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Well before I had kids, I used to joke that I'd want to take maternity leave when the kids were, say 6-12 months old, or 12-18 months old. They're just much more fun at that age!

I finally got a job, after a long time looking, applying and interviewing for a range of positions. I start on April 11. Sam will be 18 months old on April 16.

(All I'm saying about it publicly is that it's not an academic position.)
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Yesterday, Sam turned three months old! He celebrated by having an ear infection, poor guy!

Even with an ear infection, he is the happiest little guy out there. He loves to kick kick kick, and a couple weeks ago he started interacting with toys! I think he's also deliberately reaching for the toys on the playmat, but I'm not sure. Music seems to make him really happy, but honestly, he's just a happy guy.

Breastfeeding is going well -- he's gained two pounds in the last month -- and I'm working on improving my pump output. We're having a bit of trouble getting him to take breastmilk from a bottle, but I think it's because he's sick.

Sleeping is also good -- he will actually fall asleep on his own if he's swaddled! And sleepy, of course. It doesn't work if he's playful. We had a good nap schedule for a while, but again, that has sort of fallen apart with him being sick.

And now for the milestones -- again from What to Expect the First Year, because I'm tired and don't want to look them up in the AAP guide to the first year:
Milestones )

How I'm doing. )

And of course, the gratuitous adorable picture of Sam!

Looking ahead
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  1. Come down with a cold immediately after turning in your thesis to the committee (two weeks before defense).
  2. Ignore cold, and/or assume it's allergies, as it's not too bad. Take the occasional allergy pill (week before defense).
  3. Do not use Afrin or other nasal spray before flying across country for thesis defense. Do not take ibuprofen because you're pregnant. Tell yourself that you're fine, the cold is improving, etc (four days before defense).
  4. Suddenly get much, much worse, and spend most of afternoon sleeping (three days before defense).
  5. Wake up feeling even worse, including a fever (two days before defense).
  6. Go to health services first thing in the morning, where the doctor confirms that yes, a viral infection went bacterial on you (two days before defense).


I feel better than I did this morning, which isn't hard. I'm kind of glad that I have a bacterial infection, because at least I can take antibiotics which will quickly clear it up. I just hope I can talk in 39 hours, because my throat is killing me now.

I do not recommend this.

Oof!

Apr. 15th, 2009 09:45 pm
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My goodness, there's a lot going on here! Let me sum up:

  1. I finished The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, and really enjoyed it. Well, enjoyed might not be quite the right word. It was pretty depressing (tied with Sweetness in the Belly for most depressing read ever). But very engrossing. Now I need to figure out what books to bring to Ann Arbor!

  2. My defense is a week from today, and yes, I've actually started writing the talk.

  3. I've also started seriously job-hunting. Blah.

  4. On the plus side, I've been able to play with my new camera. Yay!

  5. Doc has been having weird stomach problems -- refusing to eat sometimes, even -- and we tried re-jiggering his meal schedule. Finally, we took the next step recommended by the vet: Pepcid AC. Yes, people medicine. And one dose has already made a huge difference. He wolfed down his dinner and is peppier than he's been all week. Hooray!

  6. Pregnancy rambling )


Now, to watch LOST, whee!
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Things here are mostly okay!


  1. Doc is sick. Boo! Poor Doc. We're taking him to the vet this afternoon. At least he lets us know when he needs to throw up, by standing by the front door.

  2. Work is okay, and I will say no more lest I jinx anything.

  3. Working constantly means that I did not partake in any St. Patrick's Day celebrations yesterday. Woe! But considering that there were lines to get into bars, suddenly my evening of staying home and work work working (and, okay, watching an episode of Gilmore Girls) doesn't seem so bad.

  4. Do any of you have a recipe for a sweet cornbread? We usually make the buttermilk cornbread recipe in The Joy of Cooking, and it's quite tasty, especially when we make it in the cast-iron pan. But a diner near us has cornbread that's sweeter, and it's excellent with some butter. Any suggestions? (Also, theirs seems . . . cakier? Like, ours we just mix quickly with a whisk, and we're done, but I wonder if theirs has more of a cake base, where the sugar and butter are creamed together, etc. Is cornbread ever made this way?)

  5. Maybe I only have four quick things! Huh. Well, I'm sparing you all the gory thesis details, at least.


At least it's a beautiful spring day here!
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The eeee! and I had a lovely and low-key Valentine's Day. We met friends for ice cream, made coq au vin and polenta for dinner (with pound cake and strawberries for dessert), and watched several first-season episodes of 30 Rock. Whee!

I have lots of work to do today, but yesterday was so wonderfully refreshing.

On Friday night we saw Coraline in 3D, which has the dubious distinction of being the only movie I've seen so far this year that passes the Bechdel test. Sigh. Anyway, it was quite good. I particularly loved the way the music added to the atmosphere of it. It's a great movie to watch on a rainy day (the way that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a great movie to watch on a snowy day).

Despite going to a late-ish showing -- 7:30 p.m. -- there were a ton of kids in the theater. And once the movie started, they were all dead silent. I was really impressed by that.

Hope you're all having great weekends!
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Three things are vexing me, so I thought I'd ask the collected wisdom that is all of you!


  1. I need a pair of black boots. I have needed a pair of black boots for quite some time now. These boots seem like they might fit the bill, especially in the calves. But the sizing of Clarks is totally wonky. Do I buy them in a 7 1/2 and an 8, try them on, and return the pair that doesn't fit? That's the whole point of the free shipping both ways, right? It just seems so wasteful, though! Ugh. Maybe I should brave Nordstrom, first.

  2. I am vaguely considering jogging in the mornings, instead of the early evenings, because I often have stuff going on in the evening. There are two drawbacks, though: I am not a morning person, and I am hypoglycemic. I can barely shower in the mornings before having at least orange juice, let alone jog 2-3 miles. However, jogging right after eating is usually unpleasant. Any suggestions for what the pre-jog breakfast sweet spot might be, so that I don't feel like passing out or throwing up?

  3. Uh, for those of you who use supermongo, any advice on string manipulation? I want to put together a filename from many pieces -- can I only concat two strings at a time?
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I'm in Ann Arbor for work right now, and some random bits:
  1. There were two attempted abductions last night in Ann Arbor! Both of jogging women! Note to self: jog in daylight and bring cell phone.

  2. Obama was in town last night! And . . . that's all I got on that.

  3. I love summer evenings in Ann Arbor. They're so warm and mellow.

  4. There was a power outage at campus on Friday night. The Friday night of a three-day weekend. You can imagine how some of the computers reacted to this. Luckily, everything I needed was back up by this afternoon.


In non-Ann Arbor news: my parents are doing well, and I am addicted to Mad Men. Woo!
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Yesterday had all the ingredients of a bad day:

  1. My students had a midterm, which isn't so much bad as nerve-wracking.
  2. Due to the nearby wildfire and the direction of the wind, it was raining ash on me while I waited for the bus on campus.
  3. Said bus was too crowded, and refused to let passengers on, and once I can talk about the Santa Barbara MTD without using the word "cocksuckers" they will get a nasty letter from me.
  4. If I ever finish the goddamn thesis and reward myself with the XSi camera, it looks like I might have to upgrade to Leopard. Boo! Unless they add that in a Tiger update . . . hmmmm.
  5. Our power was out for about four hours last night, due to the fire.


And yet, we had a lovely evening. We made roasted red pepper sauce -- hooray for a grill and a gas stove -- opened a nice bottle of wine, and had a candlelit dinner. There was no pressure to do work, so we then played Scrabble by candlelight and generally had a nice, relaxing evening. (Our power came on a bit before midnight, quickly enough that we didn't lose anything in the fridge. Hooray!)

Last night we saw the smoke in Santa Barbara, but the winds have shifted and it's fairly clear here right now. The eeee! tells me that on campus you can see lots of smoke, and there's ash everywhere. And the fire grew quite a bit last night, due to high winds, so this could be a while.
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Last quarter, when I was teaching intro astronomy, I would occasionally play music before class that had an astronomy theme. My playlist was quite long, as lots of songs have random astronomy and/or sky references.

However, now I'm teaching intro mechanics, and my playlist is much shorter. It consists of:

  • "Accelerate", R.E.M.
  • "The Weight", Aretha Franklin
  • "Steam Heat"
  • "Gravity", Modwheelmood
  • "Fall on Me", R.E.M.
  • "Free Fallin'", Tom Petty


And at least one of those is a stretch. (The eeee! just recommended "Material Girl", which is even more of a stretch than the others listed. "Material Girl" would be awesome for a quantum class, thought.)

Any suggestions? What other songs are there out there that somehow allude to things like rotation, force, power, or energy?
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Oh, things are crazy here.

  1. We live in a (small!) duplex, and there's a laundry area in back that we share with the neighbors. The washer is on our electricity, and the dryer is on the neighbors', which makes sense for both billing purposes and not-blowing-a-fuse purposes. (We cannot run any combination of the microwave, the toaster, and the hair dryer at the same time.)

    However, the apartment next door is currently empty, and the power was turned off the other day.* So for each load, after running the washer we have to unplug it and plug in the dryer. Because I have nothing better to do than laundry in serial.

  2. Work is going okay. It would be better if I could figure out

    1. How to put arrows on top of bolded, italicized letters in Powerpoint
      and
    2. How to put carat hats on j's and k's. (I can get one on the i just fine, using alt-i (î), but I cannot force the j or k to get under the carat -- ˆj and ˆk are the result.)


  3. We've been watching bits of the Euro Cup, and the color commentator on today's Italy-Spain game was cracking me up. He was so emotional and over-the-top.

  4. I'm reading One Good Turn, by Kate Atkinson right now, and enjoying it. A while ago I'd tried to read Behind the Scenes at the Museum and couldn't get into it. Anyway, I'm enjoying watching all the storylines diverge and converge again, and I am absolutely fascinated by Gloria's storyline.

  5. It's finally cooling down here! It was 86 F this morning, but it's down to 83 F, and you can feel a coolish breeze that's trying to get through! We watched yesterday's Solstice parade from a friend's office along the route, which meant that we were in the air conditioning. That somehow made the heat feel even more brutal when we went back outside, and we ended up skipping the post-parade party in the park.



Okay, back to work! I'm trying to tell myself that I'm too busy to notice how busy I am. Or something like that.

* Luckily I was home, because I don't know if the meters are crossed or the guy was an idiot, but our power was originally turned off. Argh!
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Poor Doc -- just as the Stanley Cup Finals ended (with the Penguins' loss, sniff), the NBA finals have started. Eli is a huge Laker fan, and his yelling at the TV causes Doc to either a.) hide in the back room or b.) climb all over me. Sigh.

In other news:

  1. I'm tearing through Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides. I had no idea it was set in Detroit, but it really captures the feel of Detroit over much of the 20th century. I always love it when a city is practically a character in a book. I'm still enjoying the Sandman volumes I've been reading, but for whatever reason I've been craving literary fiction lately. I blame the thesis!

  2. I started using Google Reader, finally. I'm hoping it will do for my net-surfing habits what a DVR did for my TV-watching habits -- cut down the random browsing, since there's always something waiting for me. On the other hand, it's easier to ignore websites I'm not visiting than it is to ignore the feeds in the Reader. So we'll see. I do make judicious use of the "mark all as read" button.

  3. What do you all you lovely bloggy people use to stalk track your pageviews? Eli is vaguely curious.

  4. I'm almost done with my second quarter of teaching!

  5. Earlier today I had some peanut butter and crackers, and then noticed my stomach was unhappy. The peanut butter had expired in March. Don't try this at home!
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I've been really busy here, especially because I took some time off when my brother was here, so now I'm working like crazy to catch up.

On the under side, I'm not overly impressed with either Edwards's endorsement of Obama or NARAL's. Sure, come out and endorse the guy right when he almost has the nomination locked up! How very bold of you. But the eeee! pointed out that they may have been asked to announce their endorsements today, to get the WV primary off the news cycle. Hmmmm.

On the over side, I'm jogging again (yes, again), but this time I'm doing it right! I'm following the Couch to 5K plan, and although it's early, it already feels more effective than the random jogging I did before. So yay for that! Except for the part about squeezing in time between teaching and thesis-writing and aaaaaaah.

On both sides, I'm reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, which is good. But long. And slightly dry and repetitive. It's good, though, and it's filling in a gap in my anthro/history background. (But it makes me want to play Civ! Okay, must step away from the computer now.)

I should do more work tonight, but I'm tired, and I just want to have a beer and watch Top Chef and read The Hobbitt (which I'm also reading now, for the first time) and go to bed.

Awesome!

May. 5th, 2008 12:14 pm
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There are several awesome things floating around that I need to share:

  1. My brother got into a maritime archaeology program in Denmark, and will be spending two years in Denmark! Yay! That is so exciting, and the eeee! and I are already planning a trip to Denmark and Norway.

  2. I was pointed to a Pirate Dictionary recently. It has all sorts of real navigation terms, and . . . actually, it's a bit short on things like pirate insults. But the fact that it exists is pretty awesome.

  3. Someone on a recent Left Behind Friday post pointed to an excerpt from Kingdom Come, one of the later Left Behind books. The writing is so, so bad, that it must be seen to be believed:
    "When you see My throne, join those on My right, your left."

    The words of Jesus were more than impressed on Rayford's heart.

    [...]


    Rayford deduced that the sun was brighter without being hotter, because Tsion Ben-Judah taught that its light was somehow enhanced by the ever-present glory of Jesus. A simple contraption out in the open allowed Rayford to concentrate the light through a magnifier and heat vegetables he and Irene and Raymie had gathered for a special feast. Irene had made butter from milk she had collected from a cow, so when everyone had assembled, they were met with steaming piles of fresh produce, drenched in butter.

    [...]

    And strange about Cameron and Chloe's relationship was that they still loved each other, but not romantically. Their entire hearts' desires were on the person of Jesus and worshiping Him for eternity. In the Millennium, they would live and labor together with Kenny and raise him, but as there would be no marrying or giving in marriage, their relationship would be wholly platonic.

    "It's bizarre," Chloe told Cameron. "I still love and admire and respect you and want to be near you, but it's as if I've been prescribed some medicine that has cured me of any other distracting feelings."

    I'm not saying that I'm any sort of expert on post-millenial dispensationalism, but none of that makes any sense.

  4. Speaking of making no sense, Mark Trail clearly takes place on another planet. The Comics Curmudgeon has barely mentioned the current plot, so here goes: a little girl wins an essay contest about responsible pet ownership. As a prize, she wins a puppy, because clearly the first rule of pet ownership is "pets make great surprise gifts for people!" The puppy cures her of the depression she's suffered since her deadbeat dad left the family. But then she dumps the puppy outside and he vanishes. So now let me enumerate the stupid things that have happened since then:

    1. Mark Trail offers to replace the puppy, because she is a responsible young woman and pets are interchangeable.
    2. Mark Trail also assumes the dog was snatched, rather than it simply ran away and/or was hit by a car.
    3. A van was spotted, and apparently this is suspicious.
    4. Mark Trail is going to bait the thieves with his own dog.

    WTF?

  5. There was a one-day conference here for local people on Friday, to see the range of research in the department. Eight-minute talks all around! Mine was originally twelve minutes, and I thought I had pared it down, but apparently not well enough. Hence, when I got the two-minute warning during my talk (and was definitely not 3/4 of the way through my material) I let out an "Oh my gosh!" mid-sentence. This got me the award for "Best Reaction to the Two-Minute Warning." Yay?


I hope you all have fantastic weeks! My workload is not insane this week, and my brother will be here this weekend. Hooray!
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  1. I got an email today from the Body Shop with a free shipping code with a purchase of $29 or more. Great! I need more face wash, and . . . the code expires on February 29. Of 2008. Well done, Body Shop.

  2. This Mark Trail strip really pisses me off. Now, I only read it ironically, so I'm not entirely clear on this, but I thought that part of the goal of the strip was to teach the kiddies to respect animals and nature. Maybe I'm being bizarrely touchy about this, but pets are not interchangeable. Excuse me, I have to go hug Doc now.

  3. I'm giving a short talk on Friday, which is good because it's forcing me to put together stuff that's going into the short paper (Chapter 3 of the thesis!) that I'm writing right now.

  4. I have to submit the talk by 1 p.m. Thursday. This is sort of annoying, yes. But my students have an exam on Friday morning, meaning that my Thursday afternoon is free, free, free!* I'm going to get a pedicure, and we might finally make it down to First Thursday, which we always forget about until about the second week of the month.

  5. I've started using Twitter. I'm still not sure what to make of it, but there it is.


I hope the rest of my week makes a little more sense.

* It also meant that my week was very top-heavy -- I spent the weekend and yesterday writing lectures and a midterm and working on the talk and aaaaaah.
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I arrived in Ann Arbor this morning, and I've had a good start so far! At the coffee shop, I got two punches on my punch card -- I'm not sure if it's because I was cheerful, or because the barista took pity on me after I said that I was straight off the red-eye. The weather is sunny and in the 30's F (0's C), which happens to be weather I like. I'm happy to see people! People are happy to see me!

(Also, people keep asking if I was in town to see Michigan win the CCHA championship game on Saturday night. I love that I have a reputation as some kind of crazy hockey fan. Especially because I did consider it, but figured that it would be jinxing it. As it is, I'm glad I'll be able to watch this weekend's regionals with other people who care!)

Oh, and there's the whole getting work done, but even that is going well. I had a good meeting with my adviser, and things feel much more manageable than they did a week ago.

It's good to be back in Ann Arbor. I like to think that when I feel a connection to a place, it's because of the people there, and not the place itself. But walking across town this evening, I realized that I love Ann Arbor more than any other place I've lived.
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We had an excellent weekend! Some Peace Corps friends of the eeee! were in town, and meeting them was lots of fun. Luckily the weather was nice, so that the ten adults and five tykes could spread out outside -- we have a pretty small place.

We made lots of tasty food, and much of it involved fried potatoes. There was chipsi mayai, which is basically an omelet with french fries in it. And then, somehow, we let J convince us to make samosas. We found a recipe for the filling in one of our Madhur Jaffrey cookbooks, and used wonton wrappers for the wrappers. The filling was pretty easy to make, and I wasn't involved in the folding or the frying, but wontons are awesome. They harden up as soon as they hit the oil, so they're pretty forgiving of bad samosa-folding technique. Not the most authentic samosas ever, but they were awesome. And now I'm not afraid to make anything that involves deep-frying a wonton.

(On a vaguely related note, The Sartorialist is in India, and some of the portraits so far are really interesting.)

It's a good thing I got my fried potato fix this weekend, as I am spending tonight proctoring my students' final exam. Blah. And while the eeee! got me lots of Harp at the grocery store this weekend, I will really only be able to have one tonight, as I have to be in early tomorrow morning to administer a make-up exam for one of my students.

Busy!

Mar. 11th, 2008 10:24 pm
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Things here are delightfully busy. We spent the weekend in L.A., and got to see lots of people -- the eeee!'s parents, friends of ours from grad school, and a good friend of mine from high school who was in a local production of The Mikado. We also got in some crucial shopping at H&M and the Wine House. Yay for inexpensive wine and inexpensive cute clothing! The sunset on the way home was also gorgeous -- we saw it from Eagle Rock (on the 134)*, and it was great, over the city and the ocean and the lights of the city. I definitely see why people love it here.

Then, last night, a high school friend of the eeee!'s was in town, and stayed with us, so we've finally broken in our guest room here. And to follow that up, some Peace Corps friends of the eeee! are coming up this weekend for a mini-reunion.

Anyway, yay for seeing all sorts of people! The slight problem, of course, is that none of these people live in Santa Barbara. But we're working on it.

In other news, the final exam for my class came very close to being a giant clusterfuck. But it was not, so I could take deep breaths and think about mass functions for a bit. And one week from today, I should have the grades** turned in and be DONE with my first quarter of teaching a big class. Yay!


*I say that like I know where it is. I don't. All I know is it's somewhere between Pasadena and Santa Barbara, but more on the Pasadena side of things. For some reason I can't wrap my head around the L.A. geography.

**Provided I figure out how to work in different curves from exams.
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So I think my movie quotes were guessed quicker than anyone else's! (Except there's still another movie with the quote from #10!) I'm sure none of you will be surprised to learn that I've only seen five of the movies nominated for Oscars in any category.

I'll mostly be watching for Jon Stewart tonight.

Meanwhile, I've started reading Bellwether, by Connie Willis, which I'm not crazy about yet. I seem to only like her longer novels, like To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book. I hated Lincoln's Dreams. I'm finding Bellwether to be kind of preachy and hand-wringy, and I'm not sure why. Maybe once the plot kicks in I'll enjoy it more.

And in other news, I'm not sure I'm ever writing a midterm from scratch again. I like having more control over the questions. Also, if they're not from a test bank, then students can keep the midterm and use it to study for the final, and they don't have to come to my office hours to see which questions they got wrong. But holy hell, writing the midterm took forever. Maybe, maybe it will save me time in the long run, if they don't have to swing by my office to see which questions they got wrong. Hmmmm.
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I was talking about the difference between mass and weight today in class, and talked about inertia. To demonstrate, I played this video of John Young (of Apollo 16) falling over on the moon.

It was awesome. It went over pretty well with the students. And as a bonus, this video (as all the lunar walk videos on YouTube) has a long comment thread arguing about whether the moon landings were faked. Clearly the astronaut is held up by a string! Ha!

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