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The first day felt like two days, the second day felt like a few hours…

Today was a go-go-go-go kind of day.  My buddy and co-TA Ariel emailed me last night to say that she had gotten food poisioning (boo!) and asked if I could take over her sections today.  I have my Friday section at 9, and she teaches the 10 and 11 sections… so that meant three straight hours of teaching this morning.  It actually went really well, and it was the last week of section for our Friday kids, so it was kinda nice to know I wouldn’t see these folks again.  I had to bump my office hours back an hour to accomodate the sections, so by 1 when I was finally free, it had already been quite a long day.  Tried to grade papers over lunch, and then I had my three-hour typology class… by then I was pretty spent but I hadn’t even started on my own work, let alone finished grading for the day.  So I had Lewis come pick me up and take me out to dinner (I had to be driven to school this morning because my bike tire was flat and I didn’t have time to fix it!) and then I came home and got right back to work.  Now it’s 10:30.  And it’s bedtime.  But i got so much done today, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.  Kids taken care of, essays graded, classes attended, and I’m ready for my weekend preparing for the big presentation Monday.  I’ll try not to panic about that too much between now and then… but damn if I’m not a bit nervous.


Another day wasted on an early morning migraine – 7:45 am this time. So on the plus side, I didn’t have to bike to school in the heat. Though I did miss my students turning in their essays, which is a shame since I kinda like to keep an eye on how things are going there. Lewis managed to pick them up for me later, and so at least I’m not behind on my grading. I got sadly little work done today, though I did read a paper and write the first section of my neuroscience essay. Mostly I just wasted my day, waiting for my head and eyes to feel like they were done being pressurized. 10 day to go or so, eh? Maybe that’s what’s stressing me out.  But for the record can I just slip this in: Three migraines in four weeks?  What the fuck?

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!

Savory snacks

I dremt this morning that I decided not to go to class, and then omnipotently realized that none of the other TAs came either, and felt bad about it.   Then I woke up and realized that I had actually turned my alarm off already, and thus was already a bit late.  Not much, but mussing up my pre-consciousness routine always messes with my day.  My optimal wake-up strategy is to wake up the first time my alarm goes off, calculate how many minutes until I actually get out of bed (usually the exact same time, give or take about four minutes) and then sleep in three to five minute chunks until I arrive at the sweet spot (total = about 18 minutes).  If I have to haul myself out of bed the first time I see the clock I stay muddled all morning, if not all day.

So my day was sort of a drag.  I got my handout made for the presentation I’m giving tomorrow, and I got all my papers graded and put in the grade book.  I also went to yoga, and had a particularly rough class today.  Somehow it seemed to take me three times longer to do anything than it should.  And I was mid-level grumpy all day, which is stupidly so hard to shake, and compounds on itself.  Meh.  Anyway, I’ll be glad to have tomorrow out of the way, and this week over with.  We’re having a cute game & snacks night with a bunch of us linguistics kids, which should be a lot of fun.  So I just have to get through a section, my office hours (which are sometimes quite a trial..) and this presentation, and then I’m home free.  Phew.  Four weeks of nothing, and then one last class presentation, and we’ll be on summer vacation before I know it!


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.


It’s been a down-and-up kind of day.  I’m hoping for the opposite tomorrow.  For some reason, grading homeworks always makes me sort of grumpy (usually because students are all the time trying to pass of half-finished and shittily-done work as credit worthy)… so today being the first homework day sort of put me over the edge this afternoon.  My morning was actually pretty good, class was amusing and we had a good meeting afterword, but the wind kicked up and made my ride home sort of frustrating, and then I hit the homework pretty hard.  I think this is all a long way of saying, “something stressed me the hell out” and it took me all evening to recover.  Had a lovely dinner, though, and spent the evening watching some Masterpiece Theater and listening to jazz with Lewis.  Cheered me up considerable.  And now… bed, so that I may section in the morning.  Thankfully, section usually makes up for what I lose in homeworks – faith in my students, enjoyment of TAing… that sort of thing.

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?

and put me a peg leg on

Hooooboy.  It’s a week.  It’s midterm week for my chilluns.  I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but work for this class in the last week (overlooking, of course, our oh-so-important data gathering fieldtrip Sunday I failed to write about).  I spent all weekend grading papers and homeworks and writing the midterm for this Friday.  Blurg.  I got no reading done, and have been generally lacking in sanity for a number of consecutive days.

I just need to focus on getting through tomorrow, and get through Thursday.  I have some freedom thereafter.  No sessions on Friday, one class canceled on Thursday.. if only I didn’t have to present a few papers that morning anyway.  Sigh.  But it’ll be alright.

I guess I was just hoping that I’d feel footloose and fancy free after the scariest part of my quarter, collecting data, was over.  But instead it felt like the last milestone before the marathon.  I didn’t know I could “buckle down” any more than I have been, but there you go.  A few nights worth of being up at 8 am and working till midnight is starting to wear on me a bit.  But I think I can hold out till Friday.  Which is also Halloween.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to carve my pumpkin that afternoon?  Seems sad that it would happen after Halloween…

I did sign up for classes today, and pretty much get (finally) caught up on my work that’s been slippery-sloping (if you will) since last week.  Pretty soon here I need to pick my paper topic for my theory class and get moving on my research.  Classes for next term are looking really neat.  I’m taking Advanced Semantics, the Philosophy of Language (why do I do this to myself?), and the introductory Functional Cognitive Imaging (where I get to learn to read fMRIs from a cognitive science standpoint) …  It’s quite a load.  Also, I’m the reader (as in, paper grader) for Intro Phonology, which ought to be righteous.  I’m a bit nervous overall, but it should be good to sink my teeth into some serious theory and stretch my wings / broaden my horizons into the more concrete brain science business.  I hope!

Alright, it’s midnight already and by my count I’ve finished everything on my to do list today and more.  Quite a bit more.  Go me.  Go me, to bed.

Aw, rats.

We had some.  In our grape vine!

So today was grapevine trimming day.  The Lawyers came over this morning and we cut down all the non-woody growth on the vine, which should be its natural wintering state anyway.  Found out that we didn’t have an infestation by any name, but definite evidence of prolonged hang-out-itude, so it’s good we were on top of it to dissuade any rodents from wintering with us.  We also took down the very poorly placed hackberry that was dangling threateningly over our neighbor’s yard.  It seems to be a volunteer from many years ago, but it was growing right against the fence and in between two obviously planted birch trees it seems to have been choking out.  Most (all?) the hackberries in Davis are unhealthy anyway, so it was sort of a matter of time before this one got all yucky and dripped sap and goo all over.  This is why our neighbor wanted it cut down!

Anyway, it does make us the tree-killin’ neighbors.  Our local busybody (and resident 8-year-old) was rather perturbed about the grape vine (though it’s in our back yard…) though hasn’t seemed to notice anything about the tree in the front the city cut down last week, nor the hackberry we took out.  He’s selectively protective, though I do have to allow the theory that since his best friends used to live in our house he has fond memories of the grapevine and/or palm tree.  It is a little suspect, I completely admit, that we moved in here two months ago and have lost three and a half (if you’re counting all the grapevine we took out) trees.  The city tree took everyone by surprise, though, since it turns out they didn’t tell anyone they were going to cut it down.  We just came home and it was gone!  Sounds like (from the Lawyers’ side) we’ll have some new trees in soon.  The city owes us one, too!

Other than that, it was papers, papers, papers today.  Finished the second section’s worth of homework from this week, and read the paper I set aside for myself today.  Should have perhaps done a little more with my evening, but I was feeling quite off post dinner and decided to take the night off.  Been spending a good amount of time getting Firefox all gussied up since I realized the new Ask doesn’t get along with Opera.  I was getting a bit tired of having to switch between the two for all my Flash based stuff as well… but I’m not sure how long the Firefox trial will go.  Just giving it a whirl for now.

Big small day tomorrow.  It’s Monday, my blessedly least intensive day, but it’s also the day the undergrads need to turn in their first essays!  Hopefully that won’t be too much chaos, but you never know.  I’ve already had a few last-minute panickers, but nothing too intense.  I’m more worried about the content of the essays and grading them than anything else.  Plus I have a lot of homework to do tomorrow… Lewis and I need to whip up an “interview schedule” for our socioling project, and I’ve got more exciting reading to do.  Egad!  It’s certainly never dull around here.


What a wonderful day!

Got up early, but spent most of my day grading the first set of homework.  That stuff really burns me out… but the kids seem to be getting syntax more than I feared they might, so that’s great!  Maybe we won’t have so much work to do this week to get syntax whipped into shape.  Yay. I also made cider this morning! It’s delicious and it makes the whole house smell nice while it steeps. I even used our own homemade apple juice from a big bag of jonagolds I juiced a few days ago. So tasty.

As soon as I was done with that, I was ready to get out of the house!  Lewis and I borrowed a car and got ourselves down to a bike shop to fix my poor tires.  Turns out I have an abnormal tire size, so the first shop sent us away with a referral to a different shop.  Second shop only had one set of tires that would fit me bike, so that’s what we’ve got now.  They’re “slicks” (as in, have no tread) which I’ve never ridden on before, but as the guy at the bike shop helpfully pointed out, the barely treaded and now worn down tires I was using were essentially treadless anyway.  Gave the bike a test drive this evening with the new gear, and so far so good.  It’s also nice to have brand new tires that don’t have any structural problems or previous wounds.  If only I could say the same for my tubes!

Anyway, after the bikeventure, we took ourselves to a pumpkin patch to pick out some halloween friends!  Getting there was a bit of an adventure, actually, since Lewis and I had borrowed the manual transmission Bug, and neither of us have driven stick for quite some time.  As it turns out, all my years of Giles (approximation here, not my car, but an identical looking one) played out in my favor. New VWs have touchy clutches, though the actual shifting is much smoother and less of a workout than my dear Giles. That poor guy had such shifting trouble! Anyway, I ended up driving to the pumpkin patch cause the stick was getting the better of Lewis. Must admit, it was fun!

Pumpkin patch was great. Lots of good gourds, lots of families and kids, and baby animals! In addition to a pumpkin patch, this particular place had a petting barn! We didn’t pay to go in (since going in pretty much meant the petting, not the looking portion, and it was mostly under-8 types), but we did wander the perimeter and admire all the cute things. They had baby rabbits, chickens, and kittens, and even a baby goat no bigger than our Boo. A very nice touch! So we made it home with our two-gourd bounty (mine, a traditional and stalwart looking pumpkin, and Lewis’ some sort of green gourd) for way less money than I anticipated. Yay!

Came home and sort of completely crashed, as is wont to happen. Failed on the dinner front, though I was all excited to make “Clare Hall Soup” today. Perhaps tomorrow. But importantly, I did manage to finish the reading I had set out for the night, and that puts me in pretty good stead for tomorrow. The Lawyers’ are coming over as well tomorrow for some general maintenance, so it ought to be a busy one. Ah, the weekend.