The Laursonian Institute

The Laursonian Institute

An exercise in thoroughness

The Laursonian Institute RSS Feed

Archive for March, 2009

Two (Iskay)

Today seems sort of like a wash, though I did have a lovely evening with Lewis’ mom who came over for dinner.  Treated her to pasta and avegolemono and my faked symposium salad.  Yum!

I’m a little annoyed with TAing stuff, but I supoose that’s sort of status quo for this administrative business.  Got a feel for my first day of Lin 1 class, and then met with the teacher and co-TAs for some business chat.  I shouldn’t be bothered about what’s going on, I guess.  TAing is just stressful, and I’m not really looking forward to starting this again.  I’ll feel better after the first few classes are past when I have a feel for my students and the lay of things.  Just gotta get to that point.

Had a meeting with the department chair today too about funding stuff, which I had been fairly worried about since his cryptic email yesterday.  Anyway, the funding issue wasn’t anything notable, and really worked out a bit in my (and Lewis’) favor.  The chair just wanted to swing this sort of team-teaching thing for two of the upper-division intro classes such that Lewis and I split up 6 sections over two quarters in some crafty manner and cleverly get us both covered for tuition.  The chair is a very strange man… nice, but a very obtuse talker, and difficult to really comprehend in most interactions.  At any rate, all is well.  I’m looking forward to hearing about the real funding plan soon.


What a wonderful start to my first day of spring quarter. Had my cognitive neuroscience class this morning, and it went much better than I had been dreading.  I should have known it was going to be fun, but I was getting myself a bit worked up over the professor not emailing me bcak, and seeming sort of odd.  She is odd, but in a good way, and apologized for the email snafu, and seems completely unpreturbed that I’ll be missing 30-45 minutes of class every Wednesday.  Luckily only half those are not “real” class days, as we have some cancelled classes and student presentation days.  Anyway, good class, good group, and I’m really looking forward to it.  Oh, and we only have a 6 page paper to write!  That’s crazy short – undergrad short!

I had a really productive afternoon.  Went to Vacaville while Lewis was in class to check out possible work out clothes at Eddie Bauer.   Found not only work out clothes, but also really cute summer shirts to wear, and some other acoutrements.  I did spent twice as much as I thought I was going to (miscalculated a 30% off.. oops) but I’m in the middle of not stressing out about it, where I’m going to stay.  Clothes were bought.  They will serve me very well.  I’m feeling very good about my waredrobe, and that seems to cost some money, and I’m willing to spend that money while it appears we have a smidge to spare.  Oh, I also hit up JoAnn’s Fabrics to pick up the tracing paper I need to get going on a pair of jammies I’m trying to make Lewis.  Yay.

Only other major accomplishment today: the gym!  I went!  I attended a yoga class tonight, and it was really nice.  Lots of popping and cracking of my tired bones, and lots of working muscles I haven’t bothered with in ages.  The group was really welcoming, and non-intimidating, as I was hoping for.  Hour long class had me totally beat, and completely relaxed.  Spent a few minutes before class in the womens-only room as well checking out the machines, and it was lovely.  Very low-key, no one bothering anyone or making a fuss.  After these two major successes, I signed up for the gym for-really – a 6 month go.  Phew.  It was cheaper than it could have been (one month free and no sign-up fee and discounted to boot) but it was still quite a downpayment.  But I figure, if I go to yoga even twice a week, it’s only like four bucks a class.  And right now, I am way more than four buck relaxed and worked out.

It’s Good to Have Options

Spring break is over, it is.  And I’m feeling pretty good about that.  I got everything I wanted to do done, which is really rather surprising for a relaxing vacation.  Garden was planted, much weeding and work accomplished, I decided on the gym to join, saw all my Ask friends (twice!), hung out a ton with Emily, baked goods, read books, got a new bookshelf moved in and filled, finished our taxes… amazing!  I’m feeling very relaxed, my palpitations have been minor in the last few days, and I’ve almost entirely gotten rid of the elephant-on-my-chest feeling.  I’m not feeling nervous about tomorrow, but rather looking forward to this week.  It’s my easy week, with no sections to teach, and I’m hoping for a pretty smooth quarter.

I’ve had a long thing about this stress and my life, and I think I’ve made some headway.  My mantra this quarter: “everything is optional”.  As in, I take on only the stress I take.  Everything in life besides basic function – food, home, pay – are entirely optional.  School is optional, thus classes are optional.  The gym is optional, biking is optional, blogging is optional.  Reading is optional, assignments are optional, excelling is optional, research is optional.  I choose to do these things, but they do not characterize my life.  They are choices I make every day, because I like to do these things, and because I choose to spend my life this way.  And there is nothing that says I must keep doing any of these things.   I think keeping this in mind will help me keep from stressing out.  I’m a lucky girl who gets to do what she wants to do nearly every day.


My day can be summed up in one word: Bollywood! Another wonderful trip to see the Askers in Fremont, Afghan food and Bollywood as always. So good!


It’s another feeling-late night (though I know it’s only 11) and that means list time:

  • saw a lovely phlebotomist, got labs done
  • headed out to 3 Palms to check out plants
  • hit up ace, picked up sharpened knives!
  • planted procured flora
  • almost planted dwarf lime tree…
  • hung out with heather and kevin!  symposium, davis creamery, “the meaning of life”

Tomorrow… I’m going to mostly chill the heck out.  And go to a Bollywood movie with the KEs!


Too tired… can only list:

  • drove to Oakland
  • hung out in favorite local bookstore (FOPL!)
  • had lunch at Rattos with favorite local work friends!
  • had second lunch with Armand in Berkl!
  • nerded around model train store
  • read books and birdwatched on campus
  • visited favorite Berkl coffee shop / classical music shop and adjacent bookstore
  • drove back to Davis
  • had chinese takeout with the Lawyers + Schmidts
  • tried enquicken Lawyer computer (failed)

Tomorrows gonna be a big day.  I think it might be join-the-gym day.  And early morning blood sample day.  But it’s also hang out with Heather and Kevin day, and the big trip to the nursury to get our fruit trees and front yard goodies!  Yay!

Lessons in Obvious

It’s been a most triumphant spring break kind of day.  Got up early to go to the doctor… turns out I have twelve kinds of stress.  Or at least I have enough stress I’m failing to do anything with that I’ve racked up three stupid body things this quarter – migraines, heart palpitations, and a knot in my neck that feels like a tumor.  Anyway, doctor checked everything out, and he’s going to do some routine bloodwork, but otherwise I’ve been prescribed some chilling the hell out.  So… yeah.  Like I said yesterday, I guess I need to take this seriously.  That’s a really difficult thing to get ones mind around – seriously needing to chill out.  It’s a lot easier to think you’ll get to chilling out at some point when all the important stuff is done, instead of the chilling out being part of the important stuff.

I’m making headway in that direction though.  I toured a gym today, and I think I’m feeling settled on joining.  It seems like a great place – a separate women’s workout room, classes are all free and are all drop-in, towel and locker service… they even put shampoo and conditioner in all the showers, have free towel service, don’t play any music, have the TVs all on mute, and give you two free sessions with a trainer.  The class schedule looks nice, the fees aren’t terrible, and there’s no contract.  The people in there today also seemed really reasonable – no crazy bodybuilders, no meat market feeling, and a surprising number of middle-aged folks and seniors… just the sort of folks I want!  Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from the Center (where I have a class, and will be doing research at next quarter), thus not far from the house, and also could be made to be on the way to campus.  I don’t see how there’s a downside, other than general gym-phobia.  But if yoga classes and some regular working out-type exercise make me feel better, and maybe teach me to release some stress… it’s got to be worth it.  And maybe I’ll stop having panic attacks and migraines!  I’m pretty excited, if somewhat aprehensive.

So post gym and doctor today, we spent the whole day working in the front yard.  I put together a little master plan for what I want to do with the front garden, and we got a really great start today!  I spread out the whole pile of dirt that was left over from the palm tree stump’s removal.  We’ve been letting the pile decompose for a while hoping to make dirt out of palm fiber, and it was looking really nice when I got into it today.  So I flattened all that, and trimmed the front hedge, and helped Lewis remove some small tree things.  It’s amazing how much nicer it looks already!  Thursday is going to be our big nursury trip, I think, to get the plants and vines and whatnot we’d like to put in.  I’ll post pictures as soon as there’s something more than excitingly flat dirt.  I’m very excited!


Blog, blog, blog.

It’s spring break!  I’m not doing a very good job blogging.  I got all my papers turned in, and I think all is well.  I’m attemping to not think about school, though I had to go to campus today to drop off the graded finals for the class I read for.

Sadly, I’m going to have to go to campus tomorrow too, boo.  Though this should be a good trip, I guess, as I’ve got an appointment with a doctor to talk about these heart palpitations, and the notted mess I’ve made my neck.  I seriously need to find a way to destress this next quarter, because I spent way too much of this one feeling crap.  Plus I’m sure it’s just not good for me, and feeling unwell stresses me out double.  Urgh.  Anyway, I’m pretty nervous about tomorrow, but I’m hoping that by lunch I’ll be full of relief at finding out that as usual I’m worrying about a mountain when faced with a molehill.   Yup.  Sigh.

Spent today running errands of many types around town, which was great.  Had a lovely lunch at Kathmandu, and picked up some tasty goods at the Co-op.  It’s so nice to be around town without any particular aim and with no time constraints.  Lovely day.  Capped it off by daydreaming through what I wanted to do with the front yard and garden, and hammered out some semi-concrete plans with Lewis.  I’m rather looking forward to some yard work, maybe tomorrow, and I hope the weather warms up a little, it’s been really breezy.


Today: two papers finished, turned in. 20 phonology finals graded.

Tomorrow: neuro quiz, grading. celebration?

Tonight: hopefully sleeping well, not having any kind of panic in the night. i’m really tired of feeling like an ape is sitting on my sternum.

Semantically anamolous

Today, by most measures, is successful.  I got up early, and got working early.  I think I’ve pretty much finished my semantics paper.  Worked on it until about 5, and that’s long enough to make any brain too addled to do any more good.  Any paper you work that solidly on eventually all starts sounding like nonsense, so hopefully a restorative sleep tonight and some business in the morning will clear my mind enough for the final edit tomorrow.  I did manage to get a bike ride to campus to drop off some library books, and make dinner tonight, before sitting down and doing some low-rev paper tidying tonight.

I had great help this morning (and a lovely conversation) from my Quechua professor, who is greatly amused that I’m doing a semantics project on Quechua.  She seems really eager to help, and we actually talked on the phone for something like 40 minutes hammering out examples and working out the particulars of the verbs I’m decomposing.  She also for some reason gave me 100% on the final, and said I got a 99.5% in the class.  So… I suppose I should have not bothered to take this one pass/fail, but it did reduce the amount of stress I had over the class.  And I’m feeling pretty inclined to take Quechua II, as it’s becoming rather amusing and interesting getting into the nitty gritty.

Tomorrow I’ll turn in my report to for my independent research class (another pass/fail, by design) and pick up the final exams from the intro phonology students to grade this weekend.  I do hope the exam isn’t a long one, I’m really feeling ready for break.  I got a jump on my neurosciecne “quiz” tonight and it’s not going to be too terrible.  I’m kinda hoping to be done with everything but my grading tomorrow night.  Boy, it doesn’t even quite seem possible, does it?  I shouldn’t put too much stock in that one.  I bet it takes me through Saturday, when all these things are actually due.  But I’ll get some time off after that, eh?