Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the season

It's the time of year when I have to check to make sure I don't have pointy ears. I feel like an elf. Mom and I have been through her closet full of stuff she's forgotten about and divied it up for everyone. She has me wrap all the presents and send me out shopping for everything she thinks people want. I realized that my wrapping skills have gone to pot. It used to be important to use a variety of wrapping paper and bows. Every present was meticulously wrapped with no raw edges showing. This year...not so much. Not sure what happened, but I used one roll till it was gone and there aren't many bows. Maybe I'll tidy up the packages when right before they go under the tree. On the bright side, I haven't lost the tape or the scissors! Practically a miracle!

You'd think last year I would have learned my lesson about Christmas knitting. Alas, here I am, frantically trying to finish truly last minute knitted gifts! Take that Ms. Hoverson! Maybe I'll write my own book! (Doubt it) Better get back to knitting.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So many exciting things!

I'm excited about a lot of things today! We're having a Christmas lunch for our lab group. Being in a lab full of nutrition types pays of at dinner parties. I made Aiken's cold corn and goat cheese salad. There should be a slew of really delicious foods and most will be nutritious so there's no guilt in pigging out! Another thing to be excited about, I discovered techknitting! This knitter has her act together. I was looking for instructions to line a hat with fleece and found so much more. Probably the very best thing is that she has instructions for lengthening sweaters, sleeves, etc. I knit that little red sweater this summer and it's so short I can't wear it. Annie suggested getting my belly button pierced and just wearing the sweater anyway. Um...maybe not! With the help of TechKnitting the sweater can be fixed! Talk about exciting!

Time to kick into high gear as far as Christmas presents go. I've been slacking in that department. I have a few things, but that's not really enough now is it? At least I have ideas for everyone. That's a start.

Purdue maintenance crew busted out the snow polishers. We're fortunate here because rather than salt the side walks when it snows, Purdue takes a little tracker with a giant metal brush and polishes the snow on the sidewalks into miles of a nice slick liability. Seriously, it's horrible! I nearly fell twice on my way from the garage to my building. Why don't they get a zamboni and properly ice the walk ways? It'd be faster to skate across campus anyway. Sometimes I wonder how such a big university with so many logical people can make such a stupid decision to use the snow polishers year after year after year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Facebook amazes me...

Is anyone else amazed that people who you've barely met can find you on Facebook so fast? Granted, I have a fairly unusual first name, but still last night I was introduced to someone and that person friended me 2 hours later. I'm not creeped out, just amazed that people can friend you so fast. I don't even think to friend people unless I really know them. I bet I'm not friends on Facebook with half my real life friends. What do you do to all the people who friend you, but you're not really friends? People from high school who you never ate lunch with or even had class with? I feel like a big jerk if I don't accept people as friends, but then they just sit there in Facebook and I never read their wall or write them little notes. Maybe I'm just not up to speed on my web-based social networking skills.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting buff...

A few girls in my lab group had the brilliant idea for us all to run a marathon. I don't really enjoy running. It always seems like a good idea and I get all motivated and go for a run and then remember very quickly that I don't enjoy it at all. Problem is, everyone is on board for this lab group marathon team. Fortunately, most of us decided to just to a half marathon. Our professor is going to walk a 5-k and one girl will run the who marathon. I'm just smart enough to know my competitive side is going to take a blow if I don't actually train, so alas...here I am starting to train for a 13 mile race that's going to make me hurt for days and days. Actually, it's probably going to make me hurt for the next several months. 5K races are always fun. Especially when Martin runs them with me. So, last Saturday we ran the YMCA Sleigh Run. Turned out to be a great race! What's better than 200 people with bells on their shoes running in the snow? The best part is that the volunteers misdirected us and cut 1/4 mile off the course! Makes it look like I ran a 5k in less than 30 minutes, but actually I ran 2.7 miles in less than 30 minutes. I'm going to the gym a couple times a week now. Last night I "ran" on the eliptical machine and lifted weights. Definately a humbling experience. Hopefully Baxter and I can start going on runs in the mornings before I come to school a few days a week. Might have to get him some boots to protect his little paws from the cold snow and ice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Aunt Anna May to the rescue!

A while back I saw a pattern for a hat that was lace on top and solid underneath. It was called Peek a Boo Hat or something like that. Ravelry totally let me down. I searched through hundreds of hat patterns and never found what I was looking for. Doesn't anyone other than me think it's a brilliant idea!?!?! Well, Nike does and so does SmartWool! But not the rest of the knitting world. I was looking for something in my room tonight and found a book Anna May let me borrow. I feel bad that I've kept it so long! Guess where I saw that pattern? Yup...it's in her book! The book is Lace Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd and it's even Interweave Press. The pattern is Peek-A-Boo Cloche. I can't believe the pattern didn't come up on Ravelry. I can't believe no one else is knitting this hat! Especially since there are similar commercially made hats by expensive brands like Nike and SmartWool! Come on people! Jump on the band wagon! Mine is going to be black on the outside and gold on the inside. Boiler up! I want to have a little school spirit next time I end up at a Purdue basketball game.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I've got Thanksgivingitis. I dont' know what grad students have to be at school today. It's kind of stupid. No one else is here and brain is pretty checked out.

There is a chance that knitting productivity is directly proportional to my stress levels. So, convenienly I'm knitting like crazy! I finally finished My So Called Scarf. I finished one sleeve for my Gathered Pulloever Sweater, but then I ran out of yarn. I know I have more, but a big chunk of my stash has disappeared. I probably tried to put it some place safe, but now it's just out of sight. I'd be better off just having a huge pile of wool in the corner of my room to scramble through every time I needed something. Whoever inspired me to organize my stash was an idiot! I've never done any serious cable work, so I took on the challenge of the Estes Vest. The challenge isn't the cabling, it's reading the stinkin' pattern! It's just not real clear and the charts are whacko. From what I hear the i-cord edging is a pain. I'm not looking forward to that. Maybe I'll get to wear it before summer hits. There are some other works in progress, but since they are for other people I'll keep them secret for now. Let's clarify that I am NOT committing to any Christmas knitting!

Last night was knitting night at Barnes and Nobles. We had a nice group. There was a new lady who kept talking about her "Arian" knitting pattern. Cracked me up! What do you do in a situation like that? I wanted to correct her and tell her that I was pretty sure it was "Aran" not "Arian" and that peole might get the wrong idea. Then again she really got on my nerves, so I ended up letting her continue to call it "Arian" and snickered to myself a little more each time.

With all my projects I've run out of stitch markers and today is payday, so I think I'll head to River Knits and splurge on a pack of stitch markers. It's good to be back in the blogging world.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Taking it handy

This birthday weekend has been really amazing. I am currently blogging
from a hammock in the shade near the river. Yesterday my dear friend
Dana hosted the lovliest of birthday bbqs. All the Irish girls from my
department were there along with several college friends of mine. John
manned the grill (as men do!) and made really awesome burgers! After
the party a bunch of us spent some time at 9 Irish Brothers. The owner
is hilarious! He really made it fun! So now I'm up at the river in a
hammock half napping...half blogging...definitely relaxing!

So big news for anyone in Dublin! I'm coming back!!! I'll only be
there one night though. Sept. 4th. Maybe it will work out to see some
of you friendly knitters out there!

School starts up again tomorrow. Last week was nice. Well, sort of
nice. I had orientation all week, so I didn't have to work very hard.
That will all change tomorrow. It's going to be long days from here on
out. The routine will be nice I suppose.

Too bad this isn't a resort! I need more iced tea.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

One toe away...

I started socks for my brother for Christmas. They didn't get done for Christmas by any means. I didn't really work on them for several months after Christmas, and now they are almost...so very close to done. I totally finished one today. Grafted the toe and the whole nine yards. Now I'm just hoping I Have enough yards of yarn left to finish the second sock! It's going to be close, but I think it can be done! Martin tried them on last night though and they're going to fit really well! They'll be done for his birthday, but won't be his birthday present. I will be celebrating three holidays with him though on Tuesday. Christmas, Father's Day, and his birthday! Very exciting!

photo to follow!

Only one more week of intro stat. This week will includes lots of studying I hope. There's a lot to review before the final exam on Friday. Yikes! I better finish my homework before I get too excited about the exam!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sitting in the window...

Today is the first day I've had to breath in a while and I'm enjoying it to the fullest! Today is just a beautiful day! Not too hot and wonderfully sunny! The new grad student, Bethany, started the other day and she's a lovely addition to our lab group. We sat outside by the fountain and read for a while. She's a super cute farm girl from west-central Illinois. Now I'm happy sitting in the window at Grey House watching the world go by. It's so nice here! The free refills might be dangerous!

Tonight is So You Think You Can Dance night!!!!!!! There are a bunch of us crazy girls who are way too into the show! Last week was controversial. Comfort is a hip-hop dancer who got voted off the previous week. Jessica got to stay, but then she had broken ribs, so she dropped out and Comfort came back. THEN, Kherigan had a bad night and got voted off and Comfort got to stay. It was a real pity! So this week Comfort better get voted off or I'm gonna be really annoyed. At this point the guys are all pretty awesome, so it's hard to see any of them go. Will is my favorite and if you saw him with his shirt off, you'd know why! Sigh. He's dreamy! Even dreamier than that electrician in Dublin! After all, Will can dance!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Birthday Week

It's birthday week in our house. My big brother's birthday is today,
mom's birthday is Friday and Martin's birthday is next Tuesday. Very

Every Wednesday, we have a lab meeting. Lately we've been brain
storming for my current project. Today is going to be different. I'm
giving a presentation to propose a new study that we can do later. I'm
a little nervous since I don't know what to expect. Should be

Given that I have this presentation, I probably shouldn't have gone
knitting last night, but I did. Just needed the mental break and I'm
glad we went. Martin's socks are nearly done! Ok, not really. They're
about 75% done though. He needs to try them on. I really don't want
them to be too small! That would be horrible!!! I'd say there's a
small chance I can get them done this weekend. It's only a very small
chance though. So no one should go getting hopes up!!

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cheap and Free!

I'm quickly becoming a true PhD student! Saving money being one of the key things. In our department supposedly we all get enough funding to live. I'm thinking they should say we get enough funding to exsist! To really live, one must have the funds to go out with friends on the weekend, to buy a pair of Tevas on sale for $15 and to buy an occasional magazine. Not to mention pay for gas and random things like behavior therapy for oddly aggressive wheaten terriers. That said, part of truely living as a grad student involves the continuing quest for cheap and free! Free brunch yesterday meant testing 4 types of french toast and several egg casseroles for Mrs. Mayfield who is designing new breakfast ideas for day cares. Note: french toast made with orange juice was not a good thing. Cheap morning coffee means a slight detour to Beering Hall on my way back from stat class. There, is the holy grail of vending machines. I can get a so-so mocha or a pretty good cappucino for 75 cents! Bad coffee in the HTM cafe is $1.25. That's 50 cents towards I can put towards living! Anyone want to go find a gum ball machine with me?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Harriet!

Today is my dear friend Harriet's birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day! Wish I could be there to help celebrate!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fried Crispy!

Well, multiple applications of SPF 45 is no match for 5 hours at the
water park on a clear sunny day. Unlike the horrible sunburns of my
youth, some parts of my body were spared. Still, I'm in a wee bit of
pain. My little sister seemed to have a blast though, so I suppose it
was worth it. Maybe. Thankfully I mostly sleep on my side!

Last night I watered the back garden and then forgot to turn off the
hose! Oops! Mom called and distracted me, so I'm blaming her!

Knitting group is always a riot. In some ways, I'd love to write about
all the personalities, but anyone who attends any knitting group
already knows. It's safe to say our knitting group fits the norm! I
really enjoy going. Almost skipped tonight, but I'm glad I didn't.
It's good therapy!

Tomorrow's a new day. Hopefully some of my red will fade to brown by then.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Something beautiful!

For those of you who have never used SAS, this may seem trivial. For those of you who have suffered through the initial learning of SAS code, this is a beautiful thing. In fact I'm doing a little SAS dance in my chair! Woohoo!

Here is the code I used to get this.

title 'educational data for 78 seventh-grade students';
data students;
input obs gpa iq gender concept;
1 7.94 111 2 67
2 8.292 107 2 43
3 4.643 100 2 52
4 7.47 107 2 66
5 8.882 114 1 58
6 7.585 115 2 51
7 7.65 111 2 71
8 2.412 97 2 51
9 6 100 1 49
10 8.833 112 2 51
11 7.47 104 1 35
12 5.528 89 1 54
13 7.167 104 2 54
14 7.571 102 1 64
15 4.7 91 1 56
16 8.167 114 1 69
17 7.822 114 1 55
18 7.598 103 1 65
19 4 106 2 40
20 6.231 105 1 66
21 7.643 113 2 55
22 1.76 109 2 20
24 6.419 108 1 56
26 9.648 113 2 68
27 10.7 130 1 69
28 10.58 128 2 70
29 9.429 128 2 80
30 8 118 2 53
31 9.585 113 2 65
32 9.571 120 1 67
33 8.998 132 1 62
34 8.333 111 1 39
35 8.175 124 2 71
36 8 127 2 59
37 9.333 128 1 60
38 9.5 136 2 64
39 9.167 106 2 71
40 10.14 118 1 72
41 9.999 119 1 54
43 10.76 123 2 64
44 9.763 124 2 58
45 9.41 126 2 70
46 9.167 116 2 72
47 9.348 127 2 70
48 8.167 119 2 47
50 3.647 97 2 52
51 3.408 86 1 46
52 3.936 102 2 66
53 7.167 110 2 67
54 7.647 120 2 63
55 0.53 103 2 53
56 6.173 115 2 67
57 7.295 93 2 61
58 7.295 72 1 54
59 8.938 111 1 60
60 7.882 103 1 60
61 8.353 123 2 63
62 5.062 79 2 30
63 8.175 119 2 54
64 8.235 110 2 66
65 7.588 110 2 44
68 7.647 107 2 49
69 5.237 74 1 44
71 7.825 105 2 67
72 7.333 112 1 64
74 9.167 105 2 73
76 7.996 110 2 59
77 8.714 107 1 37
78 7.833 103 1 63
79 4.885 77 2 36
80 7.998 98 1 64
83 3.82 90 2 42
84 5.936 96 1 28
85 9 112 1 60
86 9.5 112 1 70
87 6.057 114 2 51
88 6.057 93 1 21
89 6.938 106 2 56
PROC SORT data=students out=nsort;
by gender;
PROC BOXPLOT data=nsort;
plot gpa * gender /boxstyle=schematic;

Can I get an honorary computer science degree for this? Maybe not, but seriously this is my biggest acheivement of the day. I can think of about a million things I'd rather acheive today, but whatever...I'll take it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What a day!

Today I got to hang out with my little sister. I signed up to be a big
sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters. If there are any guys reading
this...you should go sign up to be a big brother! Now! So anyway, my
little sister just turned 8. I've never really known an 8 year old.
It's all new and exciting. She still little in ways, like last week we
got ice cream cones and hers was down to her elbows, all over her face
and half of it dripped on the table. She's wants to be cool like her
13 year old sister though. So she talks like a teenager. It's
hilarious! Today we went to Columbian Park Zoo. That was kind of a
bust. I'm not sure they even had animals. So I suggested we go play
Putt-Putt (crazy golf for you Irish folks). She stopped in her tracks,
held up her finger and said, "ok, but first I think we need ice
cream!" How can I argue with that? Well, except that I've seen her eat
ice cream and know that it's a major ordeal in the clean up
department! We ended up with snow cones. Hers was blue...so were her
lips and tongue! She's great! We're going to have lots of adventures.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Time to get serious...

I have been a horrible blogger lately. Exciting things are happening! Last Thursday I hit the road before the sun was up and drove all the way to Knoxville by myself. It was fabulous. I visited my dear friends, the Burkholders. We went camping in the Smokey Mountains and Friday morning we all went climbing! Even the kids! Talk about a fantastic trip! Friday night I got to chill out with my Euro-travel buddy, John in Louisville. Getting home was...well...frustrating. Between a speeding ticket (I was seriously NOT speeding...I just didn't know I was still in a construction zone) and all the major roads and interstates being flooded, it was quite an adventure. Got home all the same though.

Monday was my first day of school. Yeah! The research project is going well. My first day was 10.5 hours, but yesterday was a normal day. Well, not exactly. I had to be on campus by 7am. Today I don't have any research-related responsibilities which is nice. My statistics homework is nearly done! Good thing since it's due tomorrow! I have a meeting with Dr. Boushey in a few minutes. Hopefully some of my lingering questions will be answered!

Martin's socks are still a work in progress. Sock one is about 2/3 done. I don't know if I can do the other sock strait away. Might have to work on a sweater for a while. I'd much rather knit sweaters than socks! Of course, someday...some sweet day...I'd like to knit my self a pair! My next sweater pattern comes from the summer Interweaves Knits magazine; the Apres Surf Hoodie. Won't that be fabulous in cashmere? I have 51% cashmere 49% wool in a neutral color. I think it will be perfect for that sweater. The pattern has several concepts I'm not familiar with though, so I might go crazy. Step one: provisional cast on. How hard can it be, right?

Ok...meeting time!

Friday, May 16, 2008

So close...

My sweater will be done as soon as I finish sewing up the side seam, tucking in the loose threads and then sewing on the buttons. As little as there is to do, you'd think I would have found the time to finish it up in the last day or two, but I haven't. Maybe tomorrow!

Tonight I'm going to a fancy dinner. My hair has been looking pretty scraggly the last week or so, but I've been putting off getting it cut. This dinner seemed like a good excuse for a little sprucing up, so I went to the salon yesterday. I even splurged on a manicure! It was heavenly! My hair is a little shorter this time...a little longer than chin length. I was hoping it would curl like it did last time, but it didn't. Oh well. I'll be wearing my favorite little black dress and shoes which both miraculously survived the flood! The only thing is, I don't have the perfect wrap. It's a real pity! So I suppose my next big project, after I finish my brother's Christmas socks, will be to knit a lacy wrap.

Only three weeks till school starts. I think I have everything ready. I looked up the text book I'll need and it was rediculously priced as usual. Over $100 new and $87 if I bought it used. I had a moment of brilliance and looked up the text on amazon.com and found it new for less than $10! With shipping it was $12! Talk about a bargain! I'll be learning SPSS (statistics program for social sciences) all over again. I don't know that I really learned it when I was in Ireland. Basically I just learned how to set up a data sheet and run simple stats. Nothing intricate though. I have a feeling this time I'll know it like the back of my hand!

Enough rambling for now!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Gone amuck...

Last ngiht Lacy and I headed over to Barnes & Noble for a chat and we brought yarn and sticks. She worked on a chrochet hat and I was able to finished all the actual knitting on my sweater. I hemmed the first sleeve and sewed it in. Here's the thing...I totally don't understand the pattern. First of all, I started from the center of the shoulder and worked down towards the front and then towards the back. Seemed like the best way to make sure it was centered. Well, except that the sleeve doesn't exactly fit between the markers placed. Dang it! So then, if I had gotten all that right...which I didn't...there would be about an inch and a half or so of raw edging under my armpit. That reduces the bulk, but it's still not very pretty. To make matters worse, when I got home, I realized that I managed to pick up a stitch on the back when I was tacking down the button placket. I gently pulled and tugged and found the right strnig to snip. WRONG. I know damn well that you never ever cut anything when you're knitting. So now I clipped the stitch in the back and I have to figure out how to manipulate the situation so I don't end up with a flippin hole in my sweater. I was so pissed. Still am actually! Pisses me off even more that the pattern - which was sooooooo detailed in the beginning ended up soooooooooooooooo not detailed in the end. I hate it when people do that. It happens all the time. On the simple stuff like joining in the round, they all remind you not to twist your stitches. Who doesn't know you'll end up with a freakin mobius if you twist your stitches? But by the end of a simple sweater pattern, the designer figures any idiot can place the sleeves in a sweater. Maybe any idiot can and I'm lower than an idiot. Guess I'll have to humble myself and go to the yarn store for help. I hate asking for help.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wait! I forgot!

I forgot to tell about my new dishes!!! I have some super cute summer dishes that are brown and yellow and have black eyed susan flowers on them. Perfect for summer! I only have the plates and maybe the dessert plates. Well, the other day I was walking past Jan's Alley and she had some in the window! There was a sugar bowl, butter keeper and plates on the table. I just thought it was funny to see them. Didn't really think about buying them. I'll be darned if mom didn't buy the entire set! The entire set of dishes, serving bowls, etc. All for a whopping $15!!! Can you believe it? They're a bit retro and although I think they're adorable I can see why most people might not want brown and golden yellow dishes. Still, mom and I were still surprised at the bargain bin pricing. So there you go...more dishes for me! Let me remind you that I have no furniture and I'm homeless, but I have something like 8 entire sets of dishes. I might start renting them out. Dinner party anyone?

Another sweater nearly done...

I'm so close to being done with my summer sweater! Should it even be called a sweater? I don't know? It's more like a golf shirt minus the collar. Anyway, it's almost done! I have to knit 4 more rows on the neck band, sew in the sleaves and then sew up the sides. Well, and hem it. Still, it's kind of almost done!

Our knitting group might be famous today. Haven't seen the paper yet, but a journalist (Laura Anthrop) came to take pictures the other night. I looked like a grub, but that's ok. Annie and Anja looked adorable (as always). There's a new lady who just moved here from raliegh. I hope she gets her picture in the paper! She's only lived here for about three weeks and it would be so cool if she would tell her friends that she's already been in the paper! I should have grabbed the paper on the way to work.

Today is just gross weather wise. It's cold and humid and just gross. I'd much rather be at home snuggled up watching movies and drinking coffee. Instead I'll be filing documents most of the day. Not my favorite thing to do, but then again it's better than working at McDonalds! I only have one more month of freedom before I start my voluntary slavery in the world of PhD. I'll have statistics every morning at 8:40am. That alone isn't much to look forward to! After that I'll spend the day running a lab-based experiment. It's a component of the bigger picture of the research project. Basically we'll be feeding people and then...lucky me...we'll take 24 hour urine collection and...even luckier me...I'll be analyzing the urine to see what nutrients were excreted and assume the rest of the nutrients were absorbed and used by the body. What a way to spend a summer, eh? Of course there's more to it than that, but I Don't know how much I'm allowed to tell and how much is a secret.

I'll post a picture of my sweater later today!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Things that are making this road trip great...

1. Good tunes
2. Sunshine
3. Blow Pops

All I need is a lottery ticket!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Long time...

It's not that I don't have anything to write about, I've just been
lazy. My job is oddly exhausting. The highlight of every day is going
to the courthouse and the post office. Not only do I get a bit of
fresh air, that least little bit of activity gets the blood moving
again. In the office I do normal office things...make copies, write
letters, talk to crazy people on the phone. Yesterday one of our
clients was particularly rude to me on the phone. It's extra annoying
because this client is probably about my age and already getting
divorced. She's probably tired of the ordeal and since I'm her
attorney's secretary - she feels like I'm someone she can boss around
and treat like dirt. Well, she's wrong! Lesson to the world...don't
treat secretaries like dirt! It's a bad idea!

Last night was fun. Lacy and I went shopping and she got some super
cute clothes at Target. We ate at McAllister's Deli. They have really
good sweet tea. It was the perfect evening to eat outside and sip iced
tea. Not to mention the perfect evening to celebrate Lacy's birthday!
After I got home, Baxter thought it was perfect timing for a walk. It
wasn't! A storm was threatening! Micah was already down town, so the
beast and I met him and we all strolled around the Levee Plaza area.
None of us seemed to mind the rain till there was the biggest thunder
and crack of lightening! We nearly passed out! By the time we got back
down town, we were soaked! Still, I liked being out in the warm spring

Today is full of little excitements. The attorney I work for is taking
us out to lunch and tonight is Village Fest! All kinds of fun!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Just things here and there...

Life has been fairly entertaining recently. I'm working for a lawyer as a secretary. Can't say I want to be a secretary for the rest of my life, but it's not too bad. It's been relaxed while the lawyer was on spring break. She'll be back tomorrow and I suspect things will be kicked up a notch.

I'm moving out of the guest bed (fondly referred to as my homeless shelter) and up to my old bedroom. I had to do quite a bit of cleaning and organizing before I could really settle in up there. The goal is to live at home for as long as possible. I figure every month that I live at home I save nearly $600 and although my Purdue assistantship is adequate, it is not extravegant. Money saved is a good good thing. My dad has been working on the plumbing in my bathroom. Pretty much everything up there was leaking. The faucets and the toilet ran and the shower leaks or something. Obviously I'm not plumbing expert! I love mom, but our morning schedules aren't meshing very well. She gets the bathroom first since she leaves the house first. If she's out of the bathroom by 7:30, I can get to work on time without any problems. This doesn't happen too often, so then I have to rush around and have been late a few times. It'll be so nice for us to have separate bathrooms. Plus, I still get free internet upstairs! Thank you Holiday Inn!

Tomorrow is knitting group at Barnes & Nobles. I'm half way done with a summer sweater from Knit Simple magazine. I guess technically it's called the Scallop Edge Pullover. Whatever. If you want to see a picture, click here. I'm knitting the plane yellow one, but mine will be red. Last week at the group, there were only 5 of us and 3 of us were Schaps. The other two were employees who had the night off. I guess they started the group. Annie won't be there this week, so I'm curious to see who shows up tomorrow

Wednesday starts some serious excitement. The Lafayette Police Department Citizens Academy! Mom and I are going. She did one in West Lafayette and had a blast! I don't know what all we get to learn here, but in W. Lafayette she was taught how to preserve a crime scene, gun safety, how to drive a police car really fast and stuff like that. I'm super excited!

That's all for now. Better finish up my lunch and get back to work.

Friday, March 21, 2008

National Nutrition Month is here and almost gone...

You might not know it, but March is National Nutrition Month. Very exciting, I know. But what is exciting is that the Western Indiana District Dietetic Association had their annual breakfast at Baja Peninsula. Talk about amazing food! I can't wait to go back. Their breakfast menu is to die for! The restaurant is a wee bit out of the way for most folks since it's on the way west side of town, but it's not really any further away than all the mediocre dining facilities on the way east side of town. I give it 5 stars! Lafayette has so many great restaurants that aren't chains, but people hardly think to go to them. I'm on a pseudo silent campaign to limit my chain dining experiences. Surely I can get a gang of people to do the same!

The other great thing about the National Nutrition Month breakfast is that I got to touch base with Dr. Boushey. As soon as I formally accept the offer, she can start registering me for classes for the summer. She's not been so bright about her conversations with me. She keeps telling me how busy I'm going to be and how much I'm going to have to do. I think she said "You're just going to be busy up to your eye balls all the time!" And she said it with such glee. Seems like maybe she should save those comments for AFTER I turn in my acceptance and I'm officially her slave! Ha ha ha! Today I got the nicest email from Dr. Fleet. He's basically the director of graduate studies and to get a personal email from him made my day! Despite the fact that I'm going to be busy up to my eye balls, I'm really looking forward to doing my PhD.

Big news. Martin and Annie got a puppy! Her name is Karenin or some spelling variation of that. I've already botched the spelling once today. I know it's not Caranan! Ha! Anyway, the puppy is half rhodesian ridge back and half black lab and 100% beautiful! It's like their little family is complete now! I love it! I can't wait until Karenin, Albert and Baxter can get together for play time. That should be hilarious.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's all coming together...

The first week home was a wee bit discouraging. Happy as I was to be home I was dying to hear from Purdue about the PhD stuff and I couldn't find a car to buy either. But so many happy things happened! Thursday I got a package from my sock pal! She knit me gorgeous rusty orange socks! They're so cool. Plus everything else she sent was super cheerful. (I'll post about everything later so I can give her justice!) Then, on Friday I drove a sweet rental car up to Chicago and got to hang out with AnnLaura and Aurelio in Chicago for the day. We had a blast. Aurelio loved the Art Institute. Every time he saw a boat in a painting he'd say "row row row" and there were animal noises for dogs and cows. Plus we got to swing through Filene's Basement and Old Navy. Felt so good to be down town again! My friend Jenny and her husband Mike met me and John on Saturday for a crazy fun St. Paddy's day celebration. It was such a fun weekend!

It gets better!

Monday I dropped in Hodson's Bay to see if there are any adventure seeking people to climb with or learn to mountain bike with or something like that. As it turns out there's someone who works there who I can climb with at the store. The wall there is kind of tiny, but at least I can climb a bit for fun. There's a club at Purdue and they car-pool to Climb Time in Indy every week. Woohoo for that! Should I ever end up with a bike, I can go mountain biking with people from Hodson's Bay too. Things are looking up!

Wait, even more happened on Monday!

I got my acceptance letter from Purdue! I'm in! I got a research assistantship and a stipend that will be enough to live on. I'll be a poor graduate student, but it's going to be great. (Please, just let me be gleeful for a little while! I'll mope about the rough life of a grad student enough later!)

And better...

Today I started my job! I'm really making good use of my degrees and working as a secretary/PA. Today I helped fix computer problems, fixed the shredder machine and did loads of filing. (The other PA doesn't like to file.) There were fun things to do to like walk a few letters to other offices down town. It would have been perfect if the sun had been shining, but it wasn't. Oh well...can't win 'em all! I can walk to work and if I walk fast, I can get from our back door to the office door in 7 minutes.

And even better...

I got a new car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a 2004, Hyundai Elantra. It's really shiny black with ghetto blaster tinted windows. Have to say, the windows make me laugh. It's nice though. I'm so lucky to have gotten such a nice car. Even Baxter was excited! When I came home I told him we had a new car to ride in and he ran outside, jumped up at the fence, gave the car a good look and then he went into ecstatic happy dog mode...tail wagging, tongue hanging out, you know the look. We drove over to Martin and Annie's which turned out great. Got to eat dinner together and take a wee trip to Von's and Cafe Vienna.

So now life feels a lot better. I'm so relieved to know about the Purdue situation and I'm so glad I don't have to be pouring over over-priced cars that have 115,000 miles on autotrader.com. And one of these days I might even get a pay check!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Home of the Free Refills...

Since I've been home, I've been out to eat a lot. In Ireland there are times when you want a really big Coke. Not a dinky little 10 oz Coke...a BIG coke. Here in the States, that's not much of a problem. You can get a 32oz coke for $1 or sometimes even less. Restaurants are a whole new ball game. I missed free refills while I was gone, but now I'm not so sure. At most restaurants you get a giant glass of coke and they refill it over and over and over again. Looking around in the restaurants, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if there were a charge for each refill. What if the government decided that it's a health risk to provide nearly 2 liters of Coke to each customer at each meal. Isn't it ridiculous to think that any person can unknowingly drink 2 liters of soda at a meal. I'm guilty of doing it myself. Ok, 2 liters might be a stretch, but it's more than one liter. Now I'm just grossed out by it.

So other than being grossed out by the amount of coke we drink with dinner in the States, I've been busy with all kinds of things. Car shopping. Ugh. I never knew it would be so hard to find a car! Part of the problem is the limited budget. With another $1000 I might have an easier time. It's a good lesson in patients. My sister got an awesome mini-van that was within her insurance budget. It's even better than her old van. So basically I'm trying to find a real bargain and unfortunately I haven't found it yet!

My mom made an appointment with a realtor for me. Ha! Think she's trying to tell me something? I'm not sure she wants me at home for very long. I really liked one of the houses and would buy it if only I had an income! I do have a job though. I'll be working for a lawyer downtown. Having a job within walking distance is exciting. Especially given the current lack of automobile! The lawyer is a friend of my mom's and she should be great to work for. She'll let me work as much or as little as I want. It's the perfect job for right now really.

It's absolutely beautiful out today. Baxter and I took a super long walk in the sunshine. We were both happy as clams! Tomorrow I get to go to the Indianapolis Zoo with the Burkholder kids. What could be better than a trip to the zoo on a sunny spring day?!?! I think spring might be here to stay. I looked at the 10 day forecast and the highs stay around 45-50 F (7-11 C). I hope it's sandal weather soon! That's my favorite time of year!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

My trip home was pretty uneventful and for that I am grateful! I got through security just fine, but they teased me for having a vase and dishes in my carry on. Customs was fine, but after all that trouble I went through to get new pages added the guy stamped an old page! Chicago was actually the biggest pain. There were about 50 flights that came in all at the same time from Warsaw, Tokyo, Mexico, Ireland, Beijing and somewhere in India. It was mayhem! Of all those people on all those flights, I managed to be the second to last person to get through border patrol. The guy seemed a little surprised by my 75 kg of luggage, but let me through anyway and even welcomed me home!

AnnLaura and I are going to her local yarn store. I'M NOT BUYIG YARN!!!! Just browsing.

Right, I'm off. It's good to be home!

(blogger is being weird, so if this posts twice, I'm sorry!)

Honey! I'm home!

My trip home was pretty uneventful and for that I am grateful! I got through security just fine, but they teased me for having a vase and dishes in my carry on. Customs was fine, but after all that trouble I went through to get new pages added the guy stamped an old page! Chicago was actually the biggest pain. There were about 50 flights that came in all at the same time from Warsaw, Tokyo, Mexico, Ireland, Beijing and somewhere in India. It was mayhem! Of all those people on all those flights, I managed to be the second to last person to get through border patrol. The guy seemed a little surprised by my 75 kg of luggage, but let me through anyway and even welcomed me home!

AnnLaura and I are going to her local yarn store. I'M NOT BUYIG YARN!!!! Just browsing.

Right, I'm off. It's good to be home!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

All these good byes...

I can't say that all these good byes are very much fun. I'm really going to miss my friends in Dublin. Today is my last day here. I'm still packing and I still have some errands to run. That's always the way isn't it? Moving is never a relaxed process. Hopefully tonight will be relaxed.

Listening to sad David Gray music isn't helping.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Anxiously waiting...

Is anyone else dying to see the new Knitty.com patterns? Not like any of us need another project to work on, but I still want to know what they have in store for spring!

One last thing to check off...

Yesterday a few of us went to Belfast. I really didn't want to go home and have to say that I never made it to Belfast the whole time I was here. They're kicking off a Titanic festival there and a part of the not-so-festive-festival was a free bus tour to the shipyards and around the city. It was actually quite interesting learning about the people who made the Titanic, Olympic and Britannic. We were allowed in the dilapidated buildings that once housed the drafting room where the ships were designed. We walked around the dry docks where the hull of the ships were launched into the water and the dock where the ships were held while they were cleaned and had finishing touches put on. It was quite spectacular to imagine the sheer magnitude of workforce needed to build the ships. I really enjoyed the tour. If you're up towards Belfast I recommend you go. Free tickets are available through the Tourism Information Office and the tour leaves daily at 2pm from the front of City Hall.

Knitting is going well. I've turned the heal on the socks I'm knitting for my swap and hope to have them done by the time I get home. The double magic loop method has gone by the way-side for the time being because it's just not fast enough for me. My so called scarf is now more than 1/3 of the way done and it's really beautiful! I'll have to post a photo soon.

I'm leaving Ireland on Friday and I've said it before, but it's still true...leaving Ireland is horribly sad, but I've got so much to go home to. I'm dying to see my little niece and nephew again. My sister has a new dog, Albert and that awesome new van that I haven't seen yet. Of course there's Baxter who I can hardly wait to start running around with again. Keeping busy shouldn't be a problem! Keeping busy before I leave shouldn't be a problem either. Packing is a pain. (it's my own fault for having too much stuff) Speaking of packing, I better do a bit of that before I head out to lunch.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

So dreamy....

As it turns out, we have the hottest electrician ever. Several things have broken in our house since I've been here and I'm always lucky enough to be here when the electrician comes. The first time, it was our water heater. After a week of cold showers I would have welcomed any electrician, but I was extra happy to find out our electrician is stinkin' hot! I'd say he could be in one of those fireman calenders, but he doesn't have the bad boy look. He's just tall, dark and handsome. The second time we needed his services, it was my fault. I plugged in an electric blanket from the states. I should have known it would blow a fuse, but I was cold and plugged it in anyway. So Hottie McHottie came to fix the fuse. That time it was funny because there were three guys waiting in a van outside our house and I only saw one young funny looking kid and one middle aged balding guy. It was so hard to conceal my surprise when I turned around and saw Mr. Dreamboat. This time there was no power to the washer and drier. I was so mad that none of my other roommates could be home. I wanted to go get my hair cut and the only appointment I could get was for 6:30. Someone had to be here between 6 and 7. Two roommates were working, one was in Cork and the other was taking some class from Amnesty International. So that left me at the bottom of the totem poll. Cheered up quite a bit when I opened the door. I think maybe I'll move back to Ireland and make a career of breaking all things electronic.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

For better or worse...

Disclaimer, this post has nothing to do with marriage!

Yesterday was such a wonderfully productive day. I was walking all over town running errands. The best part is I got all but one done! I even stopped in a few charity shops and found more yarn. This yarn thing is becoming a bit of a problem. It's to the point that I think I have a stash that would rival anyone else! I've yet to knit anything with mohair, but for whatever reason I really like it and seem to keep buying it. Knitting group was fun. Trish and Harriet and I smushed on one couch together. We had lots of fun knitting and laughing!

I'm starting to get really sentimental about leaving Ireland. I was such a softy last night. Sniffing and trying to hide tears as I looked at all my happy stuff that has to be packed. Then all hell broke loose! Our electricity bill is 90 euro more than usual. I wasn't in Ireland during the billing period, so at least I can't be blamed. Everyone is furious about it. So a huge fight broke out. Mostly between two of my house mates who don't get along that well anyway. I got stuck in the middle. I'm no drama queen, but since I was already a little emotionally charged, and ended up yelling at both my roommates. Pretty sure I even used a few curse words. They weren't having a rational argument. It was so dumb! One of my roommates and I were still friends and laughing at the end of the night. Got the silent treatment from the other one. Oh well, I survived my first major drama queen even. Hopefully it will be the last.

Today I'm busy writing thank you notes to all the people who've made my time in Ireland so wonderful. Better get back to it.

Oh and by the way...I'm officially coming home. March 8th, I think. It's a Friday.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Do I really have to pack?

Mom and John are back home safe and sound. I sent them with quite a bit of stuff and a strange collection of stuff too! Mom's carry-on was full of steins and beer glasses that I've collected from pubs here and there. John's carry-on was packed with those pretty dishes mom and I bought when she was here this summer. Plus, mom had an extra checked bag full of maps and guidebooks and various random clothes and such. Even though mom and John took a bunch of my stuff home with them I still have a lot to pack.

I really enjoy having all the free samples of lotions and such from make up counters and hotels. Unfortunately I rarely end up using them. But I'm too stingy to give them away. So I'm going to try to use them all up! I don't know how my body is going to react to the bombardment of new products, but I'll give it a try.

Yesterday I stopped by the bookstore to buy a knitting magazine to cheer myself up after mom and John left. No joy there, so I checked the knitting books. They had a book called Nursery Knits for only 2.99! I bought a few copies to give away! So exciting! I also got a book called Knitting Patterns for Dummies. It's good actually. Maybe it's because I'm a dummy, I don't know. But I'm working on taking a baby sweater pattern and turning it into a TusaRebecca size pattern. I did some ratio math (thanks to all that GRE studying) and figured out some basic measurements. Now it's just a matter of trail and error. The yarn I'm using is kind of ghetto. It's kind of the color of a green bell pepper and used to be in the form of several really ugly ponchos at a St. Vincent's charity shop. Perfect yarn for testing out a pattern for a cozy sweater that I'll probably only ever wear around the house anyway. I'm having fun with my first pattern design.
I don't know about the rest of you knitters out there, but I can't work on one project at a time. I get too bored. The socks are first priority, but it's nice to have a few other projects to keep me entertained!

It ended up being a pretty busy day considering my plans were to go to the grocery, go home, do laundry and take a nap. I went to Collin's Barracks (aka National Museum of Ireland). They have a nice exhibit about the history of military in Ireland. It's not chronological though, so there was no way to really piece the history together. Maybe I'll go back and try to sort things out. Last night Kevin and I went to see Sons & Daughters at Wheelon's. Great show. Really had a lot of fun. Katharine was supposed to go, but never got around to buying a ticket and it was sold out.

So now I'm going to knit and contemplate how all the stuff in my room is going to fit into two suitcases and one carry-on. Should be interesting.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sock ripping clarification...

So the socks I was knitting...it was going really well, except that I just didn't like the pattern. It's got an knit to together, knit 3, ssk in the center front of the sock. Maybe I do ssk wrong, but it always ends up bulkier than the rest of my stitches and so it just looked dumb. I thought about finishing the socks for myself later, but I don't want socks that look dumb. That was the kicker. So I ripped them. Now I'm doing a slip stitch rib that's going a bit faster and still looks nice.

And for the knitting stash confessions...
Mom and I bought a HUGE lot of yarn at a charity shop for 5 euro! There's some lovely brown aran tweed and some natural colored wool and beautiful blue and a lot of odd green, plus other bits and bobs. We're talking a ton of yarn! We went to This Is Knit yesterday and I got 3 skeins of Debbie Bliss SoHo to make a My So Called Scarf with. I already have about 3 inches done! Might I put a plug in for Lisa at This Is Knit. She is soooooo nice! Every time I go in there she's all smiley and has loads of ideas and encouragement. I bet she's never mean to anyone.


I now have a European Master of Science! Graduation was awesome. St Patrick's cathedral is really dark, so a lot of the photos aren't that great, but here they are for your enjoyment anyway! The best part was when the President of DIT mentioned that Dr. Boushey was an honored guest from Purdue and that two of her former student from Indiana were graduating!

There are a lot of highlights from the past week that mom and John have been here. We went out west for two days and saw the Cliffs of Moher and Alwee Cave in County Clair. In County Connemara we saw Kylemore Abby. The abby was breath taking. We had perfect weather...sunny, warm, not a cloud in the sky. I could hardly believe I was still in Ireland let alone Ireland in February! On the train ride home mom and I were knitting and the girl across from us had the prettiest scarf. As it turns out, she knits too! She got out her knitting and so there we were...three crazy ladies knitting on the train happy as we could be. This is going to be a picturific post!

Last night I had dinner with Dr. Boushey at Brasserie Sixty6 (my favorite fancy restaurant). We really had a delightful meal except there were some problems with the timing of the service. It took nearly 45 minutes between the clearing of the starters and the bringing of the entrees. I bet it was 20 minutes or more before they brought us our desserts after we ordered them. Supposedly two cooks went home sick, so I can imagine that left them in a bind. The food was still really good, so that helped a lot and we had a nice time chatting away. At least it wasn't really awkard! Dr. Boushey talked a lot about the projects she might have me do and is happy that I will be starting in June. I think that's a good sign, but I started to wonder what I've signed up for! She will work me pretty hard, but I think I'll really enjoy it.

Right, well this is mom and John's last day here and we're going out to Howth. It's a peninsula off the coast of Dublin and they have a market and I've heard there's good places to eat fresh fish! Should be a good day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Really really quick...

Pretty sure I haven't blogged in ages, so here's a super-duper quick update...

Life is rosy. I haven't had a nightmare or bad dream in 3 nights! It's a record! I've had nightmares and bad dreams almost every night since I've been back in Ireland. Pretty much sucked, so I'm happy to be sleeping normal again though! Very very exciting! I take the GRE in the morning. Kind of nervous, but should be fine. Graduation is Thursday. Can't wait to see St. Patrick's Cathedral! I'm almost done knitting my fetchings. Bet I can get them done tomorrow. That would be great. Right, I have to review a few more things and get a good night's rest.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

I passed!

That's it! I'm done! They're going to let me graduate! Woohoo!

The poster presentation wasn't too hard. Just had to talk to to examiners about my project.

Here are some photos from the poster presentations...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ugliest coldest most miserable weather day ever!

Today is the most miserable weather day ever. It's freezing cold. The internet says it's 39 out, but there are 30 mph winds so it's not like it feels anywhere close to 39 degrees. It's precipitating, but I don't know what to call it. Snowy rainy sleety stuff. Well, now it's just snowing I think. If it's snowing, I doubt it's 39 out! I'd say it's pretty close to impossible to be in a good mood on a day like today, so there's no point trying to adjust my attitude! I've already been out in it. That was two hours ago and I'm still cold.

Well, maybe there's one thing to be happy about. I discovered digestive biscuits with a layer of caramel hidden under a coating of chocolate. But that's the only happy thing! So don't try to make me think of more happy things. I'm working hard at being a miserable grump here!

Monday, January 28, 2008


I finally figured out the magic loop method! It's not looking pretty yet, but I have high hopes that if my patients holds I'll make it through another few rows and things will look a little better.

Yesterday I went out to Blackrock to my favorite knitting shop...This is Knit. Lisa is awesome. She's got great ideas and isn't pushy or snobby and has the most scrumptious yarns. Since mom doesn't read my blog I can post this. I bought her a huge hank of wool. Actually it's 55% Bluefaced Leicester Wool and 45% silk. The brand is Fyberspates Yarn from Wales. I also got mom a pair of beautiful Peace Fleece knitting needles. This way mom can knit herself a scarf while she's here. Very fun! Kevin's been bugging me to knit him a hat, so I made him pick and buy his own yarn. The boy has good taste and picked some Mirasol wool that's a wool, alpaca, silk blend.

All my post-flood thank you notes are written and ready to go in the mail so now I have to stop in town and grab stamps and get them in the post. Tomorrow is knitting group, so I'll have an excuse to knit for a few hours and won't feel guilty about it. Very exciting!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Almost all done!

I'm one step closer to being all the way done with my thesis. Today I picked up two beautifully bound copies of my thesis. My thesis is now available in a hardback edition! It's got a navy blue faux leather cover and metallic gold print. Sounds tacky, but it does look pretty nice. Of course this was to the tune of nearly 70euro. Criminy!

The buses in Dublin are an adventure. To my surprise, the bus fare went up while I was gone. Some grumpy driver barked at me that it's one euro, five cents now. My bad! Used to be 1.40 from home to town and now it's 1.50. That, I don't really mind. But 1.05? That's annoying. Five cent pieces are the same color and nearly the same size as two cent coins and pennies. It's really a pain to dig them out of your coin purse. I'm thoroughly annoyed.

The bus adventure doesn't end there. What's the deal with headphones? Almost every time you ride the bus, you have the pleasure of music. It's not provided by the bus, but usually some moron in the back of the bus who has his iPod on full blast. I worry that my ears may be damaged from wearing headphones so often and I don't even wear them every day and I certainly don't listen to it loud enough that anyone else knows what I'm listening to! I think we should start investing in hearing aid companies.

Another thing is that cars do stupid things around busses. Just yesterday a bus started to pull away from a stop light and some idiot who was to the right of the bus made a left turn in front of the bus. As if the giant double decker bus full of people wasn't going to go on green or something. Of course the driver slammed on his breaks which sent some poor unsuspecting lady flying. Looking in the window I could see people jump out of their seats to help her and she was holding her nose. The bus driver tried running down the street after the car, but any jackass who pulls a left hand turn in front of a moving bus isn't going to stop and see if any harm was caused by his negligence.

Usually I would walk into town, but today the wind was so strong I had to stop on the way down the sidewalk just to get my balance. Didn't seem like walking for 30 minutes in wind like that was going to be much fun. If I can barely walk in the wind, heck if I'm going to try to bike! So there I was...digging through my change for an extra five cents.

On a happy note, I did a little charity shopping yesterday and got a giant bag of wool! No, I didn't need it, but amongst other beautiful yarns there's enough natural cotton/flax to make a sweater. I have to measure a skein first so I can estimate how much is there. I think I even have a good pattern to use! Very exciting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One of those great days...

Today was one of those days. I'm looking back thinking....geesh, I got more done than I thought! Tuesday is knitting night. I was so glad to see everyone again. Harriet is using some Noro wool and the color way is so awesome in the hat she's making. It's going to look super cute with her red wool coat!

I went to Aldi today to stock up and can I just say again that I really love Aldi! I spent 25 euro and got so much stuff. There's a new thing going on there and they will always have 6 vegetables on special for 49 cents. Of course I bought all 6...carrots, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, mushrooms and a cucumber! Even better, I didn't have to buy a bag! I remember to take an empty backpack. I was a little annoyed that I couldn't fit everything in it, but then I as I stuffed a yogurt drink in the side pocket I saw a plastic bag! Brilliant! The most exciting thing I got were lamb chops. I figure with carrots and potatoes surely there's a recipe for lamb chops.

Katharine and I went to the symphony today at the National Concert Hall. It was free...free is good. The music wasn't all that good though. There were three recently written symphonies and none were very pleasing to the ear. One of my professors was there and happened to know one of the composers. Eeee. We were introduced and of course I implied that he was brilliant. Little lies like that are ok I think. Another bonus - our professor took us to lunch!

Wonder of all wonders, I'm actually reading a book. I started it last night: Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson. In the States it's called I Am A Stranger Here Myself. Bryson lived in Iowa till he was a teen and then moved to England. He lived there till he was a grown man and then moved back to New England. The book is made up of short essays he wrote about America for some magazine or newspaper. Each essay illustrates idiosyncrasies* in the US that you might only really notice if you had lived somewhere else. For me, it's a really funny book and it's hard to put down. This may be the first time I've ever said that about any book ever. Monumental event here.

My room is clean (well, my side of the room) and I managed to only unpack stuff I think I'll actually need. The rest I left packed up. Seems silly to drag everything out and then have to pack it back up again. Someone removed most of my coat hangers from my closet. Pretty annoying actually since I like to hang up nearly everything. My lightbulb was burned out when I got back, so got that taken care of this evening after knitting. Oh my gosh...I was making space for my groceries and saw an orange juice container marked July 08. Knowing my crazy bunch of housemates, I wasn't terribly surprised to see nasty OJ left from July so I poured it out so there would be room for my milk. As the last drops dripped out it occurred to me that it wasn't July 8th, it was July 2008. Oops! Got replacement OJ on the way home so it should all be ok.

*I actually spelled idiosyncrasies correctly the first time. Just wanted to point that out especially to my sister who knows I can't spell.

Monday, January 21, 2008

211 Things a Bright Girl Can Do

A friend of mine gave me this book for Christmas - 211 Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Bunty Cutler. At first glance I thought it was a children's book and would be full of jump rope rhymes and such. Oh no! Not at all! It's hilarious! For example, how to pour a beer for a gentlemen, how to sound like you know what you're talking about at the butcher's, how to escape the next date, how to escape a vicious swarm of bees, and my favorite...how to curtsy. There's about 2 pages describing how to curtsy. Then the last sentence says, "Or you could smile and say hello like a normal person." The book is going to have me in stitches!

I was at Clerys yesterday. It's kind of like Marshall Fields. Saw this guy sleeping. Hee hee!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I love Patrick!

Actually I have no idea who Patrick is other than he's some guy who works at iTunes and gave me all my music back! I figured I had nothing to lose by asking, so I wrote iTunes customer service, told them about losing my computer and back-up to the flood, and listed the order confirmation for all the iTunes I bought ever. This Patrick guy emails me back telling me all my music will start downloading the next time I open iTunes. It doesn't end there. He gave me credit for 5 free songs too! Isn't that the greatest? There was only one album that couldn't be replaced. Not too shabby if you ask me! Thank you Patrick!

AnnLaura's house is no longer an infirmary! I'm feeling decently healthy now and no one else here is getting sick. Martin and Annie have the refugee center, AnnLaura has the infirmary...what an accommodating family I have!

Tonight AnnLaura's friend Gia came over for dinner and brought her wonderful baby boy Ari. It's funny to watch babies interact together. Ari is only 4 months and Aurelio was trying to teach him a few things. He would give Ari a toy, then take it back and show him how to use it, then give it back to Ari, then get frustrated that Ari still didn't know how to play with it. I think they'll be good pals and get into lots of trouble together some day!

I'm pretty ready to get back to Ireland. Not that I don't enjoy being at AnnLaura's house, but my system is ready to be in Ireland. I'm ready to take long walks into town and see friends and hang out in a pub. I'm even ready to complain about the crap weather! Can't say the plane ride is something to look forward to, but it's not really anything to complain about either. So off I go...across the big blue pond...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Streak of bad luck!

So I'm not in Dublin yet. I was puking my guts out last night and couldn't make my flight. I mean...who wants to sit next to the feverish puky girl on the plane? Pretty big bummer since I was really looking forward to being back. On the other hand, I get to hang out with AnnLaura for an extra few days here in Chicago. Aurelio even asked for me to hold him today! Yeah for that! Made me feel pretty special.

Turns out Annie was really sick last night too. Anja had the pukies and Juan didn't feel great either. We think maybe Annie's sister was the carrier monkey. I guess her kids were all sick with the flu - that's why they didn't come to the baptism.

I wasn't prepared to stay in Chicago. I have clothes still in Dublin, so I didn't pack almost anything. Just a few pair of underwear, 1 pair of socks and 2 extra shirts. Oh, and my PJs so that I could change into them right away and sleep for a while. Luckily AnnLaura and I are pretty much the same size. Not to mention she has fancy washing machine and I can just wash my jeans and stuff. Still it's weird having a suitcase full of stuff and not really any extra clothes! That means I was a good packer though. Suitcase is full of stuff that will not be coming back with me. Good thing, because whatever is in there seems to be really heavy.

Right, so I still don't feel all that great and I don't have much to say anyway. No point blabbing on about nothing when there's nothing to write about. Adios for now. And yes, I suppose I am looking for a wee bit of sympathy! For Annie too! hee hee.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anja got Baptized!

On Sunday evening, Anja Louise was baptized! The most fun was the reception at Martin and Annie's house after the baptism. Everything was perfect. They're so lucky to have such a nice house to host things like flood refugees, foster dogs, and beautiful receptions. I don't know where she got it...ah hem...but Annie had the prettiest little table cloth. There were lots of roses and the food was amazing. Annie makes awesome tebulli salad and everyone LOVES it! I don't know anyone who doesn't like it and I don't know if anyone knows how to spell it! Tara made some rosemary butternut squash soup with ham and that was to die for. I didn't have the other soup, but it looked good too. Everything looked so elegant! Oh, and especially Annie. She wore the silk wrap skirt thing. Mom got us each one. Mine is black and brown. I suppose AnnLaura's is green. Annie's is browns and pinkish purples. She looked like a million dollars! Just as elegant as can be. I suppose this is starting to sound like I'm just bragging on my baby brother and his beautiful wife....well, I am! So there! They're pretty wonderful and deserve to be bragged on now and again!

Other updates...I have new glasses! I'm excited to have a pair that I'll be willing to wear. Might be annoying in Ireland though since it's so rainy all the time. We'll see. I also have iTunes on my computer now! Starting to seem a little more like my computer.
Mom and John and the Meeks went to the river today and were able to salvage tons of stuff. Basically all my clothes and most of my shoes. Supposedly my bedroom furniture is looking ok too. Who would have though $250 worth of IKEA furniture would have survived the flood? I'm thrilled. Mom's going to start asking around about a car for me. Any suggestions? I'm thinking something with four wheels, minimal rust and really good gas milage.
Tomorrow's the big day. Well...it's nearly 1am, so actually today is the big day. I'm going back to Ireland. I'm sad that because of the stinkin' flood I didn't get to see a lot of my friends who I was planning to see. Can't wait to be back in Ireland though. I'm ready to go!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The rains came down and the floods came up...

So, if you read my 5 things to accomplish...number 3 is particularly ironic. So is number 4 for that matter. (Thanks for the comments by the way.)

Remember how I said I couldn't live under the bridge because the river is too unpredictable?

Last Monday, my sister and I spent the night at the river cottage with Baxter and Aurelio. Tuesday morning neighbors woke us up to tell us the river was flooding and we needed to move our cars. Well, to make a long story short, by about 9:30 we were escaping through the bedroom window into the canoe that Martin had moved just days before. We canoed through the yard, and up to the road which at this point was probably under 3 feet of water. We got pretty far upstream, but the river was moving so fast I couldn't paddle upstream anymore. We got the boat stuck in the corn field and eventually we were rescued by Sam (the man we bought the house from) and then were super rescued by the Sherrif rescue boat. So far as I know, it's a national disaster area now, so that means we'll get some personal interaction with FEMA.

I got to go back in the house yesterday and it was just a disaster. The furniture is all overturned...even the refrigerator was knocked over. My sister and I both lost our cars. That's a bummer. My computer was nearly 5 feet off the ground and it was water logged. My Molly doll was safe though up on a really high shelf. I'll admit, she's my most prized possession and I'm delighted that she was safe.

Tomorrow's a new day. Mom is going up and will see what's salvagable. I bet a lot of things can be washed because the mold hasn't set in yet. I got a new camera (number 4....check!) and a new computer. American Red Cross was really nice and gave me a voucher for new eye glasses. Plus they gave me a debit card to help out with clothes, shoes and food. They also made me get a tetnus shot. I'm grateful, but now my arm is killing me! Feels like I got punched by Bruce Lee!

I'm still going back to Ireland on Tuesday. It's hard to leave the situation as it is and not be around to help with the clean-up. It's hard to leave anyway! It will be good to be back in Ireland, that's for sure.

Monday, January 07, 2008

No New Year's Resolutions...

I love days like today! To the west the skies are dark and gloomy. But the sun is shining like mad! It makes for the most interesting light! Maybe I should play with my camera a bit and see if I can get some good photos (see number 4).

Lists again! For the sock swap I'm in I'm supposed to blog about 5 things I want to accomplish in the new year. I don't really do new year's resolutions. They're always stupid things that I say I want to do, but know darn well I'm never going to do. So basically I gave up. I was just setting myself up for failure anyway. I'm not going to give up coke. I'm not going to exercise every day. I'm not going to keep a daily journal or read 10 books or run a marathon. I sure as heck am not going to give up McDonalds! I know...I shouldn't be allowed to be a dietitian! Anyway, why pretend? I even read an article in Outside magazine this morning - New Year's Resolutions Don't Work! For all you resolution people out there...more power to ya! I'm just not on that band-wagon.

Here are 5 things I think are pretty achievable for this year. Most are fairly short-term goals. Seems silly to make too many long-term goals since I don't even really know where I'm going to live or where my source of income will come from (see number 3).

1. I want to move back the the States and not have to pay anything extra to get all my crap and clutter from Ireland to Indiana. Here's the plan...I already brought a bunch of stuff home and it's NOT going back with me! When mom and John come, they can each take a decent sized bag home with them. I'll try to send most of my guide books (they're heavy) and maybe my dishes (heavy and fragile so maybe I'll wait on those). When I finally come home in March, I'll just have to figure out a way to get the rest of it crammed into my suitcases. If it doesn't fit, it's not going! Plain and simple!

2. I'd like to knit myself some lovely warm accessories to go with my red coat. With all the projects I have going right now, I almost feel guilty starting a new project though. Hmmm...right...I don't do the guilt thing. Forget that! Suppose it would be an accomplishment just to finish the stuff I have on needles right now!

3. My entire family is hoping I'll find a place to live and have a source of income! I don't think mom minds me being at home...I think she minds all my stuff being at home though. She gave me most of my stuff, but I don't think she really intended to store it for me forever! Baxter and I can't very well live under the bridge - river is too unpredictable and might flood us out. I refuse to live in student apartments. I cringe even thinking about it!

4. I hate my camera. Can't figure out if it's my fault or the camera's fault though. So I would consider it a huge accomplishment to either figure out that the camera is great or figure out that it's not and buy a new one. Suppose I better go talk to Rena about that. Rena knows everything about cameras. I could even run down and see Rena and see what she has to say. Hmmm...good thinkin!

5. My biggest accomplishment for the year 2008 is probably going to be graduation. Hard to believe I'm only a month and a half away from graduating. Graduation will be in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. I've never been to that cathedral before. Partly because you have to pay to get in and I think it's ridiculous to have to pay to go to a church, but partly because I've heard it's gorgeous in there and I want my graduation to be the first time I walk through those doors. If there are boring speeches I'll be more excited about looking around at the pretty windows!

So there you have it. Planned accomplishments for 2008! Might even have them knocked off by March!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


So I heard about this new movie, The Bucket List. It's about these two guys who I guess are going to die (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman). The have a list of things they want to do before they kick the bucket. Looks kind of like a cute movie. And really doesn't everyone kind of have a bucket list? I've been toying with my list for years but it never gets very long. Some things, like sky diving, are already checked off. Then there's a list of things that weren't really on my list but after the fact, they've been added to the list, like climbing the steps of the Eiffel Tower and Oktoberfest in Munich. Those are things I'm really glad I got to do! I'd say there's still a lot on my bucket list, but the truth is I don't really know what to put on the list. There are a few things that have been on there for a while...

Go to Africa
Go to Italy with AnnLaura
Be in the live audience of a TV show like Oprah or Jay Lenno or Letterman
Hike the Grand Canyon

Um....so...short list I guess. So I think I'd rather have a list of things I'm glad I've done before I kick the bucket. And that list is going pretty well at the moment. I still want to see the movie though!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Another Adventure...

For New Years I ended up going to Dallas, Texas. Seems like that in and of itself would be enough adventure. Add in John renting a little Cesna and stopping in none other than Baxter County, AK for lunch and you have a serious adventure on your hands! Texas is an interesting place. I felt very midswestern in a big Texas town. As AnnLaura pointed out my hair just isn't blond enough or big enough! Ended up getting stuck longer than expected due to weather. Don't know why I thought the weather would cooperate. I should have known better! Oh well, an extra day of sunshine never hurt anyone.

I finished my fetchings on the flight. They turned out super cute, but maybe also a bit on the small size. They're a bit tight on me. I may have to make Rena another pair and use a little bigger needle and maybe even a slightly looser gauge. I'll find someone with small hands to give them to! (picture soon)

It's really crunch time for the GRE and PhD application. I'm more nervous about it now too. Partly I'm nervous because it's a big decision and who isn't nervous when it's time to make a big decision? The GRE makes me nervous for lots of reasons! I can't think of a worse test for me to have to take! I've never been great at math and now I have to relearn all the math that was forced down my throat in high school. I remember pie r squared is the area of a circle and that's about so lets hope they ask me lots of questions about the area of circles! Ooh ooh and a squared plus b squared = c squared! Don't really remember what that's used for, but it's something. Then there's the word section. I wish I read books! The only saving grace is that I don't have to know how to spell words. If there was a spelling section, I'd fail for sure! The professor I want to work with is going to meet with me on Monday in the late afternoon. I hope she has a lot of advice and encouragement for me! I also hope she really wants me to work with her! I told mom earlier that if I don't do a PhD, I'm going to move to South Dakota. They need dietitians to work on Indian reservations planning programs in the community. I don't think she was as amused as I was. And speaking of not doing a PhD right now...I realize that this was kind of a quick decision and although it seems rather glorious right now it might be a horrible idea! I have some other ideas up my sleeve. They're pretty far up my sleeve though so don't ask too many questions!