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It was darn hot today.  The weather says it hit 106, but my house was a trooper!  We never really needed to turn on the AC, though it was 88 degrees in here by the peak of it.  We got new blinds installed a week or two ago, and it’s amazing how much keeping the sun out of the windows does for the temperature inside.  I’m very pleased!  Plus I washed and cleaned all the front windows today before it got hot, so it was looking particularly nice and sparkly when we finally got to pull the shades back up.

I’m doing an excellent job of wasting my break away, which I suppose is one of the activities I actually intended on accomplishing.  I do wish I could put myself to task a little better doing school work in addition to the projects and gardening I set up for myself.  It’s hard, because if you start the day with school work, you end up wasting the whole day sitting at the desk or table, and then by dinner time I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done, and that I’m a dope for having not left the house all day.  However, if you start the day in the garden or doing some housework, like I prefer, you end up spending the whole day doing not school work.  Definitely sub-optimal.  Perhaps I’ll have myself better put together when we hit July.   It really has only been a could of weeks since class ended.  I’m always too hard on myself!

I’ve been cooking so much, it really makes me happy.  This week I’ve mastered the Denver omelet (why did  it take me so long to figure out how to cook an omelet?) and I made red beans and rice for dinner today.  Mmm.   We’ve got so many delicious left-overs in the fridge, and lots of tasty salad stuff we haven’t even dug into.  For all that cooking more means eating well, it does sort of obliterate one of my better excuses to get out of the house.  But we’re doing a good job of saving money, anyway.  And it means I get to try out a bunch of new ideas – ricotta pancakes, mozarella chicken panninis, baked sole…

Money is still too much on my mind, but I think that’s always the way of things.  We did our budget for next year, and calculated it a few times over and came to a very sad conclusion: there’s really no way to pay for car insurance.  I’m feeling very deflated after this decision… I was really looking forward to having a car, and having a car of our own we could take places more guilt-free and easy-like.  The prospect of Davis without a reliable car next year is rather daunting, though do-able.  I guess it’s the first thing we’ve really had to cut out in the “you can’t afford that” category.  We’re just going to be barely scraping by next year – we’re already making so much less money than we were when we were both working, and our appointments next year (and the loss of the one-year-only fellowship Lewis had) means we’re making almost a third less than that.  We’re canceling all the extraneous costs (our veg box, our carshare dues) but that really leaves just a smidge of an emergency buffer after our necessary budgeted expenses.  So unless car insurance is magically rather affordable, we’re sunk.  And that means a few things for me, the spelling out of which seems so trite.  It means I’m probably giving up the gym, because I can’t seem to muster the gumption to bike there (particularly in 90+ degree weather), and it means I need to start shopping at the Co-op weekly or more often.  I’ve been getting so spoiled by the ability to drive to the store and bring home all the bottled water and cat litter my heart desired.  Now it’s back to the ol’ cubic feet calculations.  Whine, whine.  I know.  Like I say – it’s just the first of these “we can’t afford this luxury” things, and it’s a cranky one to let go.


I’ve been much betwitter lately.  I got a cute twitter client and now it just sits there, running, filling with goodness.   Yay for summertime amusements.

I know I haven’t been doing a good job of blogging lately.  There just aren’t that many nights when I feel like I want to be on the computer, thinking about my day.  But today is a hot, lazy night.  It was really hot today – 100ish – but it’s pleasant now.  Breezy and cooler.

Much triumph was had, regardless of heat.  We had some lumber delivered this morning for our gate project (splitting the big unusable double-wide gate on the side yard into two openable doors) and the lawn edging.  They came way earlier than they quoted us, thus both Lewis and I were in bed when they showed up.  They didn’t even actually knock, though, they just sorta dumped the goods in our driveway and took off.  Not that it matters much, we didn’t need to sign or pay for anything.

Went to the doctor after that at my sister’s behest.  Have a good summer plan in the works to test out whether my birth control is having anything to do with these migraines, and then I have a back-up plan appointment with the neurologist at the end of summer.  All in all it was a good appointment.  I’m feeling well, all my vitals and blood work checks out, and other than these headaches, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with me.  Yay!  I’m glad to have an action plan for the time being.

Spent much of the afternoon car shopping with Lewis from the comfort of the internet.  Thought we were going to go see a car, but we wanted to price out some insurance quotes on various vehicles first, and called Lewis’ dad to see what insurance company they use.  Didn’t get much further than that – I guess Artie and Francie had been discussing selling us the car we’ve been borrowing, so he said he would give us a good deal if we wanted the Accord.  It blue books for more than we can afford, but Artie seems pretty serious about making sure we don’t put ourselves out.  We also called a family friend who owns the local Honda dealer to see what sort of back lot stuff he has in stock, and ironically he’s also getting in an almost identical Accord that is cheaper than the car we were going to go look at today…. so car plans are much altered in favor of someone in Davis doing us a good turn.  I suppose that is good news, though the prospect of paying car insurance next year is pretty dismal with our much-reduced income.  The other grad students make it happen somehow… I do suspect more than a few are still on their parents’ ticket.

I’ve been really enjoying cooking lately, since I have all the free time in the world these days.  I roasted a chicken tonight, with some red potatoes, and it turned out really well.  I probably could have devoured my whole half, but we squirreled away some nice leftovers.  It sure was good though – it came out beautifully crispy skinned and juicy. Mmm.  Had a really nice after-dinner walk through the fields behind our house.  It smelled really nice, like dry grass.  Davis is a nice place, even when it’s hot.  Next hot day will surely call for heading over to the Lawyers’ to abuse pool privileges!


It’s 4:30.  It’s Sunday.  It’s Father’s Day!  I’m sitting in my sunny living room waiting for the pie dough in my fridge to firm up.  I’m baking a Maryland Blueberry Peach pie today, and making turkey burgers… It’s going to be a good one.  I’m so relaxed.  It’s wonderful to be able to cook as much as you want again!  Last night I made home made pizza… double pepperoni.  We ate the whole thing while watching Garden State.  So good!  It’s bound to be another So Good day.


For a Monday, it was a pretty domestic day.  My reading group was cancelled, so I only had my cognitive neuroscience class this morning – yay!  I’d been hoping for a day off, of sort.  Not feeling much like updating though, so I think I’ll list up:

  • went out to lunch!  Mm, Dos.
  • got all the dishes done!
  • made potato salad, and chocolate syrup
  • started laundry
  • got almost all my rough drafts graded
  • read the penultimate paper for my cogneuro essay

Oh yeah, one other good thing today – I got another fellowship thing!  These funding guys are always really mysterious, so I’m not quite sure where it all comes from.  At any rate, I got a nice email telling me I’d been awarded some kind of research grant, and that they’re giving me 1500 bucks to spend on things “vital to the research” I’m doing, and I have to report back about what I’ve been doing to the powers that be next spring.  I’m not quite sure what my research is, yet, or what I’ll need 1500 bucks for, but it’s pretty neat to know I have a personal little expense account at the department next year.   I’m +2 for next year!

Living Notoriously Well

It’s going to be an early night, and thank goodness, cause I’m exhausted!  I made it through midterm week.  Midterm went well, and I spent about six hours grading yesterday with one of my favorite linguistics people (and co-TA) Ariel.  We squatted in Sudwerk and had some drinks and snacks, and our waiter was even a linguistics major!  Very surprising.  Anyway, I got the rest of the papers graded this afternoon, and thus I am done with midterms!  Yay!

No one came to office hours today, so I had a really relaxing day.  Actually I was dreading section this morning, but our sort of short day of essay topic stuff went over really well.  Students were engaged and amused, and I got to talk to each one individually about their topic choice, and it was nice.  They didn’t even notice how close to being out of time we were at the end of class!   So good times.  Walked around the beginnings of the Whole Earth Festival that has taken over campus today.  It’s way more intense than I anticipated – I knew Davis had a bunch of hippies, but this was pretty crazy!  So we escaped after partaking in ice cream and some free sewing machine repair advice.  Came home and cooked up a chicken I had thawed.  I had meant to roast it yesterday, but ran out of time, so I was getting nervous about leaving it sitting around all uncooked.  Made a spicy fried chicken instead, and holy crap was it good!  I’m not a big frying-things fan, but damn, sometimes it just hits the spot.  Mmm.

It’s gonna be a busy weekend.  We’re going to a conference in Stanford tomorrow morning, because one of the professors in the department asked us to come with him.  I’m not super keen on spending a whole surprise day at a conference, but Lewis and I weighed the lost time and stressful weekend against the probable benefit of bonding with a professor we both like, and meeting some of our peers (it’s a meeting of the graduate students and faculty of Stanford, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz) and decided it’d be worth it.  So we’re meeting at the train station at 7:30 tomorrow morning for our carpool to Stanford, and then I think he’s going to drop us off at the end of the day somewhere in the East Bay so we can take the train home.  Should be exciting!


Eyeballs feel like they’re going to fall out of my head.  Mlugh.  Maybe because I didn’t have tea this morning?  Maybe because I’ve been doing eyeball-intensive junk all day?  My day has been a big stressy blur.  Not because anything has really been going on, but more because I’ve been stressing out about nothing and I can’t remember what seemed so important earlier.

Section this morning was fairly crappy, though that’s sort of to be expected with midterm reviews.  Everyone is so tired of hearing about these topics by this point that it’s hard to keep anyone interested in what’s going on.  Went to CogNeuro after that, which was fine.  I’m going to be glad to be done with classes soon, for sure.  Went downtown and had lunch with my Lewis (Steve’s!) and hit up some stores for Mother’s Day stuff.  Ended up not finding anything that really sent off my mom sensors, so I came home and whipped up a batch of my rosemary cashews, and then I also worked up a batch of something new – honey roasted sesame cashews.  Both turned out well!  I do hope she likes them.  Lewis took them to the pochta while I hit up the gym.

I’ve been pretty spent every since I got home.  Just feeling tired from my day, and worried about giving this exam tomorrow.  Things seem to be all in hand, though, and I’m really ready to go to bed.

250th post!

Like I told Lewis earlier… today is one of those days that will probably never happen again.  Today is the day I both got a scholarship, and a brain scan!   What are the chances?   I’m pretty excited about this scholarship.  The money will be nice, though it’s not a great amount, but I feel like more importantly the outword show of faith from the department and nice CV boost are priceless.  I had been worried when I first got in to Davis with Lewis that I was perhaps an accessory to his more glorious career, but since actually getting here and starting classes I’ve felt like my work speaks for itself, and I’m showing myself to be a worthwhile asset.  This just sort of proves it, in a fancy sort of public way!  I’ve never gotten any sort of meritorious scholarship before, and it means a lot to me that this isn’t just part of some big pool of money that I got a piece of for being a decent student.  I got our department’s only scholarship – a nod from other linguists that I’m a promising student!  Yay!

So, yeah.  It was a wildly successful day, even though it got off to a rocky start.  I slept really poorly last night, and woke up pretty grumpy.  We had a great night last night, playing Apples to Apples and Zombie Fluxx with a bunch of Linguists and their significant others.  I made a chex mix-like party mix (which was really good) and a strawberry rhubarb crisp (which was tasty but amorphous) and others brough various goods.  It was originally going to be at someone elses’ house, but she got sick, so we emergency hosted, and it was a good excuse to finally clean at least the common areas in our house.  Anyway, after all that adventure last night, I just couldn’t sleep – heart palpitations and the like.

So I made muffins this morning – apple cranberry ones, whole wheat with orange zest and walnuts – and they turned out really well.  Muy sabroso.  Went to the gym after that and worked out pretty hard.  Weekends are a great time to hit up the gym since no one is there, and I had the women’s room to myself.   Worked out for longer than usual, and then I got to try all the weight machines I’ve been curious about, since no one was there to see me make a fool of myself.  Was pretty beat when I got home, but I took a real nice long shower and had some lunch and got back in the swing of things.

Ran off to Sacramento after that to visit the UC Davis Imaging Research Center, where my lab does its fMRI scanning.   I was volunteering to be a subject in the control group of  a sign language study my advisor is working on, mostly to get the chance to do an fMRI study.  Being in the scanner is hard to describe – on one hand more difficult than I would have thought, but on the other hand, also less clausterphobic and nerve-wracking than anticipated.  The tasks were amusing, and being in the magnet doesn’t really feel like anything more than being anywhere else tiny but safe while your head is strapped to a plank.  I suppose what I mean to say is the magnetization isn’t really discernable.  I was glad I had taken that fMRI class already though, because I could identify what the noises were probably being caused by, and I knew enough to know what the magnet would and would not do, and thus it was more interesting than scary.  I can see being pretty wigged out by all that stuff if you were a kid or someone without the background on RF coils and all that.  Anyway, I would certainly do it again, I thought it was rather fun.  I’m sure I’ll post a picture of my brain when the person running the study emails me a copy of some of my high-res anatomical scan data.  I’m looking forward to it!

Post-scan I was hungry and eye-strained, but happy that Lewis had come with me, and we were going out to dinner!  Hit up the Tower Cafe, where our friend Maya works, and had the most delicious dinner and wine and desserts.  Maya was even working, so we got to chat her up a bit.  It was nice, since we haven’t had a chance to catch up with her in a while.  I do hope we can do something soon, I really enjoy her company.   Anyway, came home and Lewis gave me a really nice neck rub (which I needed after that hour and a half of forced immobilzation in the scanner)  and we listed to some good jazz records.  And I got a barrage of congratulatory facebook messages in my email.  Nice way to cap off a nice day!


Somehow going to the gym today did the opposite of relaxing me… and I’ve been trying to fight off this doom feeling since I got home.  Poo.  I’m ready for bed, and feeling a smidge grumpy about it, so I’m defaulting to list format.


  • Nearly finished Lewis’ PJs.  Just have to put cuffs on his pants.
  • Got my work done rather early, feeling prepared for my presentation on Friday.
  • Made green curry eggplant and sweet potatoes for dinner.  It turned out well, and was, for once, saucy enough.  (I admit, we doubled the sauce portions!)
  • I actually did go to the gym, and did have a nice workout, even with pervasive funk.


  • Messed up a disappointing number of things on the jammie project.
  • Graded papers.  I guess that’s a success, but it’s a crap way to spend an hour.
  • Feeling unconvinced about section tomorrow.  Lots of stuff, some of it crap, no real grip on my theme or trajectory though I prepared everything.  Ick.

If I were a betting woman, I would put my money on that last point being the source of my grump.  Being convinced your section is crap before you start teaching is a sure way to put a defeatist gilt on the remainder of the day.

Lax me

Oh blog.  I’m not doing a very good job with writing in you lately.  It feels like my time is all busy doing nothing, and trying not to stress out about getting anything done.  Of course, I’m getting all kinds of work done, but blogging has apparently fallen by the wayside.

Some important stuff has happened lately.  Yesterday Mom had to put Socks to sleep.  She called me all in tears, and it was really sad.  I’m feeling a little bummed, but on the other hand a little relieved that she doesn’t have any suffering left.  She wasn’t doing too hot when we saw her last month, and she’s been sort of touch-and-go for what feels like the last year.  It was harder seeing her fading out than letting her go.  It sure is strange to think she’s gone though – she was 16 years old.  I got her in 4th grade, I think, and it seems like she’s always been there.  Silly as it is, there are a few things from my childhood I feel a really deep connection with, some part of my spiritual formation I guess, and Socks was definitely a part of that.  Seems like she always knew what I was thinking.   Sigh.  Anyway.  She was a good cat, and a great friend, and I wish her well.

Not much else has been going on.  The usual school schedule – getting up early, hitting up class, reading, reading, reading, sinking into my post-reading daze and getting nothing else done.  We’re doing a decent job of eating this week, as I managed to actually plan ahead of time and hit up the Co-op for proper ingredients.  Made jerk chicken today, from one of our favorite recipes.  Lewis grilled it outside, as it’s been super hot here lately.  So good!  Weather seems to be turning tonight – it’s supposed to be something like 20 degrees cooler tomorrow, which is great.  I wasn’t ready for our near-100s weather yet!

Cows like nose pets

Good day, but sadly I must admit my first stressed out day this quarter.  Ever since my awkward office hours with that kid yesterday I’ve had the same stupid elephant-on-chest heart-scared-of-breathing lungs-full-of-flan feeling I had all last month.  Makes me feel distracted and grouchy spending every minute waiting for my heart to start some crazy death spiral.

Despite this, I think I had a pretty good day.  Got work done this morning after making a delicious breakfast scramble.  Made chili in the slow cooker for dinner, and spent a good few hours slowly biking around town and visiting the dairy cows on campus and having frozen yogurt.  So really, I don’t know what my problem is.  But right now I just want to go to bed and wake up and have it seem likeone of the clear, open-ended, wonderful days I’ve been so lucky to wake up to lately.  Sigh.