Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Knitting for Baby

All of the knitting I have done in the past 3 months has not been posted on here because it was all gifts for Baby Katherine -- the Southern Yankee Baby that is due in just 5 short weeks!!

Now that the "Surprise by Mail Baby Shower" went off without a hitch (check out Southern Yankee's blog for pictures), I can tell you what I knit for the little one!

These two projects were my most ambitious knits ever. I know -- not very exciting, but I still consider myself a "new knitter". A mini-diaper bag and a baby blanket are big deals for this scarf-maker!

Both projects are from the original Stitch 'N Bitch book. And both projects were knit with Bernat Satin -- an acrylic yarn that has a slight shine to it! I loved the vibrant colors -- Banana for the bag and Star Dust for the blanket. The patterns for these both called for wool but I used acrylic so that the baby stuff could be washed (and what baby needs a wool blanket in Georgia?).

The first project was the "Zeeby's Bag". Basically a small bag with a little pocket inside.

It was my first attempt at putting pieces together, so it wasn't perfect, but I think it is still functional!

I also knit the famous Big Bad Baby Blanket! I LOVE IT!

Seed stitch border with alternating stockinette stitch blocks. Brilliant!

I am trying to figure out how to make a big version for everyone I know!

I hope that Baby Katherine enjoys the gifts! Just a few more weeks left!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Birthday Weekend

So, I have been lacking in my posts lately, but I have been writing them all in my head.

I guess it's just the lack of high speed internet connection at home that leads to limited blog posting! While at work, I often try to just ... I don't know ... do work. Crazy, I know.

But I realize I have yet to post some photos from my AWESOME birthday weekend! My mom, dad, little bro and his gf came from the Snowy City to the Little Town!

The day they arrived we all traveled to (inhale breath sharply) New Jersey to watch a hockey game. Despite being decked out in Sabres gear (except Ry), our team did not win, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves! And Ry took lots of great photos.

On Superbowl Sunday I took all of my visiting family members to Dr. D's for a great football party! I know I had fun and I hope everyone else did too!!

Ry & I are already looking forward to our May trip home to visit with the family after our Chi-town wedding event!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I know, I know. It is a "hallmark holiday" and blah blah blah.
(By the way, Hallmark employs 18,000 people PLUS all of the people at the 43,000 retail stores -- so shouldn't we support them?)

But I like getting flowers and presents and extra lovin'!
And you're a darn liar if you say you don't!
And yes, technically, this is only the 2nd year I had a real live valentine. So I hear all of you single people saying that valentine's day sucks.
But when you find "the one" and he brings you a dozen roses (with eucalyptus even!) and wonderfully cheesey valentine's gifts -- you'll agree with me about the fun of this silly day.
And when else would I get to wear awesome conversation heart socks and a pink sweater?
(Even if no one braved the weather to come to work to see my festive outfit!)

I know you've been waiting for it!

After a bit of a lag ...

New photos posted on Project 365!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Save NPR & PBS!

Hey friends!

In another (not-so-surprising) move against science and progress, President Bush just proposed drastic cuts to NPR and PBS.

We've stopped similar cuts in the past, but enough is enough: With the new Congress, we can make sure this never happens again.We need Congress to save NPR and PBS once and for all.

Can you help out by signing this petition to Congress?


Thursday, February 08, 2007

See ya later bathroom buddy!

Dating some you work (yes, I am referring to being a PhD student as work, because it really is analogous) with can often be awkward. Everyone finds out you are a couple, regardless of how hard you try to hide it. People assume you know where your partner is at all times of the day ("Umm .. did you check the men's room?"). And higher-ups often think you will be severely affected by current status of the other's work, even though your work is completely unrelated and you really are only affected in that you may have to drive home from the bar tonight, because he had the worse day and it is his turn to drink.

Dating at work is often made more awkward if your current significant other previously dated someone else whose office happens to be just 3 doors down. Awk-ward!

You see, long long ago, before Ry met and fell madly in love with me, he had a boyish phase where he dated a (much) older co-worker who may or may not have had her own offspring already and with whom he shared very little in common. Obviously, doomed from the start. He broke it off with her after a few months and she did not take it well. And she managed to swing some of the other co-workers on to her side with ridiculous stories of Ry's insensitivity (which, as many of you know, is just plain ridiculous).

Then I showed up, it was a sunny day and Ry couldn't resist how bold, witty, and sexy I was. So, after a few months, we began to date and now have a very strong relationship.

But the EX is still here. Apparently she has been here for almost a decade now.

And while she has no reason to dislike me, it is obvious that she and her comrades openly pretend I don't exist. Which is fine. I have no desire to befriend any of them

But I just wish there were more bathrooms in our department.

There are probably about 2o women in the two wings I spend time in -- and we all share 2 stalls. Yes, 2 stalls.

And it seems to happen, more often than with anyone else -- the EX and I always have to pee at the same time.

How is this possible?

Then there is this awkwardness where we're both trying to use the bathroom and get out, but there is just silence. And I know we're both think that we shared the same man.

I really do not feel threatened by her, as I obviously won without ever competing. And I don't ever think about her.

Except when we share the bathroom.

But here is the greatest news I have heard in a while -- the EX is finally leaving!

She got a job, away from here and is FINALLY leaving!!

Now I can pee in peace!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tears of academia

It's only 10am on a Wednesday and I have already had two girls crying in my office.

I'm TAing for a lab that is based on animal behavior. I was very excited to get this teaching assignment -- animal behavior is my specialty and what I really want to focus on when I myself become a professor some day. I just love sitting and watching animals and trying to figure out what motivates them or what influences them and (perhaps most importantly) how to design elegant experiments that really give us data that we can use to better understand why animals behave the way that they do. I am a dork and I really enjoy this. A lot. Which is perhaps why I am trying to make it my career.

But this course that I am TAing isn't exactly all about the animals. It's more of an intensive writing class on how to write up a lab report and we just happen to use animals as a way of generating data. But -- and this is the problem -- we don't actually teach the students how to write a lab report.

Does any of this make sense to you?

It doesn't really to me. I am all about learning from mistakes. But I am also partial to actually teaching skills that are necessary to do well in the course.

The professor who runs this lab (aka my advisor) basically gives a 20 minute overview of the animal subjects and basic methodology of the lab at hand. And that's it. Then the students need to generate their own hypotheses and somehow magically write a perfect lab report that would be suitable for publication (with increased sample size, of course).

So, needless to say, the first round of lab reports did not go so well. Many Ds. A few Cs. One B+. And 2 Fs. It was difficult for me to read them and it was difficult for the students to get the reports back.

But, here's another kicker, they had to hand in their second report BEFORE they got the first one back. Which means they made all of the same mistakes again. And I have to mark them wrong for all of those mistakes again.

It just seems silly to me to have them write two bad lab reports in a row. My advisor thinks it is fine because they have the chance to re-write these first two assignments, making corrections and improving their grades. But that just means double the work for them -- AND ME! Perhaps triple the work for me.

If we had spent the first class explaining how to write a lab report, then maybe I wouldn't be handing out tissues in my office all morning. Of course, I could place the blame on the students for not even bothering to try and figure out the correct way to write a scientific paper and just handing me in bullshit work that they think deserves an A. But I like to think that it is my responsibility to actually teach them something. I mean, that's why I get paid the big bucks.

But, I don't run the course. And my advisor has been teaching for longer than I have been alive, so he thinks he knows what he's doing.

So now I am off to grade more reports and hope that none of the students in my afternoon meetings start crying ....

(I should note that I am not a completely heartless bitch. I also have been known to cry about school work. I cry when things don't go as I had expected they would. Or (and you can ask Ry for confirmation) I also cry for really no good reason after very stressful situations (like big presentations or the Qs). BUT, I do NOT cry at school or in front of professors. I try to keep my tears hidden. These people have an influence on my future and I do not want my letters of reference to say "She did well when she wasn't crying".)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Happiest Birthday!

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes!! And for all of the cards and gifts and fun and laughs!!

I had a fabulous weekend with my family and friends! It was the perfect way to celebrate in my 26th birthday!!

Stay tuned for some photos ....

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I suppose all good things must come to an end!
Just announced -- Harry Potter #7 is out on July 21st, 2007.
Which means I will be unavailable July 21st and 22nd for anything, unless you want to sit near me while I read!