Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

A year older

So today I turned the big 3-0.  I woke this morning with more melancholy than cheer.

It might have been that I am overcoming the after effects of a friend hangover after spending four great days with friends in San Antonio and their teeny baby.

It might have been that it had been a week since I got to see the baby that holds such a big chunk of my heart these days.  (This was luckily corrected with a lunch date.)

It might be that I am feeling guilty for having boarded the cats for the first time over the long weekend.  After the great Quincy debacle of our last vacation, we didn’t want to leave them with a cat sitter and risk another random escape.  After five days at the kitty inn (cats only, no dogs allowed), however, Muffin has lost a ton of weight.  She’s all bones right now.  She’s eating and seems to already be filling back out, but I feel bad about the stress it caused her.

It might be that my birthday is on a Wednesday and, really, who wants their birthday to be on a Wednesday?


If I look at things with even just a smidgen bit of perspective, I am pleased with where I am at thirty.  I am living a much happier, more fulfilling life that I might have predicted.  I never expected that I would actually get to go to college, especially a college like Reed.  I always knew I had the grades to get into college, but I was never convinced that the finances would be there to make it actually happen.  The same goes for graduate school.  I can still remember how elated I was to find out that you do not have to pay (and in fact get paid) to go to graduate school in the sciences.

Growing up I didn’t think I would ever get married.  I never expected to find someone that would love me and the family that comes along with me, idiosyncrasies and all.

What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that I am thankful for all of the unexpected delights, big and small, the last thirty years have brought with them.  Happy birthday to me.


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I am a book lover and a library lover. My step-mother is a librarian and I worked at a public library when I was in high school. My mother-in-law and her friends worked diligently for the past few months on a ballot iniative to fund the Jackson County Libraries. All of the libraries in the county were forced to shut down last month when a levy last November failed. A new levy to reopen the libraries was pretty firmed voted down tonight.

It is sad to me that not everyone sees the value of the public library. As a poor kid growing up, my family never could have afforded the number of books needed to keep up with my voracious reading habit. I didn’t have a computer up through high school (actually I didn’t get a computer until graduate school) so I relied on the school and library computers to get my papers written. What will this mean for the people of Jackson that rely on the books and other services that the libary provides? What does this say about how society values education? Losing valuable community resources like public libraries will continue to drive a wedge between the haves and have-nots.  I worry about those bright kids in Jackson county.

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I’m not sure I ever got around to posting about Project Spectrum related projects during the last set of colors (although I finished my blue Samus cardigan specifically because of project spectrum and then neglected to blog about it. Look for it in an upcoming post). As I was working on this baby cardigan the other day, however, I realized it is the perfect undertaking for the current project spectrum colors, pink, yellow, and green.

In case one doesn’t recognize it, it is the Cecilia cardigan from Knitty. I’ve googled around and I haven’t found a single person that has knit it true to the pattern. That’s unfortunate as it is quite a fun knit. It’s smartly designed (at least for me) in the fact that there is pretty much no seaming. I’ll pick up stitches and/or kitchener any day if it means I don’t have to seam. Plus, it has the added bonus of putting the Simon and Garfunkel song in my head every time I work on. I hadn’t really been exposed to Simon and Garfunkel music before my sophomore year of college. Once I heard the song Cecilia I was hooked.

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Despite being a very rational person, I am also someone that is easily frightened. I have been known to scream if someone startles me by, let’s say, coming into my cubicle to ask me a question and I don’t see them coming.

When I was a kid, one of the only books that my mom liked to read us was “Where the Wild Things Are,” which I can now appreciate is a terrific book. When she read us the book, however, she would use a scary voice. As a child, I remember being really torn between wanting my mom to read to me and fear of the scary voice she would use when she read the book. She would also do things like, if the power was out and we were all laying in bed, waiting for it to come back on, she would switch her voice to a witch’s cackling, sneering voice. When we would ask for our mother, she would say, “I’m not your mother. I’m a witch.” While I knew, even as a child, that she wasn’t really a witch, it was still scary.

I’ve never liked scary movies. When I was in elementary school, my dad took me to see “Young Sherlock Holmes” as I used to watch the Sherlock Holmes series on PBS and loved it. That movie gave me horrible nightmares for years. At slumber parties, I always tried to fall asleep beforeFreddyKreuger made an appearance in whatever movie they thought it would be fun to watch. I still don’t like to watch scary movies, but I am old enough now that it is not really cool to sit there through the whole thing with your eyes covered and your ears plugged. Lately, I’ve perfected the approach where I do math in my head (this works well if you are likely to cry in public) to tune out the sound in the movie and make it look as if I am watching the screen when really my eyes are focused beyond it. I used to sit quietly with my eyes delicately closed, but both my mom and Evan have caught on to this trick so I have to do the off-focus thing.

I also have a tendency to get the heebie-jeebies about things that wouldn’t concern most people. In graduate school, I found this cool cd player/alarm clock on super clearance. After owning it awhile, I noticed that it would periodically make sort of a scratchy or humming noise for no reason. I was complaining about this one day to Evan, who said to me that he had noticed this as well, but what was weirder about it was the fact that one day, when the POWER WAS OUT, the alarm clock turned itself on and started playing music. I know it was probably due to some charged capacitors, or some such thing, but that was the end of things between me and the super clearance alarm clock. Now it lives in the guest room, where it can haunt our guests.

Anyway, this weekend Evan and I were at the pet store and bought this glove to use to entertain our cats. We often play this blanket monster game, where we wiggle our hands underneath a sheet or blanket and the cats try and catch us. Unfortunately for the human participant, the cats are generally faster than us, so we end up with a lotofinadvertant scratches. We thought that this would be perfect for the game.


It looked innocuous enough in the store, but when Evan was playing with the glove and the cats on the floor last night, I looked down and realized that it looked just like an monster/Freddy Kreuger hand…like a glove an evil clown would wear to hide his long razor fingers. I told him such, and he (ever the one to try and break me of my ridiculous fears) started making scary faces at me and peaking the glove around the corner, just like Freddy. I tried to make him put it away in another room, ala haunted alarm clock, but we compromised and he shut it in a drawer in the bedroom last night.

I feel like a lame-o sometimes as, during the day, I am paid to be a rational scientist. Some things, however, still hit that frightened kid spot leftover from my childhood. It’s not like Evan is always brave, either. He screams like a little girl when surprised by a giant, rubber black widow spider. It would make sense if he only did it once, but between me and the members of my lab in graduate school, we probably scared Evan like fifty times with the same rubber spider and everytime he screamed like a little girl.

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