Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pump it up

It's funny - I don't listen to most modern radio or dance music. Not only because I find it annoying, but mostly because my musical tastes are somewhat odd and obscure. As a result, I find most of the modern dance music that I know I hear in morning workout classes at the gym. To me it's mildly annoying pump out sweat music for boot camp or spin class and just not "normal".
When J and I go out occasionally and hear this stuff played in restaurants or lobbies, I  feel like I should be hefting a barbell or doing lunges or something. It's really wierd...

Sunday, July 29, 2012


OK then. No more avoiding it (well after his he heh). Time to work on my defense talk.
Yesterday I racked my wine into the carboy and bottled my IPA -which if the mouthful I got while siphoning it was any indication it should be quite tasty. I used low sugar for carbonation so it shouldn't be too fizzy...just the way I like it. Yum. The wine is done fermenting too and not too bad either. I sucked up some berries when I racked it despite my best efforts so it will have a few more rackings before it's bottles but at least I can ignore it for a while and let it sit...maybe bottle it closer to my birthday in October. We'll see.
I finally  ran across some thai black sweet rice last weekend when I explored the huge chinese grocery on 20th, so I made up purple rice pudding with it yesterday. Yum. It's like regular yummy rice pudding only it's purple form the rice and the rice keeps it's texture more than some rice does when it's cooked all day, so it is my favourite way to make rice pudding. Rice pudding is one of my favourite things...it is both fantastic and evil to have 3 L of rice pudding in the fridge. I need to get a smaller slow cooker so I don't have to make enough for an army. I plan on nibbling off it for days. Yum.

At any rate, I should work on my talk a bit. J has to work all afternoon so I can get some solid work done. Tonight we shall wander downtown and see the final Batman movie. Been looking forward to that for a while...
Time for learning and pudding :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A trip to freak out city

I've gotta admit it - last night I started working on my defence speech...and it's already starting to freak me out. I have a basic outline and places for info to go, but I only get 20 minutes. 20? How to I introduce something technical and complex, describe my work and all my results in just 20 minutes? That takes planning and a lot of revision. I hate revision.
It's gonna take time. I want it to be good.
I need to just pick away at it like I did my thesis. I know this, but...well...I'm not one for writing speeches word for word. People keep telling me I need to practice my speech over and over again beforehand. Really? I have never done that before without it being a bad thing. I have no issues giving an actual speech...but all the prep is just...well I'm puckering up just thinking about it.
I now have a pretty outline and nice ppt template and am trying to plop the info that is most important in to slides so that I can tweak it and send it to my supervisors to look over...and then fill in the words for each slide.THEN I get to read up on everything related to my project, including my thesis...my thesis is somewhat concept driven so I need to be able to have technical areas covered while sticking to what I feel are the important conclusions.
Because after this speech each reviewer gets to pick my brain for 20 minutes a person...so I need to know my shit so they don't catch me unaware. I tend to blather nonsense when I am unprepared - but am spot on when prepared. It's 2 and a half years of my life in a meeting.  I refuse to blow this.

I am greedy. I want to spend time doing frivolous things this week before getting back to hard work next week. Then I will work hard

Because as I do this, all the while I am moving into a crazy time for my new job. I have not really had much of a holiday this summer and I am feeling it. Up until now it was just a long endless strive to get my thesis done...now this.


I suppose I'd better get to it then huh?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What to do?

This is going to take some getting used to I think.

I feel as though I've had a full weekend and there's still a day left :)
I've done hours and hours of yardwork (and could do more but quite frankly I refuse to do any more until it cools off), cleaned the house, done laundry and still had time to do loads of relaxing things. I got to spend a whole evening with an old friend and catch up and see her new house. After a really good breakfast meeting with my supervisor where I hashed out how to plan my defense speech I spent the rest of the day doing lots of fun and necessary things. Visited my brother for a bit, hit up the farmer's market for some fantastic local veggies, sourdough bread, yogurt and a bottle of locally made rhubarb apple wine (very scrummy...I'm waiting until it's officially noon to have another glass!), and then headed out to pick up some good work clothes. I have a serious lack of professional-yet-casual stuff, but I managed to find a few shirts, pair of pants and some really comfy style Clarks dress shoes were on sale 60% off, so now I have 2 pairs of lab appropriate dress shoes (closed toe closed heel) in brown and black for work (SCORE!!!). I love Clarks shoes...they're well made and fit me really well, so I am really glad to fonally have some decent work shoes. I've needed these for a while now. I hadn't planned on getting any but it was a good find - it really kills your professional vibe to wear trainers with your office attire :)
Last night had some fantastic baked fish with oven roasted balsamic root veggies with fresh basil for supper and hung out with a friend watching Bruce Lee movies and drinking Harp. Was going to go out dancing because a great DJ was in town but I just stayed in instead. Really can't complain about the weekend :)
This AM after sleeping in (despite both cat's incredibly annoying attempts to get me up early) I finished the weed trimming before it got too hot. Now, after a good breakfast and some coffee I'm trying to figure out what to do with my day. J doesn't get back till later tonight so I have all afternoon. There's some things here and there I can pick away at, and then...What to do? What to do? I could start on my defense speech...but I just don't want to...
Decisions Decisions.
Perhaps I'll start with that glass of wine and see where it goes...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So quiet

Just kissed my luv bye as he headed out with some friends to Ness Creek for the weekend. Other friends are off to Motion Notion. I'm chilling here. I have to meet with my supervisor coming in from TO and altho I'd rather be there with them, it will be OK. I"m glad J isn't missing out on things because of me. Plus I have some boring chores to catch up on, and hope to hang out with my friend Heather who I haven't seen since comic con and catch up for a day or so. Add in some sleep and destressing and some science and it should go by pretty quick. It's just so...quiet. And no thesis to work on. And J left tonight instead of tomorrow, so yeah...it's quieter a bit sooner than I thought it would be...

Quiet is good though.
Now that it's no longer a zillion degrees out I can mow the lawn and settle into a nice glass of wine and relax. Given the stress of the last few days, and my going in to a boot camp fitness class early this AM to vent my stress in a positive way I have a feeling I'll sleep like a baby...I'm not starting on my defense presentation until I have an actual date. So...for now it's just me, the cats and some burbling ale and wine.

The bed is all MINE! Muahahahaaa!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh for f*cks sake already

Well then.
They just called me to say one of my other committee members is unavailable at that time so my defense WON'T be on Aug 27 after all.

At least my final thesis is in pdf and submitted to the university as of this morning. THAT is done and over with.
Now just the emotional gong show of thesis defense date settlements.

I am so sick of this.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Defence date officially set: August 27 at 9:30 AM.

This shit's for real.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Blueberry WIne

I'm having a go at blueberry wine. I love blueberries and think blueberry wine would be just delish. I finally started some up today. Bleached and Starsan'd all my stuff and think I should be good to go. I couldn't find a mesh bag to put the fruit in so it will be a bit messy, but it should be OK I think. I'll just have to be careful when I rack it off later and lose a bit when I rack it. Such is life...

My recipe is as follows (for 3 gallons):

8Lb blueberries washed and cleaned and skooshed up.
5 Lb sugar + 10L water (boiled 2 minutes) and pour over the fruit
Stir in:
1 1/2 t pectic enzyme
1 1/2 t yeast nutrient
1 can welches grape juice concentrate (~1.2 cups)
2 t acid blend
3 crushed campden tablets.

Tomorrow ~ 24h later, I'll take the S.G. and then pitch the EC-1118 yeast and let her bubble away until it gets down to racking S.G. and tuck it away into the  carbuoy and let it sit until it clears. I may have to rack it again before bottling in a few months...then I have to pretend it's not there for a while. Tricky. I see now why winemakers make lots of small batches. Often.

I picked up a 1 gallon carboy today...think I'll try out some peach wine or maybe saskatoon berry next weekend as an experiment.  In my head it seems like a lot to do for just 1 gallon, but I need to experiment a bit. I want to try just one gallon (4-5 bottles) and see how it tastes. I'm waiting for my supervisor to give me her final sign off on the thesis tomorrow so instead of fidgeting, I'm trying to keep busy and adjust to having less things to do. Instead of munching on everything in sight (I eat when I'm happy/sad/stressed/mad/glad/anything),  brewing may be my pastime for a while. I still have my defense to work on but it's not manic like before. It's all a bit odd...it will take time to adjust. I haven't defended yet so it's not over, but once my final thesis goes to the external on tuesday it will be quite the   relief...

We don't drink a tonne, so I'm trying to stick to smaller wine batches and by next summer we should have a few options to choose from. My Dad keeps pestering me about banana wine. I made him some as a christmas gift when I was 13 and he still remembers it. I recall very little about the wine Mom helped me make, but I'm going to try and find something and have a go at it. I recall it had lots of bananas and raisins. Once the blueberry is bottled I'll have a go at it. :)

As for now I'm starting some muffins and a getting a batch of India Pale Ale underway. It should be ready to bottle in a few weeks.
Mee hee.
Kitchen science :)

Went to the farmer's market this morning and have some yummy looking heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, baby potatoes for supper. Trying to think of how to yum them up. I may make some Foccatia. We shall see. God I love this free time business.
Nom. nom.

I can haz another holiday??


Friday, July 13, 2012

Let the fermenting begin

It is berry season. Cherries were on sale cheap until today, so I won't use them (waaay too pricey). Instead I'm thinking I will grab 8Lb blueberries tomorrow and either start 3 gallons of wine or freeze them and start wine shortly after I start some IPA tomorrow. Either way. It's time to ferment something.
I only have one fermentation pail.
Decisions decisions...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hooray for tiny hats

We had a great weekend away. I packed as much as I could into a few days...and wish it had been longer
We saw many old friends and caught up on their lives and met many new ones. So much is new...
My friend Paul (an engineer) has designed himself a rollercoaster and returned from his New Zealand project. Terra is in the midst of her large animal vet tech training and loving it. Shane has advanced his glassblowing to new levels with a hotter torch and his life has rebounded form rather hellish to optimistic for the first time in years. Shwag has left automechanics to become a sound engineer. Bungee and Joanne have a new fluffball husky dog. Cheyenne has returned from a 6 month excursion to Columbia with many stories to tell. Joey and Erin have a new baby. Other friends have gotten engaged. I finally met a friend's fiance who is is a lovely and talented geneticist. We even camped beside some guys from Germany (Felix and Neals) who randomly picked the festival off the internet and came to Alberta to have a relaxing funky time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was rather cute and hilarious to see them rabidly and utterly enjoying chopping wood for the first time...we were quite well set up with firewood for the weekend once they were sated. They had a great time as well :)

It was hot HOT and humid during the day, and cool and funkadelic at night. There was great music and wonderful people...and it was far far too short. I do love festivals...combine camping with music and great people and it's just a brilliant combination. Sadly it is the only festival for me this summer, but I feel I've enjoyed it as properly and thoroughly as I could. I dressed up as gaudily as I could...and found a most excellent tiny hat to add to my collection of ridiculous party accouterments.

I must tell you...it's like I've been underwater for so long and got a chance to stick the periscope up and have a look around in the real world again. So much has gone on in the lives of so many people I care about while I've been buried in thesis...it was good to catch up on them just a bit.
We came to realise that with the crew we had we could easily survive an apocalypse and rebuild the world. I have the honour of knowing many great people. :)

And I have a little tiny hat. :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

It's away!

Well :)
My thesis has been signed off on by my supervisor and final revisions (fro now...I'm sure the members will find more) are done and it is in to my advisory committee for a week for review. All printed copies and pdfs are accepted. I can chill for a few days...One step closer to my review which has been confirmed to be  in the last week of august. I think I can start to relax for a day or so after all of this dramarama...not sure how to. I may require copious beer...

Now I'm baking up a few things and packing ready to head out to relax for a few days and monkey dance in the woods for a few days.
See you on the flipside :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

So close...

Well then. Spent all weekend at the lake visiting Dad, mostly editing and proofing the thesis. All bloody weekend. Thankfully the weather was not conducive to fishing so I don't feel too let down, but I worked hard. Barely got outside at all. Not quite enough relaxing but I am proud to say I have a final FINAL proof for my thesis. And it turns out I am very proud of it. My anal retentive supervisor is going over it once more this evening and if all is well (it damn well better be) I can send it to committee tomorrow before I take a few days off and head out to Astral Harvest for a few days of dancing in the woods with great music and old friends. I need to blow off some steam before I explode.
I am trying very hard not to worry and am crossing my fingers that everything is fine so it will be in to the committee and off my hands. I have been burned a LOT as of late, thesis wise, so I can't really relax until my thesis is submitted and in. After that whatever the hell the university does with it and when I defend are in their court. I've done my part. I've been promised a defense in the last week of August and I am expecting it.
Since I'm leaving the damn province on thursday for a few days my supervisor still wanted to do a once over of the thesis before I send it off (grrr... SO picky) I wanted to have tomorrow to make any changes he finds (which I'm sure there will be at least a few) and then send it off. Knock on wood that he will only have minor things and it will be off to my revisors. When I handed over the printed copy today I felt very proud. It  really looks good. It reads well. I went over it line by line with a fine toothed comb. I debated phrasing...I gave it my best efforts. Its probably one of the best things I've done and I really don't feel as though it could be any better than it is...so I am happy. I've seen a draft of my contribution to the greater good is real and in print...all 126 pages of it :)

Now just trying to relax a bit, try and cheer up my man and plan a bit for what to take camping and maybe a movie. I am supposed to be off work this week after all...

Cunning Plans

 Life is wierd ya know. It seems a lot of things have been hitting me hard lately. Been distant from people, including my partner who is dea...