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Days of Future Passed

It’s odd, to age on the internet.  I went back to read my livejournal anniverary post today – the first post I have on this very day, but 8 years ago.  Perhaps I’ll post a snippet at the end here tonight.  It’s from a very odd time in my life. I wonder sometimes if this quixotic little adventure I’m on trying to semi-regularly blog my ridiculous graduate school foibles will end up standing the test of time.  Where does it all go, when I stop paying for this domain?  When becomes passe?

There’s an amazing amount of time.  An incomprehensible spread, like taffy, effortlessly but enduringly covering every moment of every life.  I read a paper from 1988.  Lewis call is “old school”.  I counter: “..not that much older than what I was reading yesterday”.  I was five, in 1988.  I was in Bellevue.  I was in Kindergarten, at Sunset Elementary, and I was in class with my not-quite-yet-best-friend Bryanne.  We were the English Kindergarten, not the Spanish Immersion next door.  Those kids were strange.  1988.  Soundgarden released Ultramega Ok.  Chris Cornell was already a grownup.

My sister was 15… and dating, or almost dating Lonnie?  One of my first memories of Lonnie was the feeling of absolute mortification and instant regret after playing a game of jacks in our entryway.  Instead of bouncing the ball on the floor, I bounced it off his forehead.  I thought he was going to find it funny, but it must have hurt, because I think he got kind of mad.   It was one of those lessons you learn as a kid – actions have consequences, and sometimes the things you do hurt other people, even when you only mean to be having fun.   Around this same time, I have my first memory of disappointing my Dad.  Mom was out somewhere that night, and just Dad and me were at home, so he was responsible for getting me into bed.  I remember it was bedtime already, and he asked if I had brushed my teeth.  I hadn’t, but out of some feeling of insolence, I sort of proclaimed proudly that I hadn’t, and he was pretty mad.  I rushed upstairs and brushed my teeth pretty quickly thereafter, but I remember being worried for a long time that I had let my Dad down, and that I should do what I’m supposed to do without being asked.  Funny how long these things stick with you.

The further I get from my childhood, the less it makes sense to me.  I took so much on faith, that life is how it is, and it’s normal, and everything is okay.  Now I wonder – is life how it should be?  Am I the way I was meant to be?  What if I’m messing something up that I don’t even realize, because I haven’t learned one of those ball-to-forehead sort of lessons?  I know you can’t think your way out of this.  But I feel like I have to loosen my grasp on some things I had held dear.  I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up.  I’ve got this idea in mind lately, that I have upheld my end of the bargain, but that there was no contract, and nothing to be followed through upon.  It’s pervasive, and it permeates most my feelings about growing up these days.  I feel like I was a really naive girl, who wanted to believe in the the best of everyone.  And I’m slowly starting to realize that the adults in my life kept me in this state of unknowingness because it was the nicest place to grow up.  But that I grew up, and now I don’t understand why everything seems so different in retrospect.

Case in point lately:  my brother.  I only have two siblings, which are in reality half siblings.  It was a point of pride in my life that, to quote my Mom’s mantra about the situation, my siblings were “real siblings to me”.   I don’t have any full-blooded siblings, so I honestly don’t know what the difference would be anyway.  So I grew up with this underlying assumption that my siblings are my siblings are my siblings.  And that even though my brother and sister have other step- (and maybe half-?) siblings, they were sort of inconsequental, because the three of us were The Family Unit.  So my brother, like any real brother, would want to stand up for me, to protect me, to guide me through life… to deal with me, at all.  Turns out, my brother doesn’t like me.  Turns out, he maybe doesn’t like anyone.  But I’m pretty sure, standing from where I am now, that my brother never thought of me as a real sister, as a real part of his life, or as anything more than the kid his mom had to replace him.  I know he’s fucked up, so maybe this isn’t all his intention.  The feeling stands though:  when people ask if I have any siblings, do I still tell them I have two?  What does it mean to have a half-brother you thought was an enduring force in your life, who it turns out you’ve seen less of than some of your cousins?  And who doesn’t seem to regard your existance as noteworthy at all?  I haven’t even seen him in five years.  I haven’t spoken directly to him since… I can’t remember when.  We had one nice conversation once after he got out of the Army.  So I must have been in… high school?

I degree from the point. What I’m attempting to pontificate on is the fact that bunch of seemingly fundamental things that formed the basis of how I viewed life seem to have been good faith assumptions based on what things the people around me told me were true.  And I’m filling with this creeping sense of injustice I’ll eventually have to let out, or somehow get over.  Maybe these were feelings I was supposed to deal with 10 years ago.  In some ways, I think I must be as naive as ever.  But I just don’t see how I can progress in Life (big “L”) without figuring out whether the fundamentals of my outlook are sound.  And they’re not looking very sound.

I’ll sign off with a quote from my past self.  Context:  this is me, in my senior year of high school.  I’m living in a hotel, because my parents have moved to a different city, but wanted me to finish school in the same place.   I’m about to take the IB French test, and I think I already know that I’ll be moving to California in August to go to USC.  My life is basically filled with being an honors student, and trying to date an exchange student, which is going pretty shittily.  But I am surrounded by good friends (Tiffy, mostly) who are keeping me bouyant and I’ve got my eyes securely locked on the future.  This was my May 14th, 2001:

I’ll keep this short this morning.. partly because I need to bust out to get to my test, and partly because I dont remember what really happened, and what I dreamed.. but I just had the strangest night..

I guess about 1:30 some random girl screamed in the hallway, and woke me up.. I gave it a big, “what’s this for?” and went back to sleep.. and then someone randomly decided that they wanted in my room and kept trying to open my door, so that really woke me up.. on top of that someone kept going in and out of their room and the doors in this place make the biggest loudest closing sound.. so all of this caused me not to really get any sleep after 1:30 which is bad, because i was planning on being very rested for this french test.. but oh well. After that I just kept dreaming about all this weird stuff.. girls getting kidnapped and people trying to barge into my room.. it doens’t sound so bad on the LJ but I was sort of disturbed…

but it all really worked out for the best, because my alarm wasn’t set and so after spending this whole sleepless night i was like, “hey, i should be getting up.. where’s my alarm?” I guess being tired is the price i’ll pay for being awake. bleh. i need to get outta here…. but not before i say, “bonne chance!” to myself :)

It’s okay, past Laurie, it all works out.  And you did pretty good on that French test, despite the weird day.  In fact, you remember that French test much better than you remember this odd night.  So no need to fret.

Pisqa de Mayo

I’m wrestling with my day.  Also, I think I’m winning.

Spent much of my morning and afternoon on campus, though I had intended to come home to go shopping.  Wanted to get the midterm finalizing and copying out of the way so I wouldn’t have to think about it any longer.  Stayed a bit after that to have lunch with Lewis, and then decided to work in my office instead of come home so I could actually get some stuff done.

Did manage to get my work mostly done, and go to the gym.  Worked off a fair amount of my grumpiness, and also managed to stretch out my arm a bit so it’s hurting a lot less than it was last night.  It was also Lewis’ mom’s birthday tonight, so we went out to dinner with her and her sister’s family, and then took her out for a cupcake on our way home.  It was a nice dinner, and a good time, and now I’m completely exhausted and ready for bed, even though I know I’ve got a bit more work to prepare for my section tomorrow.

Also:  arg, mother’s day is coming.  It’s in 5 days.  Better not screw this one up like the birthday.  Grad school seems to distroy anything that takes more than one day of preplanning.  I’d better get something together tomorrow and get it in the mail.  What a crap daughter I am!

Just Keep Moving

Blurg.  Too tired to post, per usual.

It’s Tuesday.  It’s our first day back from San Diego.  The trip was wonderful, the train trip back home was fantastic, and I’m exhausted.   Tomorrow’s my first of my worst days – Wednesdays I teach section at 9 am, and then I have to jet myself over to the CMB for my CogNeuro class, which inconventiently starts at 9:30.  I’m really not looking forward to missing the first 45 or so minutes of class every week, but it’s only one day a week, and I’m trying not to stress about it.

I’ve been good about the stress level lately.  Went to the gym this morning and worked out for a while, which seems to leave me feeling more able to cope than days when I don’t work out.  I have no idea why that is, but I’ll take what I can get.  I also skipped my only class today (Ling 1 lecture) so I could get some sleep, cause 9 am was feeling way too early after getting in so late last night.  I also got my first trip to the Imaging Center to shadow an fMRI run-through.  It was neat, and useful, but not quite as exciting as I was anticipating.  Maybe I’m just tired.  I did get some good advice from the girl running the study, who also has worked in our lab for the last few years.

There’s a lot more I’ve missed out on blogging… but right now I’m just nervous and ready for bed so I can get through my big day (morning?) tomorrow.  I’m sure it’ll all work out fine – I’ve got a million things planned.  Fingers crossed.


This is the most social day I’ve had in ages!  I may wax poetic about the two wonderful groups of people we saw today… but I don’t think words really capture the feeling of comradrie and fulfillment I’m left with.  In short, we got up early to go to Berkeley and have Thai brunch for our old co-worker’s birthday.  The whole team was there, and it was so wonderful to be with the work group.  That’s a truly special group of people, and I’m really hoping we can make good on the plan to do another Afghan food / Bollywood night with them while we’re on spring break.  We definitely need to spend more time with them.  Thai brunch was a little strange this morning, because it turns out it was the 100th day of mourning for the death of the founder of the temple, so they were having a big funeral next door to the brunch-having, and the place was crawling with monks (it’s a temple, so it should be, but these were out-of-town-type monks all congregating to show their regards) and the usual Berkeley crowd as well.  They weren’t charging for brunch today since it was sort of a special day, they were just asking for donations instead in remembrance of their departed abbot.  We paid what we would have normally, but it was still a nice gesture.

After a lovely brunch, we headed back up to Davis and squeezed in a little work (and made some chocolate chip cookies!) before going over to our friend Ben’s place for his birthday.  This was another really great crowd –  old school Davis folks of the Ben’s family and family friends varieties, as well as a few Ben-friends I’ve come to know and enjoy.  It’s funny, I think of Ben as one of the most social, connected people in town, and yet I’m at his birthday party and I know almost everyone there through one event or another by now… from other parties, from the brunch club, from cribbage nights, people who were at my wedding I didn’t even realize I knew… The longer I’m in Davis, and the longer Lewis and I are together, the more old-worn-shoe all these parties get.  It’s a really gratifying feeling.  I’ve done so much moving around in my life, lived in so many houses and places and cities, and had so many different groups of friends… so on nights like tonight, it starts to feel like maybe I’m settled, and maybe there’s joy and comfort to be had in maintaining a loose network like this for decades.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a Davis house party, dreading that I don’t know anyone but Lewis well enough to feel like I could chat them up, feeling like the out-of-town novelty with no intrinsic value.  This doesn’t happen so much any more.  There are no new “scary” people left to meet!  Just lots of nice people doing interesting things with their lives that I’m happy to talk with.

So we’ll call this a rousing success of a day, in a time when both Lewis and I should probably have been home working.  But I think we’re both better off for having had a chance, even in the busiest of times, to connect with our roots and get our heads out of our books.   Yay!


Alright, so I missed a few days.  It’s been a busy, odd, foggy couple of days.

Lewis and I had one of the strangest kinda crappy days on Wednesday.  It started off well enough, until Lewis got to campus.  He pulled his hat out of his bag, and as he was going to put it on, a big cockroach jumped out!  How terrifying!  Lewis squished it, but it was so very odd!   We took ourselves out for Japanese lunch which was great, but we got caught in a big rain storm on the way back to campus.  We were having a fondue party that night and I had to get our cheesey supplies, so back into the rainstorm went I.   Got thoroughly soaked on the way to the Co-op, and as I was right in the middle of shopping when I heard a huge thunderclap and the whole store let out a collective “oh!”.  Absolutely poured after that, but thankfully only for a few minutes, so it was fairly rain-free for my bike ride home.  I was still pretty nervous about that thunder, so I rode home pretty fast.  Sadly, bike chain fell off while going up the overpass, and then I fell off my bike while trying to get it back on.  Sheesh!   Followed all that up with some semantics homework and my second optical migraine, so I guess I’m headed to the doctor on that count.   Luckily it was all looking up from there – had a wonderful fondue party with the most delicious cheese-goop and delightful company.  Phew!

Yesterday was much less eventful.  Class went well, I got lots of work done, and had a nice relaxing evening with Lewis’ family.  They always get together on his grandpa Pappy’s birthday to have his favorite meal in his memory, so we went over to his parents’ house and had dinner with them and his Aunt Linda & Uncle Bill & Annie.   I always enjoy the family events, and Annie is always amusing to hang out with.  Anyway, much meatloaf and cherry pie was consumed, and it was great to have something low-rev and chilled out to be doing.

…which is exactly what I’ve spent all day doing.   I’ve only got one class on Fridays, and I’m done by 11, so it’s something like having the whole day off.  I got all my work done, and spent much of the day reading slowly and watching crappy (read: satiating) daytime tv.   Did a little prepping for some sewing only to discover I don’t know how to use the tracing paper I got from Francie this week.  So instead I poked around with mom’s old machine and cleaned it up a little bit.  It’s a multi-day clean-up task, but I figured out a few things, like how to wind the bobbin, and how to get the bobbin shuttle out.   Yay!   Now if I had only managed to have something more than a bowl of rice crispies for dinner…


It’s been a sort of deflated day after I had such a great one yesterday.

Lots of things happened yesterday, but they all feel fairly trumped by the lightening strike of inspiration I had in the middle of my neuroimaging class.  I don’t want to get into any of the details, though I’m sure they’ll divulge themselves soon enough on the old blog.  Suffice it to say I feel like I put together a bunch of clues I felt like my own brain was leaving me, and I think I’ve picked the direction I want to go for my thesis (as in, the big one, not the QPs).  My professor was up lecturing and I really couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying because I’d keep thinking of more imporatnt stuff I wanted to remember about my plan.  I scribbled it all down in a notebook I had with me, so all is safe.  It’s odd, I feel like the sky opened up and I was handed a purpose.  Neat!

Anyway, besides being completely preoccupied by my own plans, I had lunch at the Delta with Lewis and his friend Rebecca, Emily, and Andrew.  The Delta is such a lovely place to hang out on a nice toasty afternoon.  Came home, got a bunch of work done, and then went out to dinner with the Lawyers and the Coupins (Symposium!).  Went back to Casa de Lawyer after dinner and watched cute old family videos and played Chinese checkers.  Never played Chinese checkers before, but it was a lot of fun!

Today was a little more of a struggle.  Got all my work done, which is always bonus, but I felt like my brain never really woke up.  Probably my fault for starting my work day with my semantics homework.  I only got one problem done but it took me hours and doing truth tables is really draining.  Did make it to the store to get some basic supplies and pick up the fixins for superbowl business tomorrow!  I wasn’t really intending to watch or cook for the superbowl until yesterday, but heck.. why not.  It’s always a good time.  And I’m always ready to make ridiculous nacho-based foods!

Durp.  This feels like one of those entries that plodded along because I’m completely unable to concentrate.  Murg.


Ooo, school starts tomorrow!  I’m rather excited about that this evening.  I just got my bag prepared for tomorrow, and packed with all the books and pens and things I need.  I’ve got a pretty easy day, I think – just Quechua and a meeting with the professor I’m TAing for.  I’m looking forward to it for sure!

Today turned into that relaxing and great day I was hoping for.  Got up pretty late after a debacle with our smoke alarm (chirpping, running out of batteries) at 4 am.  Had a nice lie in, a quick breakfast, and then we headed off to Vacaville to get some stuff done.  Lewis needed new pants that fit better, so we hit up the Eddie Bauer outlet and proceeded to spend waaaay more money than we probably needed.  But when all pants are like 15 dollars, and nothing you own fits any more… it’s time to sink some money in for the name of comfort.  We even ran into our Davis friends Ann and Joaquin there!   We had a nice lunch at Mels and then went and picked fabric for our bathroom curtain which maybe I’ll have time to pin and sew tomorrow.  Dinner with the Lawyers tonight was very relaxing.  We had some mixed drinks and talked through our LA plans (whew!) and a very tasty dinner.  Life is good.

Now I just need to try and get myself into bed before 1 am, so that I’ll actually make it to class on time in the morning.  Thankfully I don’t have any 8 am classes this quarter.  10 am will seem like a blessing!   And here’s to hoping that this quarter will be a better balanced, but equally enriching and stimulating experience.  Last quarter was a little out of control in places, and this quarter has a lot of potential for getting out of hand.  But as of tonight, I’m feeling relaxed and hopeful that this quarter will be a happy time full of friends and fun and adventure!  How’s that for a last-night-of-break cap?

The longest weekend!

So much good stuff going on these days, I wish I were blogging more regularly.  Oh blog, you’re such a demanding mistress.

Made it through classes Wednesday, and got a whole five kids in my section!  I brought them cookies and we had a short go at historical linguistics, which truth be told I’m rather glad I didn’t have to teach a full section of.  Maybe by spring quarter I’ll be up on historical linguistics and be less crap at explaining what’s going on.  Anyway, all I have left is this coming week which we’ll have to use for final review, and then we’re home free!

Seems like that means I should be panicking a bit more about my two final papers, but I’m feeling rather on top of it.  I finished coding my data today for the sociolinguistics project, and we’ve got a little party scheduled at our place tomorrow so some of our class can run through our stats analysis together.  I guess we’re officially grad school nerds!  Oh well!  The theory paper I’m writing came together really quickly last week while I was prepping for my presentation, so I’ve not got toomuch of the “hard” work left.  All I really need to do is the grunt work of sentence formation and junk, which I’m hoping I’m ready for!  I haven’t written an essay in a few years, but I feel like I got so much practice as an undergrad and I’ve had so much practice grading essays now…  I’m actually sort of looking forward to the challange!

So, lucky me, that means I’m not actually crazy busy over this holiday weekend.  My big task for the weekend was getting that sociolinguistics data ready, and I’ve had plenty of time to do other stuff besides that already!  We had a Thanksgiving party with Lewis’ family on Thursday night for which we made Cranberry Yummymuffins and had a good family time.  There was a Lawyer famliy friends post-Thanksgiving dinner last night which was a blast as well.  I always love seeing the Ladners and Coynes, and we stayed late and had a lovely chat with Lewis’ parents as well.  Yay.

Today I had set aside (besides work, of course) for holiday cheer!  I was feeling a little down, as I always do around the holidays because my family is so far away and things are so different now… so I spent the day making my own fun.  Started off by hitting up Ace to get Christmas lights for our ourdoors, and a wreath and wrapping paper and a present for our kitty!  We then got to go to the Co-op for the first time in literal weeks and got our pantry all stocked up.   I can’t explain how bolstering it is to get a few hundred dollars worth of groceries after weeks of living off the dregs in the cupboards.

Part of what we picked up today was stuff for a few of my weekend (it’s only Saturday!) cooking plans.  We got half a ham (6 pounds.. egad!) to bake for dinner tonight.  I made a glaze and baked it a la Cooks Illustrated, and it was sooooo incredibly good.  A little aggrivating without a proper meat thermometer (we have.. er had, one of those old school ones… which we broke while cooking tonight).  I made baking soda biscuits to go with it, and some mashed potatoes from Alice Waters’ vegetable cookbook.  So tasty!  I can’t believe how well it turned out!  We have enough ham for about 10 people at the moment… but I have at least a few plans for later in the week, including some tasty Navy Bean Soup.  Mm.   Tomorrow I’m going to make a lasagne for the folks coming over, and I’m holding out hopes for it!  I guess if it doesn’t work, there’s always ordering pizza as a backup.

Here’s to hoping we don’t need backup!  And to a fantastic and successful last week of my first quarter!


Blogging at night always makes me stay up too late. Perhaps I’ll make a little list and try not to be verbose. Today I:

  • went to a pub breakfast with Lewis’ high school buddies in Sacramento
  • did a small house tour with Lewis’ aunt and cousin, who also took some of their furniture out of our garage (yay!)
  • put away a few more boxes.  Nearly done with the immediately useable stuff…
  • started an audit of the music that made it onto my lappie to make sure everything’s there.  I’ve been missing a whole bunch of bits and pieces.  Lots left to do on this, but it’s nice to feel like certain bands are already taken care of.
  • chatted with Armand!  It’s so excellent to have him in my time zone again.  And with a girl to tease him about!

Tomorrow I’ve got to meet with our department administrator to get some TA paperwork done (W2 type stuff, my guess) and either meet with or email the graduate advisor about all those questions I was whining about.  Maybe I’ll take the lappy to campus and see if I can’t find a wireless hotspot or some such to use.

Now good night!