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Ye Olde Laure

Odd day today, but much productive.

Got up really early.  Woke up at my usual weekday wakeup time, 6:30, though it was in fact Sunday and I had every intention of sleeping in.  Eventually got up at 7, and spent a nice leisurely time working on fixing some pyjamas I had made with my sister that were too big.  So I ripped stiches and listed to NPR until Lewis got up and was ready for breakfast.  Got a lot of reading done after breakfast (I love it when papers go faster than you anticipate!) and then spent an hour at the gym.

Got home and had lunch, and just in time for me to start working again… sadly I got another optical migraine.  I had been hoping all this focus on de-stressing and the exercise I’ve been getting to do so was going to prevent these… and it’s been a few months since I’ve had one.  But it’s the midway point in the quarter, and I had a relatively stressful week.   Looking on the bright side, even with the migraine, I’m feeling much less stressed out than I was last quarter, and I at least seem to be staving off a majority of the panic attack-y heart palpitations.  And the migraine was smaller and less disruptive than it has been.  I took a rest with Lewis (who was napping anyway!) while it played out, and even managed to eventually get rid of that post-occular muddle-headed feeling.   So… oh well.  I’ve got more relaxation work to do before I’m out of the stressed-out woods, I suppose.

So I had a lazy evening, since I got so much work done this morning, and spent all night watching PBS (Nature + Masterpiece Theatre!) and working on these pyjama bottoms.  They turned out really great, actually!  I fixed all the things that went wrong the first time.  I put elastic and a tie in the waste, took something like four inches off the whole piece (as in overall width) and put the cuffs on.  All this was nicely easier than the Lewis PJs, partially because I’m doing it for the second time, I’m sure, but also the fabric is less stretchy and picky, and I didn’t bother with any piping or fancy stuff.  So the end result – revamped them entirely in just one day, and now they fit, and look nice, and are very comfortable!  I’m proud of how they turned out since I freehanded the repairs.  Soon I’ll put up pictures of both the Lewis and the Laurie PJs so I can properly crow about my work.  Yay!


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.

Poeppel & Popples

Mondays are one of my favorite days, because I’ve got my 7:30 yoga class.  Yoga at the end of the day is the best!  I come home all relaxed and feeling well and ready for bed.  Today’s class had a bit of an odd twist to it, though I’m trying to not make anything of it.  While we were doing our little cool-down meditation (where you just lie on your back and breathe) the instructor came and gave me a mini-massage – feet, knees, chest and head! – and didn’t seem to do this to anyone else.  It was a little awkward!  On the other hand, it was also very relaxing and felt nice.  I’m going to assume she was just being nice and maybe I looked like I needed some extra relaxation.  Otherwise, I’m not sure what to think!

The rest of my day was also excellent, and thankfully not also awkward!  Class this morning (cogneuro) just about killed me.  A big uppy-up was guest teaching, which actually isn’t unusual, since we usually have guest lecturers present the work their labs are doing once a week.  This one was strange because this guy already gave his lecture, but presumably our teacher was just out of town or something today, so he sat in for a second day to oversee the student presentations that we do the other half of our time.  Sadly, a kid was presenting work this guy had published, so it took him a whole hour to get through his 20-minute powerpoint since the uppy-up had a bunch of stuff to add after every point.  Pooh.  We only had two presenters today, so we were going to get out an hour early – but we almost got out late instead!  Not to worry though, because our Wednesday class was cancelled.  Yay!

I got lunch with Lewis at a great cafe just a few blocks from the Center, so that was a wonderful find.  Gourmet sandwiches for 6 bucks!  I’m always on the lookout for good places that aren’t crowded, expensive, or crappy.  This place is friendly, delicious, convenient, and relatively crowd-free!  Yay!  After lunch I was supposed to hang out in the lab until it was time for our inaugural Journal Club meeting, which my advisor-to-be had asked me to run today.  Presented two articles there, both of which had fruitful discussions, and I think I did very well.  Or at least as well as one could expect to do in a we’re-all-friends no-consequences sort of meeting.  I’m happy with the result, at any rate, and off the hook for journal club for probably the rest of the quarter.  Whoo!  Also got myself signed up for some more fMRI stuff this weekend — one session worth of scanning shadow (hopefully we’ll be less rushed and I’ll get more info) and once to be scanned myself!  I’m hoping to come out of this with a nice high-res picture of my very own brain.  And hopefully I don’t panic in the magnet.

Only other triumph worth mentioning today is that I finished sewing Lewis’ PJ shirt!  It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself, though I know I messed a number of things up.  There are just a handful of things that show (like the pocket which is kind of crooked), but I learned a hell of a lot, and there isn’t anything I think I didn’t learn from.  The next shirt will be mucho mas smoother.  I’m really excited to get moving on the pants so the whole outfit will be done, but I lost patience with it today after wrestling with the button holes for a whole hour and a half.

All things considered, it’s been a most triumphant day!


I had one of those days where I felt like I never really rose out of the bog and instead flailed around covered in swamp gunk all day.  Actually I take that back – this evening has been very nice.  I went to yoga (new instructor – decent!), came home, riled Lewis up for a walk to our local Sushi place, took another leisurely walk home, and then read an article I need to present to my lab’s reading group next week.  I think I’ll go to bed soon, though it’s not quite even 10 yet, because I’m feeling quite finished.

Rest of my day was decent enough, besides feeling generally incompetant.  I only have Lin 1 on Thursdays, which is both nice and somewhat aggrivating since I’ve got no other reason to be on campus, let alone awake so early.  I came home from that and got all the rest of my grading done, which I probably spent longer on than I needed to.  It’s amazing how well the kids are doing on the homeworks this week, since this is a part of the class kids usually don’t get very well.  Something must be working!

Though I might fall asleep on the couch so instead I did a little more work on Lewis’ PJs.  They’re coming together really surprisingly nicely, though every little thing is screwed up in one manner or another.  It’s all a big learning process, so I’m not too concerned with these… I haven’t thought through constructing a shirt before, and I know lots of things I’ll do differently next time.  However, I think the end result will be wearable (or at least I hope!) and if it keeps going like it has been so far, it will even be something to be proud of!  Today I sewed the front panels to the back piece, and got the whole collar made (including fancy-pants piping!).  Haven’t attached it yet, but I guess that’s off a few steps further.  I’m getting a little nervous as we get closer to the sleeve parts, but I don’t know if in reality those are going to be any worse than anything else.  But… circular!   Does seem daunting.

I’m pro-quette

It’s been a pretty fantastic minimal-work type of day.  In short:

  • went to lin 1 this morning, did very little, but had a nice chat with my co-TAs after class.
  • came home, had a really good salad for lunch (blood oranges, pecans and goat cheese!)
  • read outside in the hothot sun for a while
  • played two games of croquette with Lewis!
  • hit up yoga, felt relaxed and well stretched
  • Lewis made me the tastiest dinner wrap evar
  • came home and attempted to begin sewing Lewis’ PJs… marginal success, but I’m feeling stoked!

Section tomorrow AM, so I should probably take myself off to bed.  I do wish this yoga class were a little later in the day because I have plenty of time after class to get myself all worked up again.  Lame!


Ah, Monday nights.  Monday nights are my slow n’ easy yoga nights.  So round about now, I’m feeling all relaxed and ready to crawl into bed for a restful sleep.  It’s always somewhat difficult coming home and trying to decide what to do with myself in these last few hours, but tonight I think bed might win out.  Bed and some enjoyable (though still school) reading.  It’s the first time I’ve really read science papers outside my discipline, and it’s funny now how relaxing the old structural linguistics books are.  These cognitive neuroimaging papers are going to be the death of me!

Today was a nice and abbreviated day.  The reading group I thought we had finished setting up apparently didn’t fit enough schedules to go through with, so it’s sort of indefinitely on hold.  That’s just fine with me, the short day was nice.  CogNeuro was a little troublesome this morning because I hadn’t realized we were supposed to read the papers other people were presenting on in advance and come prepared with questions and all that.  So I don’t think I got any participation points, and it bothers me somewhat that it appears my professor writes down the name of everyone who talks in class thus somewhat obliging everyone to have something to say all the time.  I understand it’s supposed to make us critical thinkers, but I feel so far out of my domain on these cognitive neuroscience topics, especially the vision research we’re talking about right now, that I seem to either have no questions at all, or they sound dumb to me.  Oh well.  I’m running through my “options” mantra and reminding myself that ones days worth of performance is nothing that needs to reflect on me generally, and I’ve got all quarter to get myself going on this.  Not to mention, I’m feeling a bit pleased with myself for understanding any of what’s going on, and if my deficit reflects itself in an absence of participation… that’s fine.

So I spent the whole rest of my day reading cogneuro papers, and preparing myself for reading more neuroling papers soon.  I got that all squared away pretty early, so I still had time to pin and cut Lewis’ jammies!  It’ll all be coming together before I know it.  I just hope they fit.  The material is really comfortable, so I’m not too worried about them being cozy, but it would be nice if they fit in some rational way.  Then I took myself off to yoga, and sort of failed to get in “the zone” cause the room was rather crowded and the lady next to me was quite distracting. At the end, though perhaps not feeling all centered, I am at least feeling all stretched.  I’d go so far as to even call myself relaxed!  And as I said before, that’s my only gym goal.  So hurrah, another success.

Now I think Roman Jakobson and I have a study date!

A good word: cytoarchitectonics

Super productive day, but I don’t feel much like being expository tonight.  Mostly because I’m pooped!  List form it is:

  • Cogneuro class this morning – learned about EEGs.  Very neat!
  • Met with lab professor to set up research plan for this quarter.  Starting a Monday reading group (to count as my “directed reading”) and a Wednesday hands-on training deal.  Professor wants me to be trained to analyze the raw fMRI data he has collectd but not processed yet.  Also intend on starting a new study (to be partially directed by my interests?) and gathering pilot data already this quarter!
  • Spent a while at the gym doing generic cardio stuff (stairs, mostly) cause I think it helps destress me a bit.  Also tried an actual weight lifting device, and now my arms are sore in the strangest places!
  • Made oatmeal cookies with orange-essenced cranberries and white chocolate chips.  They turned out pretty good, for a recipe I hadn’t tried before.  Should bake them a little less next time.
  • Did a bunch of paper trolling (as in, reference chasing and google scholar browsing) for papers to start our reading group off with.  Too many choices already, but I found some really good background papers for myself at least.
  • Traced the pattern for Lewis’ PJs onto sturdier tracing fabric, and cut out all the pieces.  It’s starting to look like I’m doing something with this!

That’s all from me tonight.  This week is going crazy slow!


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…

Inside In

Big day, big day.   I slept in, had a lazy morning with my sweetie, and had a lovely walk.  We also finally made Valentine’s plans, which I’m really looking forward to!   Seems like I spent the next million hours grading papers and getting my semantics reading done, but when I came out the other side it was pretty early.  Managed a real dinner (Lewis made some Asian coleslaw – my favorite!) and watched a Pink Panther movie.   Hurray for PBS!  I can’t forget to mention as well that Lewis has been working on cinnamon rolls this evening and I’m reaaally looking forward to tomorrow’s breakfast adventures!

Also embarked on some sewing projects… turned some scraps into hankerchiefs for Lewis.  I was also hoping to cover a pillow we had sitting around to take in to the TA office to snazz our couch up.  Learned a very important lesson… you apparently can’t sew all the sides of something together and then hope to then turn it inside out.  Especially when you’ve sewn a pillow into it.  Har har.  Fixed it, though it’s not as handsome as I had envisioned.  Decent for a completely half-assed no-pattern sort of thing.  It will snazz our couch nicely, and it was an amusing learning experience if nothing else!


With her faithful steed by her side, the Laurie plows ahead.

With her faithful steed by her side, the Laurie plows ahead.

Well, there’s no good way to sum up my days these days except to say: I read the hell out of my day.  I woke up, put food in my mouth, read, went grocery shopping, read, had dinner, and finally finished reading!  Yay!  Knocked back my first Bloomfield essay today, which was nice to get off my plate.  I put together a little plan for what essays to read on what days, and I know it probably doesn’t matter much, but that’s how my brain works.  Gotta read long essays on less busy days, short essays in short spurts, etc., etc. So it was a long-essay day.  Got through a good, basic, foundational-type work from 1914 that sort of set out everything I’m supposed to know about the basics of linguistics in fancy-pants philosopher talk.  Except it’s all the stuff we learned all those years in undergrad, so it was more like a little review than a mind-blowing experience.  Still, nice to get the explanations of the basics by guys laying them down, instead of reading one of the modern textbook reduxes like the kids I’m teaching now.  Plus, I learned like 15 new words today, which is pretty impressive!  At any rate, the picture at the right there should serve as a pretty good summary image of my entire life at this point.  Looks cosy, doesn’t it?

Only other notable success today, besides actually having gone grocery shopping, is that I finally threaded my new sewing machine!  The directions they sent me were lacking some pretty crucial information, and Lewis and I both read through and failed to get it working the first night.  Watched a slew of youtube videos — the first constructive use I’ve found for them! — and managed to get my way through.  Momentary major disasters aside, I sewed two things together!  Hurrah!  Maybe tomorrow or the next day I’ll get to repair some of my stuff, which is what I’m really looking forward to.

I had planned to make pumpkin ice cream tonight, but I just didn’t have it in me after all that reading.  It’s crazy how difficult it is to switch modes from this stuff.  Like I’ve mentioned, I’m reading in a manner I’ve never tried before, and it’s both mentally exhausting and really rewarding.  I’ve never lived this cerebrally before, and it’s mind-blowing in its own way.  I feel like sometimes my mind just completely empties when I’m trying to do something like remember how to make a sandwich, and it’s not as if I’m thinking about linguistics… I don’t even know what I’m thinking about.   I’m just failing to do anything at all.  But I don’t mind so much, it’s a bit like being on my own private mental adventure, full of mystery and surprises around every turn!  With that in mind, tomorrow I start my first full week.  Phew.  I feel like I’ve been in school a year already.