February 20, 2007

Mardi Gras/ Ash Wednesday

So did you celebrate today?

What (if anything) are you giving up for Lent?

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:24 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 07, 2007

This one's for the teachers: a question

So I know that many of you loyal readers (commenters and lurkers, both) are teachers, at many levels from preschool all the way up to college/ adult education.

I've got a question for you:

How do you explain to your students that just because your program is small and all of the faculty are willing to bend over backwards to help them, DOES NOT mean that they can take advantage of that on a regular basis?

For example, how do I explain that even though I told them I would be more than happy to answer questions, I WILL NOT tell them whether a particular number is the right or wrong answer.  ESPECIALLY when the question is part of the take-home portion of the exam.

How do I explain that if there were 700 students in the class (as would be expected at a school like UCLA), as the instructor, I wouldn't give them the time of day, let alone guarantee that I wouldn't laugh at them for begging to have the exam postponed and then ADMITTING they were working on the take home test together???

I guess what I'm asking is how do I explain to these children that even though there are only a few of them I am holding them to a high standard?  And that it's for their own good?  I mean, they are in this program because they want to go to MEDICAL SCHOOL.  They won't get any breaks there.  And they MUST be up to standards, or they'll fail miserably.

I will not set them up for failure.  They can't see that what I am teaching them is the VERY BASE for the next 7-12  years of their education.  And if they don't get this, the rest will be even worse.  If I don't hold them to the same standard, they WILL fail.

So how do I do this without being the bad guy?

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:03 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

March 09, 2007

What do these two articles have in common?

Democrats Cancel Fox News Debate


Plane crashes on Ind. street; 2 killed

Answer below the fold

Read More "What do these two articles have in common?" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 10:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Since all the cool kids are doing it....

Shamelessly copied from Rachel and Mandy.....


Create your own Friend Quiz here

Take the quiz here! I can't wait to see how well you do!  I made some of the questions hard and some easy on purpose!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:37 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

Because I'm bored with work and trying to be patient...

...waiting for the realtor to call me back....

Anyway, so I finally got the time to catch up on TV this weekend.

WTF with 24?  I mean really.  They bring back my FAVORITE Character of all time, and he's a f***ing wet nurse to a crazy person?  I thought she was dealing better than THAT at the end of last season.

Yeah, I know that was last week.  I'm just stuck there.

And did anyone else notice that Ricky Schroeder has that Luke Skywalker thing going on... he used to be cute but all of a sudden he looks WAY old?  Hmmmm.

AND DWS (Dancing With the Stars) is back.  Finally.  I love that show.  Yes, people are taking bets about Heather Mills' leg falling off on live TV.  Sad.  Really sad.  As far as she's concerned, if she got all of Paul's $$, why the hell doesn't she have a better prosthetic?  I mean you should see the cool robocop/ six million dollar man legs that some Iraq War amputees are getting.  And the cheap ass VA pays for those.

In fact the TiVo is about to get quite busy.  Deadliest Catch comes back in 10 days, and then LPBW starts the next week.  And House returns next Tuesday courtesy of less AI.

So, what are you looking forward to watching this spring?

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

She called me back...

We officially have a realtor.

Here we go, folks.

Anyone house buying advice you can share would be much appreciated.

Posted by caltechgirl at 04:49 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Brother, can you spare a moment?

The internets are a funny thing, they bring us so close to people and places we would never have otherwise known.  That can be a wonderful thing.  The real shit of it, though, is when the people you care for are so far away, there is little you can do except offer a virtual hug and some words of comfort.  But what makes it better is the ability to reach out to others and let them help you give those hugs and words.

A couple of my friends are going through some really rough times right now, and  I'd really love it if you could click through and offer whatever support you can.

My dear Vanessa is 8 weeks pregnant with twins after 5 cycles of IVF, and she's alone today and having signs of a possible miscarriage despite a very encouraging report and scan last week.  Drop by and offer her some encouragement, love, and prayers if you are so inclined.

And our Dana, who you may remember from her former blogs The Origin of Soul and Frankensoul as well as her most recent incarnation, The Juggler's Mistress, is starting the process of an emotionally difficult and financially draining divorce.  Her blogdaddy Jim has all the details.  Please click over to Jim's place for more.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 04, 2007

Freeform Fiction with Phoenix

Phoenix has a new fiction challenge up.  1,000 words inspired by 3 pictures.  Due Friday April 13.

I think I already have an opening sentence....

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 06, 2007

The Princess is getting a puppy sister! Scratch That

One of the CaltechMom's friend's dogs recently had puppies, and as we've been thinking long and hard about getting a little sibling for the Princess, she offered us one, and we accepted!

The new puppy is a little black standard smooth-coated Dachshund, and CaltechMom will pick her up tomorrow.

The only problem is that we won't get to meet her until after Mom has had her for a couple of weeks.  And she needs a name before then!.

This is where you all come in.  We're having a hard time giving Puppy-girl a name!

We'd prefer a girly name, two syllables, since that's easiest for the dog to learn, and something suitable to a little black doxie.

Also, it can't rhyme with "Molly" or "Dolly" because the Princess' name already does.

Have at it folks.  There may be a prize for the person suggesting the eventual name!

No Dog. She called my mom tonight and said her brother took my dog for himself. The rotten bastard.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:02 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

May 25, 2007

May 25, 1977

Happy Birthday Star Wars!

So, did you see it on opening day?  I was 6 months old then, so the answer is NO for me. In fact I didn't see one in the theater until Return of the Jedi.

How has Star Wars affected/changed YOUR life?
Posted by caltechgirl at 09:15 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 05, 2007

Real life intervenes

Working on a book chapter. If you have keys, feel free to pop in and post! Otherwise, chat in the comments, I guess.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 09, 2007

Another 10 minute quiz

Name all 43 Presidents. It took me less than 5 minutes, but I would have been done in under 3 if I had remembered who was before old Abe sooner.

It's not super hard, as Presidents with the same last name are entered together when you type in the name. The timer starts when you click the link.

h/t El Capitan

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Step right up, folks! It's a contest, well, sorta....

It's time to make your "official" predictions for who lives and dies in Harry Potter 7. No major prizes, just brownie points and maybe gratutious linky love. Your prediction should have two parts: 1) Does Harry make it, or not? 2) Who else did she kill off?

Even if you've only seen the movies, I'm interested in other people's takes on it. Especially if you disagree radically, or if you agree, but for different reasons. Post your predictions in the comments. Contest ends July 20, 2007. Void where prohibited. Do not fold, spindle, or multilate.

I'll start: My own "official" prediction is Snape and Hagrid. Maybe Draco Malfoy. Snape is a good guy and proves it via his death. Similarly I suspect Malfoy bites it to prove his own "redemption". And poor Hagrid is the "Innocent" of the stereotypical hero myth, so I suspect he gets caught in the crossfire and his senseless death serves as a spur to Harry's ultimate action against He Who Shall Not Be Named. I think Harry lives too. He almost MUST. And if Harry lives, Ginny probably does too. Remember, Harry WILL end up with Ginny. Hermione is in love with Weasley. Speaking of, if she kills off either Ron or Hermione before they get a happily ever after I will hurl the book at whatever is close and cry for a while. Profanity will be uttered, too. Deep, dark profanity, of the sort that forms the proverbial cloud over Lake Michigan...

this post inspired by sarahk's

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:21 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 12, 2007

Haven't done one of these in a while!

Care to play along?  As always, my answers in the extended...

1. Happen ::

2. Terribly ::

3. History ::

4. Master ::

5. Petrified ::

6. Moan ::

7. Attack ::

8. Picture ::

9. Students ::

10. Potter ::

More weekly mutterings here.
h/t Quicksilver Jenna

Read More "Haven't done one of these in a while!" »
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July 16, 2007

Mutter this:

This week's Unconscious Mutterings:
1. Situation ::
2. Theme song ::
3. Kelly ::
4. Club ::
5. Swerve ::
6. Couch ::
7. Bigfoot ::
8. Arbitrary ::
9. Inventor ::
10. Blazer ::

As always, my answers in the extended and feel free to play along in the comments!

Read More "Mutter this:" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:29 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 22, 2007

Emerging from my Harry Potter Haze...

Of course, I was done with HP7 on Thursday night, courtesy of the dude who photographed the "carpet" book. Thanks, bud. You rawk.

We did go out yesterday morning and get 2 copies, and I finished it with DH yesterday evening (we were reading aloud).

To make up for it, we set ourselves up for some more serious house work, and this morning we nearly finished the front room.

But this evening I am going to snuggle back up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione and re-read a few favorite moments.

So, what did you love? What did you NOT love? Spoilers sure to abound in the comments, if you're a slow reader.....

My own thoughts in the extended:

Read More "Emerging from my Harry Potter Haze..." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 04:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 23, 2007

Fun with Google Talk

I know, I am both a geek and a Google whore.

But I love google talk.  Not the least of which includes the fact that you can run Gtalk from your Gmail without having to download the chat program or that you don't need to add people to your list manually, all you have to do is send them an email from your Gmail account.

But by far my favorite aspect of google talk is the "status message" that you can customize.  That's so much better than "available" or "not available"

Recent status messages I've posted:

I am not among the rice-eating robots
I wish I'd never been broiled
I have a date with Harry Potter
Ice!  We have Ice!
I'm afraid of Farmer Shootypants too

I've noticed some of you getting into the act too! Notably sarahk and Paul Burgess who usually have an amusing message attached to their avatar...

So, fellow googleheads, do you have Gtalk?  Do you like to leave wacky messages on your "status" line too?

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:45 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 27, 2007

Needing good vibes

As many of you know, from my occasional posts about the subject, my dear friend Helen is 26 weeks pregnant with twins after a series of failed bouts of IVF.

Last night brought word that our girl was in the hospital, with hydronephrosis and a terrible kidney infection.  She's being treated for the infection and the twins (her Lemonheads) are being monitored for any signs that they want to jump ship early.

So far so good, as there's no sign yet of early labor and the antibiotics seem to be helping the infection.  However, the doctors don't know whether or how they'll treat the hydronephrosis.

Which is all a long way of saying that our girl needs love and good wishes and prayers, which I am sure she and Angus can feel and do appreciate, even in the UK.

Please drop by and give her some love and encouragement.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 28, 2007


If you could only watch 10 currently in production TV shows, which would they be?

In no particular order:

The Dresden Files
Ugly Betty
Deadliest Catch
The First 48
Burn Notice
The Closer
Around the Horn
Pardon the Interruption

Stolen from Ith's LJ.

What about you?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:20 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 30, 2007

Mutter, Mutter, Who's got the Mutter.....

Here we go again.....

1. Traditional ::
2. Popeye ::
3. Gin ::
4. Harsh ::
5. Topless ::
6. The thing ::
7. Defiant ::
8. Huge ::
9. Food ::
10. Lenny ::

You know the rules. My answers in the extended post.....

Read More "Mutter, Mutter, Who's got the Mutter....." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 08:16 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 08, 2007

This week's muttering

Here we go again.... My answers in the extended. Play along in the comments!

1. Voices ::
2. Have to ::
3. Machine ::
4. Seventh grade ::
5. Beach ::
6. Roommate ::
7. Cyclone ::
8. Theater ::
9. Pregnant ::
10. Phoebe ::

Read More "This week's muttering" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 01:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 15, 2007

Mutter me this....

Here we go again. You know what to do.

1. Voyage ::
2. Patricia ::
3. Transformation ::
4. Vocabulary ::
5. San Francisco ::
6. Edward ::
7. Sawyer ::
8. Literary ::
9. Tiger ::
10. Seal ::

Read More "Mutter me this...." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 10:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 17, 2007

Stupid computer tricks

So I was checking my email earlier, and then, as usual, I closed the laptop and set it on the floor to watch TV.  About an hour later, I picked it up, and it was REALLY hot.  Like it was trying to work and couldn't get the fan on.  So I picked it up and set it on the fan pad we have, and opened it up.  The screen was black and said "Can not find Operating System".

After two panicked seconds I restarted it, and everything seems to be working fine, except Firefox seems to have reloaded all of my extensions, as if I had just installed them for the first time, and I had to reset my profile and reload my rss feed list into Sage.  All my buttons and bookmarks were present, though.

Anybody got any clue?  Virus check didn't find anything new....  It seems to be cooling down, too.

It also has this trick of unfastening the battery because the fan pad pushes the lock bar over, but it hasn't done that in a while, so I think this is unrelated to that.....

Oh, and it's a Sony VAIO VGN-SZ330P running Windows XP.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Mutter Monday

You know the deal.....

1. Uneven ::
2. Wonder ::
3. Spider ::
4. Emma ::
5. Swing::
6. Orbit ::
7. Flirt ::
8. Donation ::
9. Veil ::
10. Atmosphere ::

As always, my answers below the jump.....

Read More "Mutter Monday" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

More Mutter Fun

Somehow I missed last week's.....

1. Darling ::
2. Majesty ::
3. Pebble ::
4. Fate ::
5. Instant ::
6. Screen ::
7. Unplugged ::
8. Dairy ::
9. Benefactor ::
10. Market ::

Read More "More Mutter Fun" »
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 13, 2007

I'm #7 (on the third list!)

How about Professor Tenure-Caused-My-Divorce, or Professor My-Lobotomy-Improved-My-Personality, or my favorite, Professor Your-Life-Means-Less-Than-My-Experiments...

Stolen wholesale from Jon Cogburn (it was just TOO good to excerpt!):

Irritating Assistant Professors

  1. (from phred)  Professor I'm-a-Fraud-and-Pray-To-Jesus-That-No-One-Will-Figure-It-Out,
  2. (from phred)  Professor I'm-Above-This-Place-And-Should-Be-At-Harvard,
  3. Professor Rebel-Without-A-Clue,
  4. (from Mark Silcox) Professor Only-Teaches-His-G**d***-Dissertation,
  5. Professor Promising-Young-Man.

Irritating Full Professors

  1. (spelling courtesy Mikhail Emilianov) Professor Couldabeena-contenda,
  2. (from Knecht Ruprecht) Professor Exploits-Grad-Students-as-Cheap-Labor-in-his-Consulting-Business,
  3. (from Mikhail Emilianov and rm) Professor I-Have-Five-Stories/Jokes-So-Get-Used-To-Hearing-Them-All-The-Time,
  4. (from John Emerson)  Professor I've-Got-A-Nobel -Prize-So-Go-F***-Yourself,-I-Can-Talk-About-Whatever -I-Want,
  5. Professor Midlife-Crises,
  6. Professor Old-Yellow-Notes,
  7. Professor Screws-Up-Even-Simple-Things-So-As-To-Get-Out-Of-Service-Work
  8. Professor Slum-Lord,
  9. (from soup biscuit) Professor Tells-You-Everyday-How-Far-He-Is-From-Retirement,
  10. (from Knecht Rupert) Professor Twenty-Graduate-Students-Do-All-My-Research,
  11. (from redfoxtailshrub) Professor Used-To-Be-Cool-But-Now-Viewed-With-Knowing-Bemused-Looks,
  12. Professor Uses-Tenure-To-Pursue-Hobbies-Or-Job-On-The-Side-Full-Time,
  13. (from Mark Silcox) Professor Wishes-He-Was-Rich.

Irritating Professors That Could be Assistant or Full-

  1. (from rm) Professor Complains-About-Working-Conditions,
  2. Professor Drunk-Pants,
  3. (from John Emerson) Professor I-Could-and-Sometimes-Do-Recite-This-Lecture-in-my-Sleep,
  4. (from soup biscuit) Professor Laughs-At-His-Own-Jokes,
  5. (from rm) Professor My-Jokes-Aren't-Funny-But-They're-All-I-Have,
  6. (from cryptic ned) Professor Only-Person-At-Tiny-College-To-Have-Ever-Published-A-Book-In-A-Printing-Of-More-Than-200,
  7. (from The Llama Butchers) Professor Seriously-Tardy-With-Grading-Papers-Because-He's-Blogging-on-Useless-Crap-All-The-Time
  8. Professor Stared-Into-The-Void-And-The-Void-Stared-Back!-(Though-In-Reality-Void-Finds-Whole-Business-Distasteful),
  9. (from Sifu Tweety) Professor Your-Work-Will-Never-Be-As-Important-As-Mine,
  10. Professor Watches-Sports,
  11. (from Rachel) Professor Wears-Clothes-With-Many-Holes-As-Though-That-Credentials-his-World-of-Ideas-ness.
  12. Professor Will-F***-Anything-Young-and-Naive-Enough-To-Admire-Him.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 10, 2007

I Still Believe

This gets better every year.  Santa Claus IS real.  And if you are patient enough, and believe enough, he brings the presents our hearts desire most.

From one of my favorite writers (and favorite people):

After spending an entire day either in a hot and stuffy conference room full of angry, yelling, exasperated voices, or on London transport, I took a very long journey home and finally made it home at 8:30 at night. Which meant, at the end of the day, that I had spent a whopping 6 hours in transit and 7 hours straight in meetings, stopping only to exercise my bladder's rights and to scarf down a thoroughly unsatisfactory baked potato, and that I got home a shattered shell of a human being.

But all that time in transit allowed for something that I needed-a little thinking time. I needed some time to sit down and think about why it is that I was missing the holidays so badly, why it was that the baubles and bangles weren't getting into my heart, why the lights reflected in disjointed pools from my disbelieving eyes. This (for me) has nothing to do with religion and I don't want to get into that aspect with this post, I'm simply talking about the spirit of hope and laughter that the holidays imbue you with. I thought about why it was that I was unable to project myself into my favorite Christmas activities-watching Scrooged, A Miracle on 34th Street, and the old Burl Ives' steadies Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Why couldn't I listen to the whole John Denver and the Muppets Christmas CD? What was happening?

And then it hit me as fast as it hit Susan in A Miracle on 34th Street (not the old one, the newer one with the doe-eyes Elizabeth Perkins and the new lisping Susan who is so damn cute it made my ovaries throb). I realized with a slight smile and a shake of the head why it was that I no longer felt so light and joyous about Christmas. In one moment, a smile spread on my face and I started to laugh (which I was on a crowded train at the time, so at least the guy moved away from me, lest I have something contagious).

The reason I felt so lost was that I didn't believe in Santa Claus anymore.

I had outgrown him and joined the race of jaded adults too afraid to let themselves confess that there might be something just a little bit bigger to life than they would be willing to admit.

Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, the Hannukah Armadillo. Why had we forgotten them? Why have they become symbols that are reserved only for the kids, for the young, for the little people that are still chock-full of innocence, of hope, that the world really will reward you if you've been good and kind to Mommy and Daddy, that there is someone looking out for you and checking a list to make sure that you are going to get what it is that your little heart so badly needs?

I need to feel like there is a fat man in a red suit who is out there who exists purely to make the hearts of other people lighter. I need to know that the dreams that the children go to bed with on Christmas Eve are not wasted dreams, that the candy cane visions and sugarplum dreams go into a melting pot of something bigger, something that will bind and wrap up the children in little invisible force-fields of optimism as they grow up. I need to feel like there's someone who cares so much about what it is that will make us happy that he's keeping a list, checking it twice, giving me a reason to not be naughty, just nice.
Read the rest, and take the spirit of the season back into your life, just like Santa reminds us to. Or maybe the Hanukkah Armadillo.

What are you asking for for Christmas this year?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 12, 2007

A request

I tried to post this last night, but MuNu was having a moment...

Friend, frequent commenter, and occasional guest poster ZTZCheese and her hubby got a new kitty!

He's cute and smart and friendly, and he needs a name. However, kitty didn't seem too taken with any of the names we've tried so far, so she asked me to ask YOU to help us come up with suggestions.

He seems like a "people name" cat, rather than a "cat name" cat, but a clever cat name might suit.

He's a little put off by the small silver flashy-thing in his face in this shot:


Yes, he is one-eyed, he's not winking. But he sure could be.

And there are more pics of him here, in his new Flickr album.

So chime in, folks. What should they call him?

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:27 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

December 14, 2007

And the name is...


As in: Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.

Thanks to everyone for chiming in (especially wRitErsbLock for posting the name)! It was a really hard decision to make, since it's a little close to our resident cat's name (Arthur), but sometimes that's just the way it goes.

Posted by ztzcheese at 09:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 27, 2007

When you're done with those presents...

Tony over at A Red Mind in a Blue State has some interesting thoughts on the state of the economy and how it's reported:

Will it stop? The unending media hysteria about the economy?

The story this morning is that Internet plus brick and mortar sales are up 2.4% this season.

Given the incessant drumbeat of bad economy, bad economy, bad economy-- I thought the tag on the story would be, hey, not bad!

But no. For whatever reason-- incompetence, latent Bush-bashing, the inability to ever report good news-- the headlines were mostly negative. Sluggish. Poor. Disappointing.

How could 2.4% growth in the "teeth" of this mortgage meltdown, etc. be deemed disappointing?

Read the rest, including some interesting facts about gift card sales.

I think Tony has a point. Sales ARE up. Doesn't that mean people have the $$ to spend? Or does it mean that they'd rather sink farther into their credit bills so the kids can have the Wii and the computer and the new iPod?

Either way, it means they plan on having a place to keep what they bought, so people must be somewhat more than negative-feeling about the whole housing/mortgage/ interest rate business.

Even more interesting was the item about gift card sales. I wonder what the total figures would be with those included. Especially as sales of gift cards increased ALONG with the direct sales increases reported.

What do you think?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 05, 2008

Random Milestone

Visitor #247,000 was someone from Blacksburg, VA using IE 7 and Windows XP on Verizon Internet.

Thanks for playing!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 01, 2008

I'm taking a poll- UPDATED

Should I buy it or not? If I do it will be my (very early) birthday present. I'd love it. My favorite Dodger moment wrapped up in a shirt.... But still, it's $250 + shipping for something I'm likely to get mustard and nacho cheese all over...

What do you think? They have my size, which is a kind of rare thing. Hence why I want to get it now, rather than wait. If there was a T-shirt version (hence way cheaper).... or if it was Mike Scioscia's jersey (Mikey is my favorite Dodger of all time), it would be on its way here already. What do you think?

Update: responding to ZTZCheese's point in the comments, I can't get a regular personalized jersey with Gibson on the back and 23 as the number. MLB rules prohibit selling personalized jerseys with retired player name/number combinations. Believe me, I have looked into doing that many times. This is the only way to get one.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:21 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

Show some blog love, won't you?

I know if there was any other way, Jay and Deb wouldn't be asking for help, but they need a significant amount of cash to help keep the lights on after August 22. If you can help out, even by tossing them a couple of dollars, it will be more than appreciated.

They're more than my blogparents, they're friends, and they've had a rough year financially trying to raise three kids. After some really rough patches, expensive car problems, sick kids, and ambulance trips, they are about to get back to being financially stable, except for this one large debt the state allowed them to run up. Jay explains what happened, here.

If you would like to pick up some lovely crocheted items, rather than making a simple donation, you can visit Deb's etsy store. Also, if you're looking for a domain name for a software project, Jay has one for sale. See here.

I'd be so happy if I clicked over there tomorrow and saw that the bills were taken care of. I know you all are so generous and wonderful. It would be awesome to see the B-sphere support people who really need the help rather than funding another Andrew Sullivan vacation!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2008

The Book

When I was in college, I carried around this little book. It was about 4 x 2.5 inches and it was blank inside. Well, not blank in the plain white paper sense, but it was lined, and those lines were blank. It was paperbound, with a picture of Albert Einstein on the cover. No, I didn't get it to make me feel smarter, I got it because that's what was available at the Caltech Bookstore.

For much of college Einie was my constant companion. Each line of each page held a reminder of something to do, from the utterly mundane (buy a new toothbrush) to the critically important (get letters of recommendation for grad school) it was all in my little book. I used to mark the last completed page with a receipt for a bookmark, and I was religious about not moving it until I had crossed every item off the list as "done" and made a vertical slash through the list on that page.

My roommate did the same thing, and in fact, he's the one that I stole the idea from. But somewhere along the line, somewhere in grad school, I stopped using the book.

I still make a million small lists, email this person, call that person prep this lecture, call the groomer, etc., but they kind of scatter. I have so many lists now, I forget what's written where. On my desk at the moment are about four small papers with notes, a whiteboard full of notes on things I needed to do last semester, and a big scratch sheet with notes and diagrams and 3 different lists from the last week alone.

I need one list. One that I can carry around and edit. It's funny. I mean, I have always had a memory like a steel trap, but these days I am so busy I have reached the working memory buffer limit. Which is seven items, BTW, which is why phone numbers are 7 digits in this country. Really. Ma Bell hired psychologists to determine the best length to remember...

Anyway, because of this I have become an aficionado of Google Calendar. It's easy to edit, smart, and follows me everywhere. And yet my to-do list has taken a step back in technology. My life in a million little pieces. Of paper.

I so need a useful, carry-able to do list again. Einie was awesome. I need to dig out the empty books I have in a box somewhere and start anew. Although, an online list would be helpful as well. One that I can edit and store online, and most importantly access and edit anywhere. Because you never know when I'll remember something I need to do. Anybody know a good one?

The thing is, I don't do PDAs, I never had a smartphone (although that is coming in the next couple of weeks) and the idea of ANOTHER gadget just to keep my to-do list is utterly ridiculous. But you all are super bright, and well, frankly, often a LOT more tech-savvy than I am. So any suggestions you have for a high-tech replacement for good old einie are VERY welcome and will be much appreciated.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:26 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 20, 2008

The Solution

Thanks for all your suggestions.

I think I'm going to go with Toodledoo, at least for the time being. It has a really useful Firefox widget, and seems to be a small enough page to load well on the phone.

But my favorite feature? You can print out the top 110 items on your list and make a little booklet to carry around and cross out. Best of both worlds!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 11, 2008

Following the meme

Because everyone I know has done it (or so it seems)

1. My uncle once: handed me his fishing pole and told me to watch it. And I caught the biggest fish of the day! (ok, not my uncle, cousin actually, but I always called him uncle.  Still do!)

2. Never in my life: would I have imagined all the things I have been able to do and all the people I have met

3. When I was five: I started Kindergarten for the second time

4. High school was: my intellectual playground

5. I will never forget: how I felt the moment I knew I was in love with my DH

6. Once I met: Stephen Hawking on the Olive walk at Caltech

7. There's this girl I know: who has a license plate frame on her car that says "My other car is a Zamboni"

8. Once, at a bar: my dog nearly had beer spilled all over her

9. By noon, I'm usually: pissed off at work

10. Last night: I went to bed early

11. If only I had: enough money to be secure and pay the bills, then I'd take time off

12. Next time I go to church: it will likely be because someone got married or died or had a kid

13. What worries me most: is being alone

14. When I turn my head left I see: my Princess (the older one) and the back yard through the window

15. When I turn my head right I see: the doorway, and through that the hallway and the bathroom door

16. You know I'm lying when: trust me, you won't.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is: time to play with my Barbies

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I'd be: Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

19. By this time next year: I would like to be healthier

20. A better name for me would be: The F***ing Bitch.  Ask my husband.  I have also been known as "Miss Einstein"

21. I have a hard time understanding: Liberals.  Seriously.  Did most of you swallow your brains?

22. If I ever go back to school: it will be tomorrow.  For work.

23. You know I like you if: I keep talking to you, or more usually, if  I cook for you.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be: My husband, then my parents.

25. Take my advice: don't waste your time doing a job you hate

26. My ideal breakfast is: Two words: Ba. Con.

27. A song I love but do not have is: there MUST be something from the 80s

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: visit the Fresno State Farm Market and buy some wine!

29. Why won't people: get a frigging clue

30. If you spend a night at my house: be prepared to have dogs sleep in your bed or stand guard at the door

31. I'd stop my wedding so: all the late people could be seated.  Armenian Standard time and all.

32. The world could do without: Idiots

33. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: be late

34. My favourite blonde(s) : my husband and my mother, both childhood blondes

35. Paper clips are more useful than: dirt

36. If I do anything well it's: listen to other people's problems

37. I can't help but: get pissed at idiots.  Especially DRIVING idiots

38. I usually cry: when I am really pissed off

39. My advice to my child/nephew/niece: learn from your mistakes and let others do the same

40. And by the way: You are born with millions more neurons than you will ever use, your brain is bigger at 40 weeks gestation than at any other point in your life!  I guess it really is all downhill from there.....

Feel free to jump in and try it as well!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:03 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 12, 2008

Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me

As some of you may know, about a year ago I was forced to move from a cozy office in an out of the way corner of the building to a more front and center office that at least facilitates interaction with my students.  When I moved, I had to leave all of the furniture except my file cabinet in the office, and I only got to take that because the person who moved in said it was too big for him to deal with.

This means that for the past year I have been making do with a crappy, old, MDF computer desk that has pull out shelves and no drawers that I managed to scavenge and 2 tiny borrowed bookshelves.  You sense a theme, here.  Yep.  No drawers.  So I have been living out of boxes.  My tiny desk is a mess, all cluttered with students' papers, office supplies, my computer, phone, and calendar.

A lot of people come to my office or pass my office.  And it is a frigging MESS.  It's despicable.  And I am SOOOO tired of it.

Unfortunately, there's just no money for office redo's.  However, my grant is ending and there's a small sum left in the supply budget.  So if the Dean approves, I am getting a REAL desk and a hutch.  WITH DRAWERS.  And CABINETS.  So I can put things away for the first time in over a year!!!!!

Pray for me and my office, folks, I need it fixed for my SANITY.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 29, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Four years (and over 300,000 hits!) ago today, after being dragged kicking and screaming, I opened up shop here at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

I'd been commenting and quasi-blogging for a couple of years by then, and a bunch of people were constantly on my case to just shut up on their bandwidth and get my own.

So I did. Obligatory sucky first post here. Yeah, I know it says 10/30, but trust me, it was 10/29 when I posted it.  Blogger sucks.

And this is the result.  The world has changed a lot over the last for years, and so has my life, but the blog has been a real constant.

So thanks, y'all for making my life a lot more interesting and putting up with me virtually for the past 4 years!
Posted by caltechgirl at 09:57 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

October 31, 2008

Halloween in 30 seconds

If you've never seen the Bunnies, you're in for a treat. Originally a creation of the Starz network, these talented little guys make it their mission to make sure that you never have to miss a movie just because you don't have time to go to the theater... they'll show you the whole thing in 30 seconds.

Here's some Halloween fun, Bunny-style!


The Ring:

Texas Chainsaw Massacre:


The Exorcist:

The Shining:

And last but not least, for RightGirl, Rocky Horror Picture Show:

There's lots more. Go here for more Bunnies Halloween, or here for all the 30 second Bunny goodness!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:17 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 03, 2008

Head in my hands, Heart on my Sleeve

I've been thinking a lot about Prop 8.  It's the only ballot measure I haven't yet decided on.

My head tells me to vote yes and tell activist liberal judges to get a fucking clue.  That CA's registered Domestic Partnership law provides the same rights to gay couples who register as marriage does to straight couples.  That marriage is a construct not of the state, but of the church, and really the RDP law should apply to gays and straights both as a "civil union," a mere contract.  That "marriage" is solemnized and consecrated by your belief system, whatever that is, and abides by those rules.  God's rules.  Or gods' rules.  Whatever you believe.  Not the state's rules. 

I worry about the consequences for churches and ministers who are against marrying gay couples, for whatever reason.  Will they be breaking the law if they refuse?  Will they lose their 501 status? Will anyone be allowed to believe that homosexuality is wrong or state that belief?  It may be bigoted, but in this country, people have a right to believe as they choose.  We call it Freedom of Religion.

And you know, I just am so tired of all the in-your-faceness of the Prop 8 fight.  I just want to vote no to say HA!  Keep your "whether you like it or not" and all your Gay PDA on TV (for the record, all PDA on TV makes me sick, we've just seen a lot of it with this Prop 8 thing).  It makes me want to be perverse and give all the Prop 8 opponents the finger.

But my heart tells me differently.

As I've mentioned many times on this blog, one of my dearest friends is gay, and he married his partner about 5 years ago in one of the most beautiful, heartfelt weddings I have ever seen.  I was proud to be a "bridesmaid" and stand up for them, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I remember feeling so clearly the love between them, and seeing how precious they were to each other.  I could never take away from them the things that DH and I have, the comfort of knowing we are each other's first and last resort, that we make each other's life and death decisions, that we share the rights and responsibilities of our life together for better and for worse.

I received this today, via email.  I hope my friend won't mind me sharing it with you in part, and with the names redacted, of course.

Hi Everyone,

As you know, we're barely a day away from the most historic election of our time. But as you are also probably well aware, there's a lot more at stake than the Presidency.

Here in California, one of the most important -- and one of the closest -- issues you can vote on is Prop 8.

Prop 8 seeks to eliminate fundamental rights for one group of people. If passed, Prop 8 would take away something very close to Nick and me: our marriage. I trust you agree that eliminating fundamental rights -- from anyone -- is unfair and wrong.


If you want to help but don't have much time, here's something simple you can do:

The simplest thing you can do is to call everyone you know when you have a few free minutes on Tuesday and bug them to go vote if they haven't. Even if they say in advance that they'll vote, call them on Election Day to make sure they've voted. Even if it looks like the Presidential contest is over nationally by 5 or 6 pm our time, it's still critical that everyone goes to the polls to vote NO on 8. And even if it's raining, and even if the lines are long ... that shouldn't matter.

Finally, please modify and pass along this e-mail to everyone you know in California.

(And, no, you don't need to call N or me on Election Day -- we have both already voted by absentee ballot.)

Thanks so much for all your support!

A (& N)
I just can't tell them no. As much as I think this whole issue is screwed up and proceeding ass-backwards and I want to vote yes to make a political point, I don't think I can look my friend in the eye and tell him I voted to take away the marriage that means so much to him in favor of a lousy, meaningless contract. Unless you give me one of those lousy, meaningless contracts, too.

So this girl's in an unfamiliar quandry: head or heart?  I can't tell which makes more sense.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:23 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 04, 2008


Well, it's over for me anyway.  As of 7:15 this morning.

Our polling place is at a little church a block or so away, and we thought the lines would be small this morning, so we decided to chance it.

Arriving at just before 6:45, this is what we found:

The mother and daughter directly in front of us (blue and black jacket, respectively) were perusing the Democrat Voter Guide, which irked the crap out of my husband.  He kept muttering "think for yourself!" and "know what you're voting for" under his breath...

According to the numbers on our ballot stubs we were #29 and #30 to vote at our precinct.  It took about 30 minutes to get to the door, where the check in was, and to get through the ballot.  Then I had to wait because the lady in front of me (in the blue jacket, above) voted twice on Prop 10, so she had to decide whether to re-vote a new ballot, or just ask the computer to accept her ballot and NOT count her Prop 10 votes (she decided for the latter)....  In any case, we were both done by 7:20, and despite the worst morning traffic I've ever seen in The 'Dena (two Sigalerts on the 210 so everyone was on the streets!), I got hubby to school on time and I am back home prepping for my lecture this afternoon.  Or at least I will be as soon as I finish this post and get my bagel out of the toaster.

Go vote.  It doesn't matter who or what you vote for, as long as you vote your conscience.  I did.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 12, 2008

An even BETTER way to say Thank You

In keeping with yesterday's post, a better way to say thank you to our vets is to give a little back to help a lot.

Long-time readers know that Soldier's Angels is one of my favorite groups, and in particular, Project VALOUR-IT which provides voice-activated laptops and other technological devices to wounded servicefolks who can't otherwise easily communicate with the outside world or who need help with rehabbing their injuries.

Imagine being stuck in a hospital in the Middle East or Germany, your family and friends thousands of miles away in the US, and your hands and arms are casted up.  How do you hold the telephone?  How can you type an email, even just to say, "I'm fine, and I love you?".  VALOUR-IT makes that possible through our donations.

And VALOUR -IT depends on all of us.  Without donations, they are quickly running out of funds with a waiting list hundreds of names long.  Even a small donation ($5) goes a long way.

Each year, bloggers team up in a friendly competition to see which service can raise the most funds for our wounded vets.  All the money goes to VALOUR-IT, regardless of which team you donate to, but it's fun to compete.

As usual, I am soliciting donations for Team Army (Go Army, Beat Navy!) in honor of my precious husband's service.

Just click the button to make a donation, either here or at the top of the left sidebar.  If you'd like to  "join up" and help as well, click here.

Thousands of wounded vets (and a hundred or so bloggers!) thank you!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 22, 2008

Six of Six

Picking up on a very simple meme:

Open up your computer, click on the 6th file of pictures, and then on the 6th picture, and post what you get.

And here it is (reposted from Flickr):

Looking down on the Limo

Looking down from the top level of the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Library to the Presidential Motorcade diorama on the lower level.  On display are President Reagan's actual limousine and a secret service follow vehicle.

This is a lot of fun!  I'm not tagging anyone, but you can do it if you like!  Leave your link in the comments so everyone can click around and see all the pictures!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 25, 2008

Because I am too busy to blog properly

Another meme.  This one from wRitErsbLock:

Do you remember your first favorite song?If so, what was it?

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme by Simon and Garfunkel

What do you refuse to eat?

among other things, boiled or fried eggs

Have you ever injected any kind of drug before?

in myself, no.  In various animals, many times.

Do amusement park rides make you sick?

wooden rollercoasters.  Gimme the loopy-loop steel ones any day, though!

Who is your favorite Star Wars character?

Gonna have to go with Princess Leia. Although I am also partial to Padme, R2, and Chewbacca.

What kind of cheese do you put on your sandwiches?

I prefer Cojack or Provolone, depending on the sandwich

What was the first thing you ever learned how to cook?

Armenian Bulgur Pilaf

Did you ever collect beanie babies?

I have a few, but I never collected them.

When was the last time you got a haircut?

October.  Getting another on Saturday

Have you ever been to a bachelor/bachelorette party?

yes.  And mine was a royal bust. The best part was TPing the Best Man's truck

Where are you most ticklish on your body?

my knees

Have you ever bailed anyone out of jail?

No, but I put someone IN

What’s the last board game you played?

Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble.

Do you still own any VHS tapes?

yes.  Many!

Do you shop at JC Penney's ever?

my original engagement ring came from JCP.  And they used to carry a style of wrangler jeans that fit me like a glove.  I miss those jeans.

If there was a real Jurassic Park, would you visit it?

I want to see the lab.  And the Triceratops.

Do you ever read the newspaper?

I read the ads in the Thanksgiving Day edition.

Do you eat your mac & cheese with a fork or a spoon?

Usually a fork.  I like Mac n Cheese with stuff in it (veggies, hotdogs, chili, etc.)

Is there any medicine/pill you take everyday?

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I probably take more pills than you do.

How many 20 dollar bills do you have on you right now?

two actually.  I went to the First Bank of Grocery Store this afternoon

Would you do meth if it was legalized?

OH HELL FUCK NO.  Have you never seen this?  Ewwwww.  Meth fucks you up worse than anything else.

Are you afraid others will judge you from reading some of your answers to survey questions?

If I was, would I be answering this?

Do you think Obama will be assassinated?

Probably not. He doesn't fit the pattern, although GWB seems to have done well so far, and he does....

Have you ever made out with someone and then never saw them again?

no.  Paths tend to cross in small groups....

Do you drink egg nog?

What is it with the frigging Egg Nog questions??  Once and for all NO WAY.  It sucks.

What are you wearing?

Jammies and a fuzzy blanket.

Feel free to jump in and post your own!

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 30, 2008

Emerging from Black Friday

So Black Friday has come and gone, and I am nearly done with the Holiday shoppage once again.  Other than stocking stuffers and a possible gift or two for the parents or the Hub, the only people I have left to shop for are my 9 year old nephew and my 6 year old niece.  Both of whom are super bright and super picky. Any ideas?

I did extremely well, shopping-wise, saving more than I have spent so far by wisely shopping particular sales and comparing the ads on Thursday evening, post-turkey.

By 9 am we had been to 7 stores and it was time to call it a day.  Not bad for a morning's work.

Of course, some of the shopping was done earlier, courtesy of Amazon, Woot, and Etsy.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Etsy.  Handcrafted, unique, everything you can imagine, and I've had nothing but good experiences with all of the sellers I've dealt with.  Many of your favorite bloggers also sell their crafty output at Etsy.  Look them up!

What were you up to post-Turkey day?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:35 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 10, 2008

No, you're not seeing things

Given my utter lack of Christmas cheer, I thought I might brighten things up with a return visit from the Snowfolks of No Evil, who some of you may remember from a couple of years back.

Boy, CSS is just like riding a bicycle... I haven't played with the site design in a while, and I was afraid I'd screw it up royal. Especially since I went from 2 columns to three since the Snowfolks last came out to play.

They need names, by the way. Any suggestions?

So enjoy the holiday theme. At least there's some snow in my virtual space....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 11, 2008

I think we have a winner

The Snowfolks of No Evil, in an ironic twist, shall henceforth be known as Penny, Billy, and Hammer.

Notice that the "Corporate Tool" one even has a tie.  Nice touch, I thought.

Congrats to Sleepy Beth for suggesting the winning trio of names!

BTW, if you don't get it, you REALLY MUST go here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 10, 2009

Think Happy Thoughts....

... And sprinkle a little fairy dust....

Tomorrow, January 11, two amazing people are going to follow through with a resolution they made in August and run a marathon in honor of people who have been touched by cancer.

WB and Bou are running the Walt Disney World marathon on Sunday as part of Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Together they've raised just shy of $5300 for cancer research.

I'll be thinking of you both and watching your split times from here, and wishing you fleet feet and much success!

Please take a minute to click over and wish each of them well! And maybe enough of us do it, then maybe just maybe, they can fly!

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 20, 2009

My own thoughts

Just a few reflections on the Inauguration...

Funniest moment? Heard on C-Span open mike, Joe Biden arriving at the top of the stairs to walk down to the main platform: "Well, I made it."

Least expected moment? Rick Warren's prayer.  I am not a fan of public prayer.  For two reasons. One, prayer is (according to scripture) to be a personal, secret act.  Two, public praying tends to become a sideshow: quoting, telling God all kinds of shit he already knows, showboating by the pray-er.  You know what I mean.  Warren's prayer followed a more humble structure: he praised God's greatness, he humbled himself, he asked for intercesion, and ended with the Lord's Prayer.  Nice, actually.

Best moment? The Williams Quartet with YoYo Ma and Itzak Perlman.  Amazing.  And yes, I am a sucker for both Ma and Perlman.  Especially Perlman, whose playing regularly moves me to tears.

Most surreal moment: Again, captured by the C-Span open mike: At the end of Obama's oath, the crowd began chanting "CHANGE!" a la Randy Marsh.

By the time The One spoke, I was getting sleepy.  I noted that the first half of the speech sounded like a Republican (personal responsibility, huh?).  And then I crashed.

I could have done without Aretha.  Hang it up sister.  Your voice is going away, as it does to all divas at your age.  Let us remember you at your finest.  She did have a killer hat on, though.

Finally, poor Chief Justice.  His nerves got the best of him and he flubbed the Oath.  Here's hoping he gets it right in four years.

What say you?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:36 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 30, 2009

Keep your laws off my octuplets!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely already seen the story of the Southern California who woman who gave birth to the world's first known surviving set of octuplets.

What you may not know, is that (no surprise) despite the family's plea for privacy, the vultures have been hard at work and have discovered that she already has (gasp!) six children, these babies were conceived (gasp!) via IVF, and that she's (wait for it........) a single mother living with her bankrupt parents.

"Where are the ethics??" scream the journos and the academics.  "How could you justify fertility treatment for a woman who already has a pack of kids?  Don't you have a MORAL OBLIGATION to keep a poor (reputedly on Medicaid), single woman from populating the planet with her bastards that the rest of us are going to have to support?"

There oughta be a law!  A law I tell ya! (read the comments here)

Well, there is a law.  Just not here.  I'm sure you've heard of China.

The selfsame "voices of the people" who decry this woman's choice to have a large family are the same folks who cry out bitterly about China's One Child policy.

Either fertility is regulated or it is not.  How many children is too many?  Is it a sliding scale based on your ability to pay for them?  If so, I'd wager most of us would have disappeared up the abortionist's vacuum tube.

Somehow they also fail to mention that if it's my choice to have a child or not, that includes BOTH outcomes: having the baby or not having the baby. The faceless critics lamenting this woman's "irresponsible choice" (a phrase uttered by a so-called Bio-Ethics expert during a news report this morning) are also the same crew lobbying so hard to keep abortion legal.

I'm sorry, but I thought "Keep your laws off my body" was an absolute.  Or does that just apply to the popular choices?

I haven't even touched the infertility aspect of this case.  Many of my dear friends struggle with infertility, some have pursued multiple courses of treatment.  Some, ultimately, decided that the pursuit was futile despite the deepest longings of their heart for a biological child.  Having seen the struggle that so many endure, it seems to me that any successful procedure resulting in a healthy baby is a win.  Perhaps those of you who have been down this road would like to chime in.

Certainly, it is a pertinent question, how will this mom support 14 children?  But how does a 14 year old support one baby?  How do two parents with two careers handle two or three small ones?  Raising kids is not easy for anyone at anytime.  14 children, including (reportedly) 2 with special needs and 8 infants presents a huge challenge, but that doesn't mean necessarily that the children will be neglected or hungry.  In fact, it's entirely possible that these 14 kids will be MUCH better off than some kids with only one or two siblings.

You can't have it both ways, either people get to choose the family they want, or they don't.  And if they don't, who makes the rules?  Based on what?

It works so well elsewhere, after all....

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:47 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 16, 2009

Serial Twit

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl it's not about IDEOLOGY, you fucking turd it's about breaking poor people's backs. Gas goes up $0.14/ gallon INSTANTLY

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl Sales tax OVER 10%, and then increases in income tax and car fees. Do you want people to MOVE OUT FASTER?

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl I wish I hated my house and I could afford to sell it. I'd leave CA tomorrow.

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl I can't afford to stay.

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl FTR, the fucking turd in question was some stupid ass liberal state senator who evidently only represents RICH PEOPLE

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl I
think if you find yourself in a hole this deep, the first question you
should be asking is not how do we fill the hole, but rather...

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl ... how did we get here? What are the bad decisions that led us here. And then don't repeat them.

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl Because you can only blame "the economy" so much.

Caltechgirlcaltechgirl I
thought the democrats were the champions of poor people. I guess that's
true only until they need them to bear the brunt of their mistakes.

The above was in response to some opportunist idiot on the TV taking advantage of the camera in his face to make the budget mess all about Democrats vs. Republicans.

That's just ignorant.  What it's about is how much are we going to take and who's listening.  Have you heard the man-on-the street interviews in the media?  NO ONE wants you to solve the problem by choking us to death with taxes.  NO ONE.  Yes, some tax increases are necessary, but how are we spending the money?  Isn't there something that can be done without shoving it, quite literally, on to the backs of your constituents?

I've heard both sides point out that this economy is based on spending.  Great.  Explain to me, then, how people can get the economy going by spending when it costs them more NOT ONLY to buy items, but also TO GET TO THE STORE. And more of their income goes back to the state to begin with.  These people are barely spending, and you're threatening to put a BIGGER hurt on their wallet?

You don't improve this state by taking money from people. You encourage them to give the state more than you would take by giving them incentives to buy.

As much as I hate the sheer size of the "porkulus" package that the President will sign tomorrow, I have to point out that it is based on INCENTIVES.  And maybe that's why people were willing to pass it.  Because the help is obvious.  It's money going to people.  Not coming out of their pockets.  At least not today.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 26, 2009

Friday Countdown

Tomorrow we attempt to beard the lion in its den.  I could use any prayers or good wishes you can put forward.  Not for me, though.  For our students.  If things continue as they are, my students will be the ones who will suffer the most.

I just want so much to be a part of effecting a change that will make things WORK.

Thanks in advance.  I'll keep you posted.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 11, 2009

May the Fleece be with You

Shamelessly ripped off from Jimbo of the Great Farookin' Hair™

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:28 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 03, 2009

Theme for June Gloom?

Shannon's latest post (and BTW, still so totally weird to call her Shannon in "public") speaks of the music of our lives, songs and moments that go together, pieces of time and melody that weave together to calm, cajole, soothe, or enchant the soul.

There are many songs that speak to me, too.  Songs for particular occasions, for soothing, for sleeping, for screaming along in the car in rotten LA rush hour.

I started my own list, every one of these songs has a meaning for me; a time, a place, a person, a feeling. I was going to follow Shannon's example, but then I realized most of the explanations are "you had to be there" kinds of things, so I thought I'd just write them out, and let you have the fun of guessing.

Or just listening.  It's kind of the soundtrack of my life.

In no particular order, then:

1. Sarah McLachlan: Angel (and bonus: The GooGoo Dolls: Iris)
2. Barenaked Ladies: Lovers in a Dangerous Time
3. Chess: One Night in Bangkok
4. Bonnie Raitt: Something to Talk About (and bonus: The Alan Parsons Project: Eye in the Sky)
5. Ace of Base: The Sign (and bonus: Jann Arden: Insensitive)
6. Nina Gordon: Tonight and the Rest of My Life
7. Johnny Preston: Running Bear (Double Bonus!! The Beatles: Maxwell's Silver Hammer and The Rolling Stones: Mother's Little Helper, I could add about 8 more here, as well)
8. Jo Dee Messina: Heads Carolina, Tails California
9. The Wallflowers: The Difference
10. Train: Meet Virginia
11. Semisonic: All About Chemistry
12. Barenaked Ladies: It's All Been Done (this is a great cover)
13. Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black: Something that We Do
14. Spin Doctors: Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
15. Shawn Colvin: Sunny Came Home
16. The Indigo Girls: Galileo
17. James Taylor: Carolina on My Mind Sorry for the poor quality, I chose this clip for sentimental reasons.
18. Paul Simon: Graceland
19. Chris LeDoux and Garth Brooks: What'cha Gonna do with a Cowboy?
20. Mazzy Star: Fade Into You

Some of my favorites, some not so favorites, and several I didn't include.  I figured 20 was enough to keep you busy...

I apologize for the quality/ content of some of the videos, I was going for the music and some didn't have a lot of choices.

Extra Credit for anyone who can tell me why you'd never expect to see the songs from #7 double bonus on any of my song lists!

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 30, 2009

Walking uphill in the snow both ways

At the risk of sounding like the proverbial old grandpa, kids these days have it too easy.  Case in point: a 13-year-old's review of the now THIRTY YEAR OLD Sony Walkman.

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.
Yeah, and the cell phones were the size of bricks and had batteries like the one in your mom's car.

Can you believe this kid?  Or his parents for that matter?  You mean to tell me that his mom and dad have never showed him a cassette tape?

Later, he whines about having to listen to the tape all the way through because there "is no shuffle,"and breaking the cassette"
Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.

I told my dad about my clever idea. His words of warning brought home the difference between the portable music players of today, which don't have moving parts, and the mechanical playback of old. In his words, "Walkmans eat tapes". So my clumsy clicking could have ended up ruining my favourite tape, leaving me music-less for the rest of the day


The ignorance of this kid is breathtaking.  He's 13, meaning he was born in 1995 or 1996, depending on when his birthday is.  My 1995 car came with a tape deck in the top model stereo.  You could not GET a CD player in that car, and yet this kid acts as if the cassette is some kind of dinosaur.

And they gave HIM a platform?  If all 13-year-olds are like this, I am frankly scared.

Get a life, kid, and pull your selfish head out of your own ass and pay attention to the whole world around you.  Not just your easy little toys.

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:45 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 04, 2010

Everyone else is doing it.....

Taking a cue from Shannon, Rachel, Bou, and many others, I thought I'd do a decade-in-review as well.

So it turns out this is just part 1.  Wow.  Crazy.

'99 was a huge year for me, I got my engagement ring, interviewed for, and was accepted to graduate school, graduated from Caltech, adopted my Princess, got married, and moved to NC, all before August.  Then we lived through 2 hurricanes, I started grad school, DH got his army orders, and we celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a married couple the night before he left for Ft. Sill.  We celebrated Christmas together at home in Fresno (yay for leave!) and rung in the millenium in my parents' living room, all the while laughing at the Y2K fools.

2000 started off with a blizzard.  Back in North Carolina again, I think it snowed the whole month.  At one point I measured 30" of snow on our back stoop.  I fell on the ice and broke my tailbone.  We got broadband internet for the first time.  I was addicted.  In the spring I taught my first General Biology classes and fell in love with developmental neurobiology.  DH was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground for more training, and I got my first sight of Washington DC traveling to see him.  On that trip I also discovered IKEAs in both VA and MD (YAY!).  I brought him home in May for 3 weeks of TDY before shipping him off to Ft. Hood.  Dipshit Stalker (who was the best man at our wedding) arrived in July, emotionally destroyed after a failed marriage and lost military career.  He was good until he found an outlet to start drinking again....  More on that later.  In August I dropped a pot of spaghetti down the sink and KNEW that the pain I was having couldn't be good for me.  I was subsequently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and started the odyssey of drugs, therapy, and bullshit that I have been on for almost 10 years now.  DH came home for Christmas, and we celebrated our first Christmas alone together.  I admit,  I went a little overboard, as I bought him what turned out to be a roomful of Star Wars toys.

After much indecision and not a little prodding from my program, I chose a thesis project, and began working on brain development in Schizophrenia.  In June we moved out of the apartment into our house in the country, dipshit stalker and his friends doing all the heavy lifting.  I paid them amply with beer and barbecue  About the same time I took and passed my qualifying exams, and DH, home on leave at the time, had his now-infamous drunk moment at the Carolina Brewery (ask him.  Funny!).  I flew home to CA for two weeks in July, best ticket deal ever ($197 round trip to LAX via Atlanta!).  In late August, DH and a friend conspired to surprise me, and he flew home on the same flight as the friend I was picking up at the airport.  He returned to Texas on September 9 so his unit could prepare for a field exercise scheduled to begin on 9/12. My other friend was scheduled to fly out on the afternoon of September 11.  She eventually left on 9/26.

I was awakened on 9/11 by the ringing of the phone.  My husband, eating breakfast and watching TV in the barracks had seen the first plane hit the Towers.  I turned on the TV just in time to see the second.  You know the rest.  I was numb and frightened for weeks, addicted to the TV.

DH eventually learned that he was not being deployed anywhere, and came home for Christmas, and the rest of the year passed quietly.

We spent New Years at Carolina Beach, and rang in the new year on the sand with poppers and champagne and group of friends, getting up in the morning at 5 am to get donuts from Krispy Kreme in Wilmington and watch the sunrise over the beach.

I continued working on my project and teaching.  We made plans for DH to begin earning his MAT when he finished his 3 year conscription.  I planted a garden, which the deer mostly ignored, and repainted the kitchen.

In the aftermath of 9/11 I discovered blogs.  My first "addictions" were Lt. Smash, a geek blogger named Jay Solo, The Accidental Jedi, and Dean's World.

Dipshit stalker got drunk one night, threw a tantrum, and threatened my life.  When I called him on it and threw him out, he hit me.  I called the cops.  They arrested him at work, gave him a TRO, and someone blew up my mailbox that night. I barely slept the next 6 months and left every light on. I got to know most of the Orange County deputy sheriffs.  Once they found out about what kind of military training he had, they circled my driveway every night for months, making sure he wasn't lurking somewhere in the woods surrounding the house.  Now you understand why I love cops.

In October, my Neon committed suicide under a Ryder truck (tire separation), and we got the Escape. In November, DH's contract finished, and he came home just in time for Thanksgiving, and then the storm of the century.  Ice fell from the skies and clogged up everything.  It was 6 degrees outside, and hundreds  of trees fell from the weight of the ice. We had three trees down in our driveway alone.  All the power was out for 7 days: no heat, water, stove, toilets, etc.  Everything in our house (including the water pump) was electric.  Thank God for the snow: it was like a great big natural freezer, so the food was good.  A tree fell on our brand new car, necessitating the first of many trips to the body shop.

The year began with a bang.  Two of our friends from LA flew in just before New Years, and we drove to Miami to see USC in the Orange Bowl vs. Iowa.  Of course we won. It was also my first trip to Pedro's South of the Border and the fireworks mecca that is South Carolina.  We made record time coming home, as we started listening to the National Championship game in Florida and saw the last two plays on our own TV. DH and I were both in school, me working on rat brains, and him first taking referesher science classes, and then beginning his MAT program.  It was a super productive year, workwise, generating the data that would be my first two papers.  dipshit stalker (although we can't prove it) broke into our house and stole some cash and my digital camera. Of course, it could have been a junkie, but then why didn't the other things of value walk away?  And how come only certain drawers were opened?

DH finished his MAT program and got a job teaching in Chatham county.  I got my first paper published.  In June we moved back into town so I could ride the bus to school (free in Chapel Hill!).  We became addicted to ESPN.  I started blogging (here) (finally!) after being a serial commenter for many, many years. Many of you became real friends, and not just people online. I taught myself to knit and crochet, and I learned the secrets of NC pig aka Eastern NC barbecue. In August we finally traveled to DC for real, road-tripping with the same football friends to the Black Coaches' Classic versus Virginia Tech at Fed Ex field.  We stayed in Landover and rode the Metro into the city, and walked around the Mall and the museums.  My favorite memory of the trip is sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial around 1 am, looking down the Mall.

2005 began with my advisor's announcement that he was leaving, so I needed to finish my project.  The winter was a whirl of surgery, explants, and writing, and I passed my committee in May.  In fact, I passed my thesis, left school, got on a plane, and flew to CA to look for a place to live.  We were coming home.  I finally got to meet a TON of my Bear Flag League blog colleagues at a brunch while we were in town. We returned to to NC finish the school year.  I taught neuroscience, gave my public defense, and on the last day of June we packed up the moving truck and our car and left NC behind.  We road tripped home, taking the 90 across through South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.  We met my blogchild (Paul) in Wisconsin, and had a crazy memorable dinner with Margi and family in Spokane.  We spent the 4th of July at Mount Rushmore.

Arriving in CA, we thought I had a job, and DH would be interviewing.  We settled on Pasadena, near my putative job, and with plenty of opportunities for him.  We chose a townhouse, and that afternoon I found out my job wasn't going to happen.  His however, DID come through, and he was hired after his first interview, for a job he still loves.  The townhouse came through just in time for the movers to drop off our things, and the next day we hurried back to Fresno for our friends' wedding. I looked for jobs all through the rest of the summer, and in October I was hired for a job I hadn't applied for, and which was, in fact, better! After I received my first paycheck, the first thing we did was go out and buy a sofa, since we left most of our furniture in NC.  I still miss my orange chair, for the record.  One of my biggest regrets is being talked into leaving it and my desk behind.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 01, 2010

Before I go....

I'm about to do one of my famous "quick, get the F out before anyone sees you leave" exits from the office and I wanted to jump in and post something quickly before I take off (for the record, faculty don't have set schedules, we just have to be here for our responsibilities: teaching, meetings, research, and the schedule is otherwise pretty flexible...)

Over the weekend as I flipped channels I kept seeing this show on the Travel Channel called "101 Chowdowns" or something like that.  It was about the 101 best comfort food/ junk food/ chow down places in the US.  We weren't big fans of their choices per se, so we were discussing our favorite pig out places.

In no particular order here are 10 of mine: Fosselman's Ice Cream (Alhambra), Original Tommy's (Rampart and Beverly), Donut Man in Glendora, Bojangles (any), Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, Foster's Freeze, Bullock's Barbecue in Durham (family style!), Amante's Pizza, Elmo's Diner in Carrboro (not Durham), and Chick Fil A (again, pretty much any one).

What's your favorite "chowdown"?  Where is it?

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:15 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

February 11, 2010

VD* approacheth

*Valentines Day, you sickos

So, Sunday is VD, and as a bonus, Monday is a holiday.  DH asked me last week what I wanted, and I told him, "I just want to sleep."  He was disappointed.  I think mostly because I didn't want a present.

But the thing is, I could care less about VD, and really I don't need flowers or chocolates or any more useless junk.  At all.  House is rapidly filling up with all kinds of crap. And money for presents is a useless expense.

Is there a hoarding disease with the primary symptom of too busy to throw shit out?  Because that's my problem.  I just don't have the time to rid the house of the old junk.

So anyway, I told him that what I want to do is to just chill out and play the video games we got for Christmas and barely opened.  I think he was happy with that.  I suspect, however, that we'll be watching the Olympics anyway, and it won't even matter.

Should I be more open to doing something fun, or am I really just an old crabby bitch?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:58 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Olympic Preview

For those of you who care, here's where you can find when the AWESOMESAUCE* SPORTS** will be broadcast:


Time zones listed are PT (at least on my screen), so you may have to reset for your location.  Man, I LOVE when the Olympics and I are in the same time zone!

* These are the ones I think are awesome.  And whaddya know?  This is my blog!

** Watching Curling is a top priority.  Curling will be TiVo'ed.  As will Ski Jumping.  I wish I was a Finn so I could have been a kickass ski jumper.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 17, 2010

Flying While Fat*

* one girl's take on the idiocy of American air travel.  Fuck that.  The idiocy of AMERICANS.  Period.

By now we all know what happened to director Kevin Smith.  I watched it unfold live on twitter, as I follow both @southwestair and @thatkevinsmith.

And I feel for him.  As a fat chick who takes her chances every time I fly, I feel every ounce of the humiliation he was put through.  He paid for a seat.  He should get a seat.

Why do they kick off the "fatties" but not the smelly drunks, sick people, or SEAT KICKING BRATS?  I'd argue that any of the above pose more of a "security risk" than your average oversize person who would really rather melt in to the corner, not touch you, and just ignore you for the rest of the flight.

Maybe it's because our society sees fat as something reprehensible, the outward manifestation of a lifetime of bad choices.

In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Most overweight people are just trying to be normal, in fact they're PROBABLY trying a lot HARDER than the rest of you.  A combination of bad genes, bad luck, and the occasional bad choice makes me look like a tub of lard, and is not discernible on you. 

And yet I used to be afraid to eat in public.  That if I went out for ice cream with my husband everyone would think "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sprat".  That people were automatically looking at me and thinking "lazy idiot" and "pig", which those of you who know me well know couldn't be farther from the truth.  I work out more than most people (at least up until the holidays, when I kind of fell off the wagon),  I rarely even eat three meals. A part of which,  I know, is my hang up about fat people eating too much.  I don't snack.  I don't eat dessert except on special occasions and rarely outside my own home or my workplace. Ironically, the fact that I eat very little probably is more dangerous for me than eating too much.

And of course fat must = stupid, since what smart person would choose to treat their body so badly or live with the daily humiliation, right?  Wrong. Like I said, it's a train wreck of bad genes and bad luck for a lot of people.    Some people do eat 3 fast food combo meals at a time**. Neither of which invalidates the PhD in Neurobiology hanging on my wall.
**one person I know who can do this regularly is my husband (who is 6'0, 165 pounds), so it's not like pigging out even computes.

But getting back to Kevin Smith.  The humiliation of even the possibility of being considered "too fat to fly" rankles.  It's one of the reasons I don't jump on a lot of airplanes.  It's why I have a number of flying strategies.  First, I always choose a window seat so I can bury myself against the window, away from other passengers.  I board early so I don't have to walk in front of anyone, I make sure the armrest is completely down at all times, and I carry my own spare seatbelt extender for those just-in-case flights.

Having flown on a variety of planes I can tell you this much: the belt sizes vary from plane to plane, and even from side to side on the SAME PLANE.  I have gotten off one plane where I had several inches to spare on the belt, only to board a connection and need the extender. Ridiculous.  And shameful.  I often wonder if I would have been kicked off any of those flights for even ASKING for an extender, if I didn't have my own. Once I get seated, I breathe a sigh of relief.

I do fit in the seat, in case you're wondering. Rather well, armrests 100% down.  It's just that you never know whether someone will single you out just by looking at you. Or whether you'll be randomly stranded at some connection because one flight crew passed and another took exception.  I think that may be the most frightening aspect: why apply the policy differently on different flights?  Why be vague about who needs to buy two seats?  Why make it so frigging difficult and so much more expensive?

Which brings me to my motivation for writing this piece.  I rarely agree, as many of you know, with the columnists in Salon.  Usually the tripe and drivel they spew makes me want to hurl.  But another tweeter passed this piece by Kate Harding on to Mr. Smith, and what she says is exactly what I have to say, regarding Southwest's ridiculous policy, and the haters both. Here's the beginning and end of her piece:

Whenever the issue of whether larger people should be forced to buy two airline seats comes up -- as it did this weekend, when director Kevin Smith was booted from a Southwest Airlines flight, and as it did last April, after United introduced a policy practically identical to Southwest's -- the first and only thing a lot of folks think of is that time they had to sit next to a fat person on a flight, and it was so uncomfortable.

Perhaps they even had the special misfortune of sitting next to a rude fat person, the kind who doesn't even seem contrite about infringing on someone else's severely restricted personal space -- a portly cousin to The Armrest Hog, The Seat-Kicking Kid or Reclines Right Into Your Lap Guy.  There's no shortage of rude people of all sizes, but it seems like everyone's got a story about that whale who made a two-hour or three-hour or even five-hour flight pure hell for the adjacent paying customers. (The fact that airlines try to keep costs down by packing passengers in like sardines and routinely overbooking flights has nothing to do with it, evidently.) And most of those people think charging larger customers double to make everyone a little less miserable is a perfectly reasonable solution.

Which is why part of me is glad the Kevin Smith debacle happened -- though I'm terribly sorry he had to go through it -- because it put a recognizable face on the experience of flying while fat. See, those of us who are and/or love people to whom airlines' "person of size policies" apply don't automatically envision the discomfort of getting stuck next to a fatty; we envision the physical and emotional pain of being the fatty crammed between two potentially hostile strangers, at the mercy of flight attendants who might decide we're fine on one flight and a "safety risk" on the next.


And then, against my better judgment, I read the comments sections on articles about this issue and see things like "Fat people should be imprisoned for over consumption. They've eaten more than their share! I'm glad I wasn't sitting next to this hog" and "I have travelled next to someone like, sweaty, panting, snoring, knocking drinks over at a sigh because the table was resting on him... Should have gone as cargo," and right here at Salon, "Fat people are disgusting. They should travel by ox cart or something. I mean really. Do they need to inflict their smelly fatness on everyone else?" (That person even finishes with a little straight-up eliminationist rhetoric for good measure.)

And I read comments from lots of people who are less openly hateful, but still think that fat people should buy two seats or lose weight or stay home -- not that the airline has any responsibility to, say, ensure that adequate seating is available for everyone or treat people of all sizes like equal (not to mention individual) human beings -- and you know what I think? Forgive me, but sometimes there's no other way to say it: Fuck you. That's what I think.

Fuck you indeed.  Read Kate's entire moving, thought-provoking piece.

If you still think Southwest was right, let me ask you this: In your heart of hearts, would you still agree with Southwest if Mr. Smith (or any of the other people Kate reminds us of) was removed from the flight for being openly gay rather than fat?

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:20 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 07, 2010

At the Crossroads

As some of you know I am at a decision point in my life.

My current job has gone to hell in a handbasket in more ways than I can count and all I can do right now is try to keep my own head above water and not get fired.  The administration is making what seem to be arbitrary decisions and striking out at vulnerable faculty and programs in the name of doing business better,  but the evidence (and I'll admit I am a bit biased) seems to point out the fact these decisions have been at best short-sighted, and at worst, disastrous.  Day by day it becomes clear that I can not count on having a job much longer, through no fault of my own.

So I have been looking around.

I July I applied for a local job, similar to what I am doing now, teaching the same kinds of classes, working with small groups of students, and being able to have a place where I can keep a small lab and give undergrads a chance to have some lab experience.  As a bonus, it would be a short "reverse" commute.  I didn't hear back right away, and I figured they didn't want me.  We'll call this Job #1.  They did eventually call me for a phone interview 'round about October 1, but I haven't heard from them since.

In August, I applied for another job, this one at a major research university in a VERY SMALL TOWN in another state.  Job #2 is a unique position, non-tenure track, but only because it focuses on teaching and student advising, rather than research.  I think it would be a great opportunity to use the skills and experiences that I have developed over the past 15 years to give students useful help as they navigate their college experience.  So I applied, despite the great potential for upheaval in my life.

Job #2 called me a week after the position solicitation closed and invited me to come for an interview.  Which I evidently nailed, because I am sitting in a hotel room in that same small town today.  Two weeks after my initial interview, they offered me the position, and after some back and forth, they invited BOTH of us up here for a weekend look-see.  We've been here since Friday afternoon, bumming around.  We've visited the campus, toured all of the neighborhoods, found the Co-Op in the next town over and even drove an hour out to the Costco.  Which we totally found by accident, although we were looking for it.

When I was here initially, they asked a realtor to drive me around town, and so I asked her to show us inside a few houses, so we could a real sense of what a house we would WANT to live in would cost, and how we would have to work it.  Because see, if we move here, we would have to rent out our house.  There's no way we could sell it, the market in LA being what it is, and so we needed to know what the numbers would be, and if we could afford to buy a house here, since rent and mortgage payments here are about the same.  Might as well get the benefit of the equity.  Not to mention that I'm not uprooting my life to live in a shack somewhere else when I have a house I love.

So we talked.  And gave her our list of needs, wants, and likes.  And of course, dammit, the first house we walked into we fell in love with.  It's quirky and has a huge yard and more storage space than we can fill right now, and of course, it would be long gone by the time we would be ready to move, should I decide to take the job.

And I stepped out on to the deck, and I saw my dogs running on the lawn, and a swingset and plenty of room for a garden, and all of the things  I would want in my life.  And I felt like I could be happy here.  Snow, small town and all.

It's a million years away from my life. But then again, there are so many things I want to change about my life.  I want to have time to focus on ME.  On getting me healthy again.  On my marriage, which is good, but won't stay that way if I just let it go.  On my puppies.  They need Mommy back.  I want to be able to go walking and work out and be able to cook dinner everynight without being bone-weary from a day from hell followed by a commute from hell.  I want to open my computer at night and not have to worry about discovering yet another pissing contest that I have to mop up.

And let's face it, I ain't getting any younger.... tick tick tick....

My biggest concerns are my husband and my family.  Who knows whether he can even FIND a job here?  There are fewer opportunities, even though most districts look for a science teacher more often than other disciplines.  And our families will be nearly impossible to reach, now.  Disappointing after reaching a detente with my inlaws and beginning to build a relationship with my nieces and nephew now that they're older. And of course my Mom and Dad aren't getting any younger, though they are both in reasonably good health now.

So many things are really positive: There's a heated, indoor therapy pool (!!!!) and an Arby's and a Wendy's and a DQ (none of which I have now).  Super Walmart just opened, and it is nicer than our current Target (at least this week) and you can even find a parking place.

Side item: the house we love faces the Walmart directly, though it is a few blocks away, and because both are on hills, you can see the Walmart from the kitchen window and vice versa.  Amusing as hell.

Traffic is a joke, though some people clearly don't know how to drive, and I shudder to think what most of these people would do with an LA freeway.

I am conflicted and I don't know what to do.  It's hard. Can I give up what has become comfortable and close to home for something entirely different, though not altogether bad? 

Alright y'all, weigh in.  I want to hear your thoughts....

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:14 PM | Comments (34) | TrackBack