'll have to make both and compare.
Muahaha.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reason 58 why the Doctor should pick me as his next companion

I make a mean jammy dodger :)

Yup...I have gotten my need to bake out of my system and eaten my weight in cookie dough. We now have vanillekipfl, peanut butter surprize cookies, jammy dodgers and gingerbread cookies, which will eventually have a lemony creme center and be made into cookie sammiches.
Yum.

cookies

It's a lazy sunday. J and I went out last night dancing and had a blast, and now he has to work all day shooting a video. I have the lazy day to fill and am feeling the need to bake christmas things. After the all important french roast coffee with cream and cinnamon sugar toast I've dug out my recipes, and have my mum's red metal recipe box and I'm hunting up old and new favourites. I want to make...everything...vanilla shortbread fingers (perhaps half dipped in white chocolate...), peppered gingersnaps, peanut butter surprise cookes, maybe some snickerdoodles or vannilakipfl.  I want to try making jammy dodgers for the first time too. I found a recipe for them, so I'm quite curious. The last few years I've sent a whack of baking out to my sister's (she has 4 foster kids so baking lasts 2 seconds there!) but Dad isn't heading out this year, so I'm not sure who will end up with these, but I need to make them.


It's odd...I'm not one for actually eating the baking (altho I will have a few). For me, I love the whole process. A true holiday tradition for me is the baking of the goodies. Mum and I would spend lazy time baking up things and decorating. It's a favourite memory of all holidays past - time with mum in the kitchen. At first I'd watch and learn, and later we'd make things together. As I spent time in restaurants and bakeries we'd trade secrets, and she and I would make our own specialities. And this time of year, perhaps while doing this, is the time when I am both happiest, and miss my mum the most. The first year after she died it was a memorial...a way of honouring her memory in my own way. Thanksgiving was hard...I cooked the big meal for everyone on my own and all I could feel was the absence of her. But it has changed with time...now I remember the taste tests and the stirring and comments. My mum wasn't one for conversation, but when we did things like this together we really connected. I think it is why, even now, when I want to relax nothing is better for it than making artisan breads or baking. I never did become a chef like I thought about...and part of that was to preserve the joy I get from the whole process.

Yes...today the oven will be on, the mixer will be mixing and my mum will be very much on my mind...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Deck the...um?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jingle Jingle.

Stepped out at lunch to buy Dad's gift, the last of the gifts and obligations for the season for us.
Thank frog. I love christmas (the music, nog, lights and spiced rummy part of it) but I maintain that holiday retail makes me want to gouge my eyes out with candy canes, so this cartoon made me laugh my sugarplums off.


Now it's all about the rum and nog and trying to find a decent apple wine recipe to start up over the break for the 3 gallons of fresh apple juice I've happily acquired...

Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm such a sucker for christmas decorations

My robot fetish has expanded to include the christmas tree.
It's looking like christmas around here. Nana's white tree is up.
Finally.



I've even dragged some stuff in to spruce up my new office...lights too.


Squeee!!

Friday, December 07, 2012

TGIF


Thank frog. What a week...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

only wednesday huh?

I was off for two training days...and the world has gone crazy at work.
I've resorted to self bribery. If I'm good and get it all done, there will vino goodness when I get home.

Courage.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Longest week ever

This week has just seems so very very LONG.

Yesterday, after an extra long day at work, I got to come home later but got to treat myself with a bit of seafood. J isn't a seafood fan so whenever he works late and misses supper I have a some...last night was some prawns with mushrooms, red pepper and onion with ginger and garlic and some rice.
So. Good.

Then I put a coat of black paint on the speaker stands I've built and primed and relaxed with my kittehs. The shelves look really slick painted up. One more coat and they're good to go. I love painting...I get it everywhere, but I love it. For the record, black paint washes off really easily. That dang primer from the shelves is still there on my legs tho. Seriously...4 scrubbing showers now and it won't come off...sheesh. At least I know it's good primer! :)

I may or may not have to work tomorrow (I find out today) but I have plans for some more organizing on the weekend. We have a whack of books, old VHS and clothes and stuff to give away that we've purged, so I need to drop those and the recyclables off on saturday and do some more purging and organizing.
Counds crazy I know, but it's so...cleansing. For so long I've felt out of control and with school and life I never had the time to really work on my home. Now, I can pick away at it here on my own terms and really go thru things. Instead of looking around and being frustrated at all the little things I keep meaning to get to, I am actually getting to them. Things in my life I don't need or that are not what I want are being removed. And, most importantly, I have my craft room back. It's not organized yet, but I had no idea how important it was for my sanity to have my space to make crazy stuff in. I love making stuff...it gets my brain all smiley and sparkley on the inside. :)

Best of all? December is tomorrow.
Oh yeah, it is! That means I can officially lift my self imposed decoration ban and start whipping out the holiday decorations. Hee hee! By next weekend, when my Dad gets home from visiting my sister I hope to have them all up.
I plan to invent some peppermint candy cane cupcakes for family dinner on sunday. I found a box of candy canes in the pantry while organizing and I have to bring dessert, so we'll see what I can come up with. I have cream cheese for icing too so they should be good. I'm not sure if I should make them red or green tho (or green and white marbley maybe?). I don't know how edible a green cupcake would seem.
Hmmm...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gah

I am currently trying to play tetris to get all the new and old lab equipment to fit into the new labs before we confirm the orders. Blueprints with little cutouts. Matching up outlets to units. New researcher moving into my space I have to find room for. Grown men acting like children about "their stuff"...

Rediculous really. They're fine with whatever I do...provided I do it all and I can actually fit it all in.

*sigh*
I need a beer...


discordian radio at it's finest

I've gone on before in the past about the KLF and how fantastic they are, and what that bunch of crazy artist musicians did way back when, when sampling was forbidden and a car could be a Timelord and the Justified Ancients of Mumu made some great music, doctored the tardis and burned some money.

Some guy (JMR Higgs) has written an ebook about the KLF and interviews and little bit about their life. The author has set up an online broadcast, Radio Eris, starting November 23 for 15 days, reading chapters form the book along with random sound quotes, poems, music and weird randomness. We've had it on at home lately to listen to it all. Last night's Chapter 6 excerpt was really interesting...a lot about Doctor Who and how the KLF Doctor Who track came to be. Really interesting perspectives and odd takes on things...J, who is enamoured with both the KLF and Doctor Who was over the moon. I heard snippets as I primed and painted in the basement and was impressed as well. I look forward to reading the book. I need to dig out my KLF CDs for a listen...

If you are interested, or want a little oddness in your day, check out Radio Eris for the next while. Or the KLF. Or the book.
Or not.
Y'know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shiny

Remember Much Music Big Shiny Tunes Compilations from the 90s? I do. They started when I was in university...which dates me I know. They had some good songs on them...I remember owning a few on CD. I think they're still kicking around downstairs somewhere...

As a fundraiser for the local community run Broadway theatre, they had a great event last night. Local bands and artists did covers of tracks off of Big Shiny Tunes 2 and proceeds went to the theatre to help keep them going for another year. Rockabilly, punk, country and soulful versions of Bran Van 3000, Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind, Blur, the Tea Party, Chemical Brothers, capped off with a beat poet rendition of Marilyn Manson's Beautiful People. All totally different than the originals and all really well done. The event ended up raising 9000 for the theatre to keep it running for another year. It was a great night

This is why I love the community I live in. Yes it's a smaller city in the frozen wasteland, but the arts and music community is thriving here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ramona

I really enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim VS the World comics and the movie made of them was also fabulous. I have coveted the round bag of Ramona Flowers since seeing it both animated and in the film (which is odd, as I'm not one for coveting bags of any kind really). I tracked down "the bag" after on the interwebs and was mooning over it and my friend Heather kindly offered to get it for me for my birthday. In colours I like.
It just arrived in the mail.


Joy. :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Open letter to Iomega

Dear Iomega,

I have had 2 external hard drives from you, and both have failed after a brief use in the exact same way...as in they are useless bricks. Your "warranty" appears to be fake and I cannot get any customer support for a replacement unit so far, although I will continue to try my best. The first time the store it was bought from was good enough to give me another unit, but now they will not. After going to your website for help I have learned that I could pay $25 for technical support and likely be told to go away (um...no) or call a number that redirects me to your website or try emailing in a technical ticket for support on an item you say may or may not be under warranty, even though there should be at least a 1 year warranty on it. Since it was a gift, I have no receipt and highly expect that you and your horrible company will tell me I have a very expensive door stop. I may end up playing macguyver and drop the drive into a new case to try and get it to work so I am not totally out a few hundred dollars...which I have not done yet since it would void my (ha ha) warranty.

Suffice it to say your company and your products are of very poor quality, and from what I can find on the Internet you have a record of inferior products and terrible customer support. If you cannot assist me, I will ensure that everyone I know is aware of your utterly awful products and service. I will never buy another product from you again.

Geo

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Getting jiggy


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't label me man

Put together a label for my blueberry wine.


I am most curious to crack some open over christmas. It may be more than 9% if I did the math wrong...and it not be ready to drink yet, but we'll see...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stuff and things

We are still in the midst of Operation Organize Our Sh*t.
It involves...well...organizing, putting things into bins on shelves in a labelled way so we can find them, and getting rid of a lot of junk. About 3 years of it. I've made a huge dent in the basement and my craft room and our bedroom is nearly complete. J is redoing his basement studio and I am trying (feeling somewhat like it's in vain) to organize the sub-basement. It's full of so much JUNK...you kind of have to make a huge mess in order to clean it up properly...but it's coming slowly but surely. Still much to purge.
If only we didn't have 2 van seats and a van bench stuck in the middle of the basement (GAH) I'd be a bit further along... Still tho - we will keep organizing and getting bins and purging as needed. I've been repainting our dresser to match the bedside tables Dad and I made and it should be ready to go back by the weekend in to the bedroom. That will do for starters. Bit by bit...it's kind of never ending, but really really necessary. It may take me all winter, but I am determined to organize the basement and eventually our closets and pantry so that they're not just random piles of stuff. Perhaps move the workout stuff down there eventually...
Soon I'll be pulling out all the Christmas stuff...and purging some of that too. Cuz really...a lot of it is just stuff I feel obligated to keep but don't like. I'm so over that stage of my life...

I keep wondering as I come across stuff - where the hell did all this junk come from anyways?

Courage...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Appetite suppressant

Glorious weekend up at the lake. My Dad is away visiting my sister in Ottawa so J and I had the place to ourselves. Fireplace and wine and snow and fog, with some grilled cheese and croissants and fruit thrown in for good measure. It was gorgeous. Only about -7, with lots of fog to coat all the trees in a thick frost and glisten in the sunlight. We even got out for a hike one afternoon to somewhere J's never been before and saw lots of bunny tracks and even (thankfully a day old) wolf tracks. No bears or elk, thankfully. It was a great weekend away. The first time in ages where we had nowhere else to be or things to do but just be together. :)

Only odd thing while up there -My dad's friend used to be a conservative MP and I'm sure it was him who gave my dad a 2013 Stephen Harper calendar. Yeah, you read that right -a whole year of charming photos of Stephen Harper and his family all smarmy and posing for the camera. It took all my willpower not to burn it...it's not mine so I didn't,  but I do want to insist Dad does the same with it. Instead, to calm my brain, I tucked it away and placed a 2013 wildlife federation calendar out in plain view where it had been. I refuse to have a calendar of that man up. Yeesh. The fact that such a thing exists, is just...well...really? What kind of an ego puts together a calendar like that for someone other than your family? I would assume my Dad's friend didn't want it or gave it to Dad as a joke...I hope so. Because really, even if I were a supporter of the conservative party I wouldn't want that man smiling at me every month.  It hangs right by the kitchen table. Way to kill your appetite.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Meh

Cold. Snowy. Dark.
This time of year it's dark when I get up and dark when I go home. Just another month and thankfully the darkness recedes again, but it's still gloomy. I am happy that I can avoid the holiday shopping madness, but I still am feeling like it is february, and it's (gak) only november. This real life business is odd...I have time to think and scheme and find I often have to reign in my mind as it can wander too far to places it should not be. My brain is floundering I suppose. After doing elaborate science non stop it's hard to equate making bread or painting furniture to my mind as acceptable substitutes, never mind just sitting with a book and some tea. Come December I can go mad with christmas decorations, but until then...well gnawing at the back of my mind is the fact that I really need to get to publishing my papers from my thesis and focus on my life more. Academically, the university I work for is going through a huge transition, and I fear that I will be swept up in it and find I do not belong or want to be in it all when the dust settles. Or I could love it here even more.
Meh. Poor me and my under-stimulated brain.

For now...2 hours left until I can flee into the dark snowy world for the weekend. I am quite looking forward to a weekend of warmth and wine and relaxing with J.
Yes...that will do nicely for starters.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Experimental boozery

I was given a recipe for homemade Kahlua, so I decided to start some up tonight. It takes about a month so it will be ready or christmas. My J is a girly drinker and I admit I too am a sucker for Kahlua and milk, so I am looking forward to a tasty holiday. I seems really easy compared to wine...more on the level of lemoncello. It is easy peasy. All you need is:

4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup decent instant coffee
3 1/2 c sugar
3 c vodka
1 vanilla bean, cut into 3 and slit open a bit

You dissolve the coffee and sugar in the hot water, add the bean and bring to a boil. After this cools, you just put it in a jar with the vodka and put a lid on it and ignore it in a warm place for a month. After you remove the bean it's ready to drink, and should be kept refrigerated from then on.
Currently the coffee syrup is cooling, and once it is combined with ze booze in my sterilized 2 L jar, it will be left alone until Christmas eve.
I am excited...just in case the blueberry wine is a flop we have this.
Yum.

Come to the dark side. We have cookies

I read this today and I feel this way too around this time of year when the world goes crazy for chocolates and candy and cake and everyone's diet goes out the window.

"Food is not a reward. I am not a dog. I am not working hard in life for a cookie."

It is something I struggle with because eating for enjoyment and savouring the yumminess is one thing, but food as a reward is not something I can do with restraints. Maybe it was just the weekend of insane consumerism I lived through, but there are so many really important things in my life that need tending to. My ass and stomach will be just fine as they are...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rowbits!

I survived a US christmas shopping trip to Minot with my muminlaw and sisinlaw...my reward for surviving their crazy shopping frenzy was to be finished my christmas shopping for the family along with getting some nice work clothes and a few cool things that I've ever seen before (like a Gir blanket and Gorillaz shirt). No annoying christmas music yet too, thankfully, and time to find tasty foodstuffs you can't get at home...including gingerbread oreos and almond joy coffee creamer (drool). Spent most of my time following them around, drinking coffee as they shopped like demons. Somehow managed to get free wine every time we ate out...which helped me stay sane thru it all.
My only real goal was spending hours in my new favourite store - Hobby Lobby. It is a ginormous craft store...everything conceivable for sewing, crafts, baking and specialty tools of every sort. I now have leather punches and fabric and paints and lots of things for future creative ventures...even a few christmas robots.  I am currently fixated on 1950s style robots at the moment, or as J would say in a 1950s style newscaster voice - rowbits :)

We managed to beat a giant 2 day blizzard going down which conveniently stopped again the night before we came back. It was a nice drive. I must say though, I have no desire to shop for a very long time...and I so very much am glad to be back in J's sane and handsome company.

Only goal in the next while is to make some spiced ale for christmas and enjoy being home.  Starting to get festive in spite of myself :)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Message from the Queen

This made me snicker this morning....there has been a lot of rediculous things going on in Canadian politica that have made me ranty, and we've been inundated with US election stuff.  This was a bit of a reprieve from it all  :)

A MESSAGE FROM THE QUEEN  

(From Michael Yon's page)

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:


In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
-----------------------

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13.. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Uberweekend


I didn't get everything done that I wanted to this weekend, but it was busy and productive.
Bottled my blueberry wine, which looks gorgeous. It fermented out uber-dry and my attempts to sweeten it helped a bit, but I didn't make it as sweet as I probably should have for my own palate. Still a newb at this wine stuff and I'd rather have it a bit dry than too sweet. It's a nice semi-dry red - good for most people. Wouldn't really know it was blueberry and not grape. Since it will likely be gifted out (and consumed) over the holidays I figure it will do nicely. :)



I also finished painting up the bedside tables Dad and I made a few weeks ago. Then J and I did a crazy super clean of our bedroom to suck up the cat fluff and dust in there, especially taking down the canopy we have had over the bed for years. Preparation for the new tables. Baha.
But wow...So. Much. Dust.  My sneeze record was 16 in a row. Sheesh. My allergies went absolutely insane, but it was necessary...and it will be so nice to have the bedroom organized. I'm repainting our dresser to match our new bedside tables this week, and the bedside tables are ready to used in the bedroom today. Hooray!  In the spring we are replacing the windows in our bedroom and will repaint then and get a new duvet cover. For now, this reboot to our sanctuary is so very nice :)

After a ridiculously convoluted installation of the snow tires, I made a treat that I haven't in a while - meat cheese buns. Fresh buns with spicy hamburger and a square of gouda baked into the centre. I haven't made them since before I started school, because they take all day. I made up 4 dozen and after a late late supper of them there are still lots left to freeze for quick suppers over the next while. Sooooooooooo good.

Tonight is belly dancing and more bedroom attack and basement organizing. Now that we have the shelves I built downstairs we can really sort through things. I'm rebooting the house one room at a time...I have over 2 years of clutter and mess to fight back against. I will win. :)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Made me laugh out loud

As crude as it is this made me laugh out loud...


But seriously tho...American politics right now are just simply insane. Canada is hopeless as well and voter apathy could result in some seriously messed up lives in the near future. If the US votes in Romney simply by people not showing up to vote, I am turning in my human race card and starting a Newfreeland. There will be cake and scotch for all the disenfranchised.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lady Vader at your service

Altho I am currently dressed as Rupert the science bear, I just have to post a pic of my steampunk Lady Vader costume from the weekend. I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I love taking things and changing it just enough to make it my own. J's EL wire finally arrived so he could finish his mask too.
I love Halloween.


I was going to wear it to work, but I wasn't sure if a corset was "work appropriate" so Rupert the bear saves the day once again. I have my lab coat and slide whistle and it's been fun. I actually sat through a short meeting with the bear head and a lab coat on, which I must admit has been a lifelong goal of mine :) I'm glad I wore it, since the new labs are at about 16 degrees today (they're mucking with the AC) so I'm glad for the warmth :)

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I haz a diploma!!


Graduate robes are awesome...serious bat wings going on here :)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Proud

J is covering the civic election live on the tv tonight as the results trickle in.
Our cat Gavin is most confused as to why he is inside the glowybox and not here.
So proud of him. He is rarely in front of camera and prefers to be behin the scenes, but when he chooses to be, he is so confident and good at interviewing. He's doing an exceptional job. :)

classy



prizes prizes paprizes

I made a steampunk Lady Vader costume and was wondering where I might wear it. Now I know.
There is a costume contest at work on Halloween and the prize is a pumpkin pie.

I want that pie :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

I am the man


Yes...this weekend I became a man. :)
Saturday was a warm up. Since our furnace was replaced (last year...cough) the basement has been in complete disarray from having moved half of it and cramming it ALL into my craft room. Literally. You couldn't even go into the room it was so full of STUFF. Up to the door. So disheartening. Thing is -I refused to just move junk around...I wanted to reorganize it all properly and haven't had the time to until now. I spent all saturday attacking that room...and I won. Took a whole carload of cardboard and recyclables in and a carload of old records and clothes to a local charity shop (leftover from my dad). Now, there is still a long way to go to get it more organized but the crap is gone and things are grouped for sorting out in the next few weeks. You can walk around in there and see the floor and desktops. It's a room again. My haven for me is a real room again. FINALLY.

Then sunday I proved that I can use power tools and learned about the van.
Last weekend I was embarrassed when driving home from the lake a light came on and off in the van dash and I didn't know what it was for or what to do about it. Warning lights are important and I refuse to be a ditz and accidentally ruin a vehicle by my own lack of knowledge. Turns out the mystery light was a transmission overheating light which (thankfully) was not working right or the transmission could have been damaged by driving with it on. And unlike an engine/oil light you don't turn the vehicle off immediately- for this warning light you have to pull over and idle until the light goes off and the tranny is cooled off and then you can keep driving or turn it off. We have right hand drive  Mitsubishi Starwagon Delica L300 we imported from Japan as a camping vehicle and it's my husband's second lover...I rarely drive it and I haven't had time or made the effort to learn about it until now. Long overdue. I asked J to show me all the important things on the Delica I should know to drive it responsibly. We checked the tranny fluid is full and seems nice and red, so the transmission seems OK (the sensor has been acting up apparently so we need to replace the sensor, and maybe the fluid since it's been a few years), and J showed me how to check the oil and all other fluids (which are all inside the van under the centre console and passenger seat) and where the fuses and jack are.

Then I got my RawR on and got to work. The back area of our basement has a workbench (currently mountained with random tools. ahem.) and the rest of the room is the place where all the crap that was in my craft room came from. I have needed a storage unit back there for ages...and so I measured & sketched and we were off to Home Depot in the van for some lumber and paint. Then I threw on a work jacket, gloves and toque and worked outside with my drill and chop saw and built custom storage shelves for the back room. They aren't fancy...just functional, strong and exactly what we need. Custom L shape with 4 shelves, exactly the right depth for the rubbermaid bins we will be using to sort and store all our junk in. J helped me mount them to the wall and secure the cross shelving after supper. We worked together and finished the evening with an ice cold Grolsh feeling very proud of ourselves.

RawR.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My god that's a lot of penis

My friend Shane, in wishing my friend Cheyenne happy birthday, has made me spit coffee out of my nose on public transit reading Facebook this morning,  giggling uncontrollably like a nutter. People actually looked over and tutted at me with disdain. (Troglodytes. All of them.) On 1.5 hours of sleep after insomnia last night this post put me over the edge. I'm still giggling randomly about it an hour later...

"Consider the internet scoured for the best birthday humour that doesn't include penis cakes. Do you realize how many birthday penis cakes get given out yearly? my god that's a lot of penis.

Completely unrelated to said penis cakes, I couldn't choose one of these to be more funny than the other so here's two ecards

also...on your wall now...it says 'my god that's a lot of penis'...twice."

Yes. 
The world is full of crazy and wonderful people. Some of them I am lucky enough to call my friends...:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I still maintain that smiley faces rule



See?

Yoda...er...yoga

I keep thinking I should take up yoga, but never do. I am tempted to try this next month, and work my way up to doing all the poses each night before I go to bed.

Although, now that I've seen these pose guides by Rob Osborne...I'm even more interested! :P


































images

Monday, October 15, 2012

Breathe

A week of up at the lake visiting my Dad around places like this this sure did me a world of good. :)


AH....

Friday, October 05, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all have a marvelous Thanksgiving. We are heading up to Dad's at the lake, where I'll be making turkey, Mum's stuffing and mashed taters for a small horde. The horde will be bringing salads and pie. Should be nice and relaxing. We picked up some sheets of MDF so Dad and I can make some end tables while we are up there. Yes - we will soon be adults with our own bedside tables. I still use the old wooden stacking shelf-thing I inherited from Grapecat in my dormitory eons ago. J will no longer need to use metal stacking cubes. Oh yes...we're moving up! A little paint when we get back and viola!

...the accordion?
So glad the 50s are over....

Tonight we're heading out to see Iron Sky. Hee hee...nazi spaceships from the dark side of the moon invading earth ...I can't wait. So cheesy!!

The fall chill has come and the leaves have turned and are falling. Everything is orange and red and the air is crisp. I'm digging out the sweaters and wooly socks and am keeping warm with some amazing fingerless gloves that were made and sent by the ever lovely Grapecat. Warm and wooly and totally unique.


Hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving! :)

Monday, October 01, 2012

October is breast cancer awareness month


A Wonder Woman self checks... :)
source

Friday, September 28, 2012

tick tock

blah blah blah

Is it friday home time yet?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gorram computers

You know, I really got a bit of writing done...then I had a bit of writer's block. Then Word crashed to the eternal spinning wheel of doom.  I have a feeling I may have lost my work for tonight.
So yeah... I'm done with the paper for the night.

I'm pumped. We have an architectural photographer on campus to take photos of the new lab building inside and out and I got to "dress" my lab so that me, and two other techies could pretend to be working in the lab for university stock photos. I am now "woman pipetting the red liquid" for all eternity. It was fun. Didn't feel like work at all.
I just enjoyed being in my lab. *my* lab.
All day.
Hooray.
:)

So now I think I'm going to sit with my cat, have some popcorn and a beer.
Tomorrow is a reboot.

Meow.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ching ching

I am loving the bellydance classes.
Last night was my second lesson in over 2 years and it was a lot of fun. There are a few girls I work with in the class, as well as a few girls I know from when I used to take lessons, so it's a comfy atmosphere. I just love love love love how it feels. I've got aches in ridiculous places today form the hip drops and figure 8 drills we did, but it makes me feel so strong and vibrant to belly dance.
I've had this old favourite song in my head since class ended...:)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

How to avoid work

In my avoidance of abstract writing I have gone to the farmer's market, helped a friend move some boxes, ran errands and made lunch. I also discovered a very good wig for a possible Jem and the Holograms costume, striped pants for a potential revamp of my Tank Girl costume, and a kit for making pear cider. All great things. All *not* writing :).
Thing is,  I really almost physically react to having to spend time to put together 3 abstracts to send to a conference to try and present them in the spring. I don't wanna write them, but I *do* want to present them...if I am accepted I can travel, possibly somewhere very cool :) I just want to bake bread and relax, but I must do this today to get to my old TO supervisor by suppertime. First step is getting things accepted.

I will say though - J picked up my bound copies of the thesis yesterday...they're so purdy :)
The blue ones are quite classy indeed. Now I can try and get some paper's published...and some abstracts to present so the world can learn and use what I did. And then I can not deal with it anymore...I can't wait for graduation though. I have this general ennui about work in general at the moment and I wish I'd pop out of it. I just don't want to do or commit to anything for a while. Signing up for weekly bellydance classes was about as much as I care to commit to for the next while.

Time for a beer and some writing.
Sigh.

Friday, September 21, 2012

only at my house...

Last night while throwing in a load of laundry I jumped a foot, thinking I saw a gigantic spider on the floor. Catching my breath I looked closer...it wasn't moving.
What was it?
A giant googley eye.
Yup.
The world is taunting me...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bad Science

Love this guy. There is so much crap science out there sometimes I get all ranty. Ben Goldacre has taken the time through his Bad Science books and blog to address a lot of false "scientific" conclusions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Meme reboot

Well it's certainly been a while since I did this...


Current attire: Jeans, brown wool jacket with Mendala on the back, brown shirt, purple Docs

Current mood: A bit tired and nervous. I have to present something tomorrow to a class and I've never done it before. I'm trying to not worry about it...

Current music: "Into the Unknown" by Ekoplex

Current annoyance: I have great data to present at a conference in the US in spring, but now that I'm officially graduated there are no funds available for me to go and present it. WTF??

Current thing: Trying to revert to "normal" and still find the time to reorganize my life. It's gonna take a while. That and not eat everything in sight...

Current song in head: Bottle of Blues by Beck

Current video in player: A tape of the Back to the Future animated series (I know I didn't know it existed either) a friend got J for his birthday. It's terrible in an endearing way...

Current  DVD in the player: Third Season of Harvey Birdman.

Current refreshment: Coffee

Current worry: The lack of worry. That and the thought that once I revert to normal life I will somehow be unhappy with it. There are a lot of things I didn't have to deal with because I was so busy and now...well...I've got time for life again, whatever that is.

Current thought: Is it lunch time yet?? 

Coordination is the key

I managed to mangle my thumb in the corkscrew last night, gouging a big chunk out of it. Not quite sure how...but, Ow indeed.
Sadly, after all that I only cooked with the wine and couldn't have any since I had to go pick up Dad at the airport.
When I get home today this will definitely be rectified...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yup. It's true...


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thrift store monsters

These artists make me giggle with glee :)

I love the idea - adding monsters to random thrift store paintings.

Erm...Why of course I'm working on my journal article.
What exactly are you implying?
Hey what's that over there?

*whoosh*





Jingle jingle

Tonight is registration for bellydance classes.
Bwaha!
It's been 2 long years since I've had time for classes or lessons, and next week starting mondays is bellydance again. My old instructor is no longer teaching, but a girl that used ot be in classes with me has started up a Tribal Fusion troupe and is offering lessons through a community dance centre that's been made out of an old renovated church. I love LOVE love to bellydance. It's been way too long. I'm going to take up the basic class and ease my way back in.



I can't wait :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The power of words

For a year now I've gotten to see, through an internet blog, how a young couple who remind me so very much of my J and I have been dealing with how he, "Wash", has been dying of brain cancer. His wife Tashi has posted through it all, for venting, for support, to live and show the world what love and death are like. They married young and only had a year together, as she studied forensic science and he studied to be an architect. They were sci fi geeks, with a deep love and curiosity for life...and then a rare form of brain cancer changed Wash's life, and Tashi dropped her life to be with him and care for him. For almost 2 years...a remarkable length of time.
Last night Wash faded in to unconsciousness and went to hospice end care. Soon his light will be gone and his ashes will be collected and placed in a tardis urn, for his next big adventure. I have never met them...but I feel like I have. It is strange, but I mourn with Tashi, and I am glad that Wash is free from the pain now and free from a body that was keeping him prisoner. I hope that life begins anew for Tashi...in whatever form it becomes. I hope she can find a joy again in her life as time passes.

Rest well Wash King.
We will sing for you.
The universe will sing you to your sleep.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Slow sunday

I would like a holiday. A proper one. I'm ready I think.
A good week off of all things.
It isn't until I have a day like today full of nothing at all but a late lazy breakfast followed by random puttering and hot Earl Grey and fresh muffins after doing mundane lazy yard chores that I remember that this *is* in fact what life is supposed to be like. I was going to attack the front deck, but just don't want to.
It's a bit...well...slow from what I"m used to, but I quite like the lack of "go go go go!!"

My Dad's in for a visit before he flies out in the morning to visit family in BC and we're having a family supper out in Warman, but for now it's just muffins and ale.

I am looking forward to reorganizing my basement to clear out Craftoria, so I can have it free and organized to explore all manner of creativity down there on slow days such as this...it's quite exciting. J is trying to work on some audio stuff, but his gear is suddenly not speaking to itself...so he gave up to read a book. I don't blame him. There's only so long you can bang your head on the wall. I can't help one bit, with the gear so I've stuck to providing muffins. Muffins help in circumstances I think...

Speaking of muffins...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Cute Factor 11

OK, so my nephew and his wife have really done well I think.
I mean just look at this guy! One year old already and he's stolen our hearts.


Happy birthday Gabriel :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

maroon or blue? That's the $30 question

Dropped my thesis off at the bindary today. 5 copies printed and (I hope) all in order -only (ha ha) $30  a piece to have them bound. I swapped in the colour pages into the text copies this morning and I think I got it all back together properly. A few diagrams didn't print off right at the university, so I printed them off at home again this morning in a panic... and they are still not ideal, but look better than they did...and honestly? I just really don't care anymore. The proper good copy will be available online at the university as a pdf once my papers are published, so these are just "polite" copies for the college, my supervisors and me. In the end - not absolutely perfect, but good enough, and (most importantly) done. A photo not perfectly printed will not end the world.... Sheesh, I got all worked up again this morning getting it ready for the bindary and got quite stressed and then stopped and shook my head and took a breath - I realized how I don't have to feel this way anymore. I just decided what I had would have to do and that would be the end of it. I choose to be done with this.



Thankfully, I learned that I don't have to have my personal copy bound in the pukey browny maroon colour they require the university copies to be bound in - mine and Dad's will be navy blue. He heh. Nice, and no extra cost. They'll be ready in 10 days, when they can be submitted on time and then (ha ha) put on a shelf somewhere and promptly ignored. Ah academia.

I am finding it tricky to unwind. I find I am getting worked up over tiny details, if only because I feel I should be anxious about something. I think perhaps it's because I haven't worked out for a couple of weeks. I need my de-stressing sweaty endorphins more than I thought. I'll work out when I get home and see if that makes a difference...I must say, I'm looking forward to cooking long meals just for fun, sipping my homemade ale and starting belly dance classes again this fall.

Remind me again what normal people do anyways? :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Das boot

Lovely weekend. Time away at Edmonton to relax with J - just the 2 of us. Time to relax, drink our long saved bottle of elderflower wine (thanks again K & N - it was divine), ride some rollercoasters, pick up a few worky costumes for work and some music. Drove the oh so styly borrowed minivan around. Woo.

I am most squeaky that I picked up a pair of dark purple Doc Martens boots. I saw them in Glasgow this spring on a stopover between trains and didn't get them, and regretted it...and so when I had the chance to see how comfy they are I decided to get them. My graduation present for my feet...and my brain... So. Comfy. The ultimate lab workboot :)

I am quite relaxed now. Not entirely sure what to do with all this time...it's gonna take a while to get used to.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Upload complete

Well despite the great drama going on at my home over the car, I just completed my last requirement to officially graduate. I am registered to graduate, I have signed any and all random required forms and my thesis is electronically submitted to the grad study office.
I have to get a few paper copies bound, but I have a week or so for that...I am quite content that finally all is in and done and I don't have to think about it any more. There is the small matter of getting a few copies bound (for me, Dad, the Program and my co-supervisors) but I have a few weeks to get them printed and in to be bound so I'm not worried. My supervisor is covering the binding costs, so it won't be a big deal...just a matter of getting them in to the place.

Ah. official officially required things are complete.
Wish I could enjoy it more.Not the week of celebration I'd hoped for. If only I could cheer J up about the car. We have a borrowed vehicle to drive while we figure out what to do, but I don't want to figure it out. I was quite happy as we were thank you very much...grrr.
Talk about joykill. Seriously.
Meh.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oh sod it

Good-Just prepped my thesis for electronic submission tonight. It is ready to finally submit as on file for permenant record tomorrow. The last technicality in grad school. :)

Sucktastic -our car, which has smelled slightly of gas lately, requires $2000 of repairs.

Now doing this to a 10 year old car isn't necessarily what I would like, but I don't know if right now it would be best to start another car loan, seeing as we just paid off the van and were hoping to make it into a camper space pod now. The car is only at 120000 Km and we've not had to do much to it, so it's been good to us. It's just a lot to think about. We had some money put aside for repairs, but not this much...it's just a bit too much to just write off.

I feel very selfish in thinking this: All I wanted was one night to enjoy being done school. This kicks the joy right out of it...J is stressed and grumpy and I am just bummed.
Frack.
Thankfully we can borrow a vehicle (purple minivan wooo styley) from J's parents so we have a few weeks to figure out what to do about the car. I just don't know if it's worth it to fix. How do you even decide that? J is really stressed about it and I am as well, but since he's the budget guru he has more info than I, and I admit I know little about cars, so I'm just trying not to ask too many annoying questions and look up info when needed to help. I have the knack of stating the obvious which really doesn't help.
I'd love our car, but I could love another one. Just don't know if $2000 is worth putting into a car or not...or if I'm up for another 2 years of car payments. Grr. I really want to kit out the van a bit.
And enjoy having no stress...just for a day or so.

*sigh* Such is life...

Monday, August 27, 2012

WOOHOOO!

Well, I did it!

I have officially defended my thesis, given my speech and answered all of my questions at my defense. It was a really good experience I must say. The speech was a bit nerve wracking, but it went OK overall and the questions after were tough but fair and really interesting. They were the kind of questions that showed the reviewer was really interested in my work and wanted to really know my opinions on things. I got to really express my ideas and knowledge. I am very proud of how well it went. Having Dad and J at the speech was really fantastic.
My thesis is even being put forward for a distinction award - which is pretty rare for an MSc. I will have to wait until graduation to see if it is selected from the pool of recommended thesises for distinction. That would be truly outstanding...being nominated is enough for me.  I have no idea how/if/when there are overall grades given, but whatever that results are I am extremely happy because my thesis was accepted without external revision. That is a HUGE accomplishment! My supervisor told me it was the first one in the 30 MSc he's supervised that had been accepted that way.

Can I get a woohoo! *grin*

And so I came home after a celebratory lunch with my committee and had a mug of my own IPA brew in my ugly mug to celebrate. It turned out pretty tasty - it's the first bottle from the brew and it turned out alright if I do say so myself. Tonight the family is going out for celebratory chinese and I have the rest of the day off to relax and drink tasty brew from my ugly mug.

The ugly makes it taste better :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Permission to freak out sir

I defend my thesis tomorrow at 10AM.
Gak.
I've read and studied and I don't feel ready because there is so much to know, but I'm going to keep reading and I've finished my talk and it's pretty damn good if I do say so myself. It has a few extra cool figures and diagrams and I do believe it will come in between 15 and 20 minutes, so it's just a matter of not freaking out and forgetting everything.
I have my clothes picked out - professional but comfortable skirt and sweater with my burgundy operetta Fluevog boots for luck.
I just have to make it through a final night of revision. I am in a panic. I met with my TO supervisor after she got in today to go over the 2 papers we are going to write from this project which helped a bit ,but it didn't make me feel any calmer...so tonight I'm going to read my thesis over once more...and try and not eat everything I see out of stress (too late). I have one remaining bottle of rhubarb cider waiting for me to have at supper, but until then, I am going to review until my dad gets here. He's come down for moral support and is going to come to my speech :)

I have some yummy looking smoked pork chops to BBQ up with some tin foil veg for supper for the 2 of us. J works tonight but he hopefully can come to the speech tomorrow too, and afterwards my committee and I are going out for lunch at the faculty club. The speech isn't in a big room, just a small board room, so there won't be more than 10 people there to hear me speak. I almost wish it was in a bigger room so my brother and some of my coworkers could come, but I suppose "just" a MSc isn't that big of a deal to people on a monday at the start of fall classes.

Oh well, *I* know how important it is to *me* - Dad, J and I and my brother and his family are going to go out for chinese to celebrate for supper at a yummy gluten free place and I will be sure to put some of my IPA in the fridge to crack when I get home from the speech and lunch to celebrate. It's been a month in the bottle so it should be ready to drink from my hideous english celebratory beer mug I found this spring...the hideous makes it taste better :)

I just have an image of me panicking and not being able to answer questions intelligently under pressure and just saying the same few words over and over again in a panic, but I am hoping I can keep it together. Deep down I know that I know this stuff, I really do. It's just a matter of not wigging out.

Eep.

If you hear a WOHOO tomorrow at about noon, it's just me :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

RIP Jerry Nelson


I grew up learning to count from his voice...counting fruit and cheerios with my Mum at the breakfast table. Like Mr. Dressup...so sad he's gone on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Take notes

I think I have found a new easy job - property assessment. Come over to a house and measure a few things, take some notes and a few pictures and say "Hm...Yes..." a few times and after 20 minutes get $250. Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Had to get the house assessed for our mortgage renewal. Very curious of it's current value...have no idea. We bought the place at low times and things have really changed since then. We plan on living here forever. Just curious...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ich liebe dich!!

Seriously tho. You all are amazing  :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

hard to focus yet can't focus on anything else


I'm getting damn tired of being to busy to deal with things, but cannot spare the time to deal with anything but this.
Just for 1 more week.

Hear me baby hold together...

In my avoidance of studying...

...this made me laugh until coffee came out of my nose.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

We shall see my little pretties. We shall see.

It's a tricky thing. I'm not so concerned about the basic facts about my thesis and the results. Because my project is a design to improve testing and diagnosis, what interests me and what I want to be able to discuss is the why's and how's of it all. Why is my work needed? How is it applied in this particular way? And most of all - what does it mean, really, in a practical sense when applied to breast cancer diagnosis in the labs. To properly interpret my results I need to be able to explain why and how they are relevant and useful. Yes, how I got them is also important, but there are so many many reasons why and how.

You know...I feel the *itch*. And if I was single and didn't have a great job and chose to do so I could focus on this kind of research all my life. I feel the groove...I get this and I understand it and it is something real and positive I can give to my field. I can help make clinical testing better. THAT is amazing. Really. SOOOO many MSc projects are minute examinations of technical minutia and I am lucky...and there is so much more to do with this. I've just built the foundations. I am glad there are people willing to take it. I *want* them to. A small part of it wants it to be me and I'll be sad to put this all behind me because it's so damn interesting and important to me as a technician and as a big geek and as someone who wants to kick cancer square in it's jewelly bits as much as possible. Yes it tempts me a bit...just a bit to do my PhD.

 But not enough...I simply could not continue to live this way. I remember how I felt writing the thesis and giving up most of myself and my life to this child-thesis-thing I have created. I am lucky to have a partner who supports me through all this, when the work and school seem so much more important than them sometimes... I am lucky enough to have found myself a job where I can still make a difference in different ways. I still can help people with their research...help them solve medical puzzles and support them with all of the skills and abilities I've gathered. Already this week in a meeting I was able to strut my managerial funky stuff and help pull my group together and work towards their eventual new home. I have a good reason to be where I am. I don't need to carry my research torch further...I can pass it on to someone else to do. I can still get to be on the national IHC QA steering committee and be involved in how my work is used on the side as much as I choose to. It will be an odd thing to try and find a balance in my future life between life and work and this, whatever it is. Yes, 2 years of chaos and driven effort have shown me what I'm capable of, but burnt me out. I've lost my sense of normal. I don't know how to be bored.
Thing is - I want my life back (whatever it will become) and I want it now :)

And so I will continue to brush up on things and try and prepare for my defense and for the life to come after it. I am starting feel as though I just might pull this off. And I'll have one hell of an attempt to try and explain myself and show my hard work to someone who will be able to truly understand it...we shall see.

T-10 days...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gulp

While reviewing some main papers this evening, I just realized that one of the persons I reference in my thesis discussion who has done a lot of work in the same area as my MSc...is the same individual who has been arranged to be my external reviewer for my defence.

*gulp*

It explains his interest and I am glad to have someone who will intimately understand my work. On the other hand...I will be reviewed by someone who will intimately understand my work. I have an international expert as my reviewer. This simultaneously thrills and terrifies me.

Heh.

Where's that 14 year old scotch?

Love day and the start of the countdown

Thankfully the nice grad rep in my office is not like the people in the main one - she emailed me saturday morning as soon as she knew to let me know that the external reviewer has agreed to still be my external, so my defense date has now (finally!) officially been set. It will be the 27th as previously hoped for. With only 2 weeks to spare. Eep. It was a HUGE relief to get that news...it made the rest of the weekend a much nicer one. Since it was my anniversary yesterday I particularly appreciated the news...it made the day much better to be able to just relax and spend a whole day together.

It was so nice to spend a whole day with J on sunday. It was our 12th anniversary, and we had such a nice day together. It's been insanely busy for both of us lately. We slept in forever in the sunshiney warm bed with the cats and made blueberry lemon cornmeal pancakes for brunch. The weather was amazing so we headed out for a nice long walk down by the river on the hike paths and brought a blanket and some wine and just sat and relaxed and enjoyed each other's company all afternoon, sipping Gewurztraminer in the sunshine in the woods right down by the river. We actually saw a falcon dive down and catch a fish right in front of us while we were there! How cool is that?

J and I got ourselves spruced up a bit and went out for dinner to a lovely little place that we keep meaning to get to - St. Tropez Bistro. J has done a few cooking segments with the chef there, and has raved about the place. We finally got to have a relaxing meal there. It's been around in Saskatoon for many years, and is the kind of place where it's the chef, his sioux chef and his wife who serve and cook...it is incredible food in a casual but still classy atmosphere. They have a roof top garden where they grow some of the herbs and veg they serve. Really enjoyed it. Everything was delicious, right down to the edible flower garnish on the basil chicken. I loved it and definitely want to go back again... fantastic food and wine and even a delicious creme caramel for dessert. Pleasure piggy heaven :)

Then a long languid walk around in the evening...such a nice way to spend the day. Together. :)

Now begins my two weeks of madness planning for my defence. Thankfully, as a stress tool I've been focusing on building the powerpoint of my speech so it's nearly done. I just have to try and review all the little details about my project and prepare for potential questions and go over the talk a few times to make sure it flows and isn't too long. Now that I have an actual date (finally!) I feel like I can really get started...here we go. I still feel like I shouldn't get excited about it like something else will come along and change it again, but barring nuclear war or death, I think I'm good.

The countdown begins today!! 14 days...

Friday, August 10, 2012

oh, the suspense is killing me

Well, after grad studies office on campus has had my thesis for THREE WEEKS they finally approved my external examiner. Yes - apparently that was the only delay. They had to officially approve him in order for things to proceed and people who were on holidays just passed it on around within the department and no one really wanted to deal with it. My supervisor came back from holidays yesterday and raised holy hell that this hadn't been approved yet as soon as he knew, because neither I nor anyone else (even my grad advisor) could do anything but wait. And really - come on: the guy is an MD and a PhD and is a professor with full tenure at his university working in my field of research and we have arranged for funding to bring him here - so why does it take THREE WEEKS to approve that? Why is it even an issue?). Gads.
And, all of a sudden magically, in one day he is approved with muttered apologies from the office.
Fricking bureaucracy...I wonder if my supervisor was not back just how much longer it would have taken? It's less than 3 weeks from the official date for god's sake.

So, now...NOW...I am waiting on pins and needles all day (and hopefully not all weekend or I'll go mad) to hear if my external is still available and willing to do this and come into town on Aug 27th to be the examiner as he had previously offered to. And if so, then I'm good to go. I hope to go out for dinner this weekend since it's my anniversary and would love to be able to have a toast to this...and definitely do NOT want an overshadowing of it NOT happening...
If it is not...well, I don't even know what to say.

If this is fucked up and my life is rearranged yet again, possibly mucking up all manner of bits of my life in the future and causing another ulcer because some desk pusher was on holidays and couldn't bother to make sure her job as done in her absence? Well, there will be hell to pay. And I will see to it personally. I will light the fire in the pit, dig the tunnel to hades myself and bring the gasoline to get the fire started too. As it stands, regardless of this outcome, after I defend and am confirmed completed I will be sending a letter expressing my opinion on how this whole affair is handled. "It's summer and everyone is away" and the total disregard for graduate students as actual people I have experienced through all this by higher up people is ridiculous. I'm here. It's my life. I've not been away and have had no summer at all because of this whole gong show. It's maddening.

I vow that I, in my future management job, will NEVER treat a person as a number or object, least of all  because I have experienced firsthand how that feels and how much that attitude can screw with someone's life. As an academic institution we exist to serve students. This disconnect is appalling.

Please all of you in the interwebs, cross all of your available appendages and offer alms to whatever deities you follow on my behalf. Please.
I will be whimpering quietly in the corner waiting for news.

LATER: Still nothing. I get to wonder about this all weekend...*sigh*