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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

January 05, 2010

Quick Takes

aka  venting

I went to the gym today for the first time in a month.  I didn't do so bad.  2 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes easy work on the stationary bike, and about 15 minutes on the treadmill.  This is about half of where I was before holidays, work, sickness, etc.  Evidently my feet and shoes disagree with both the elliptical and the stationary bike.  No idea why.  I could walk/jog on the treadmill as long as I want, even after the other, but the bike especially kills my feet.  Not my ass.  I can sit on the damn thing as long as I want.  Grr.

Gym was busy.  All the treadmills were busy when I came in, hence the attempt at the elliptical until my feet protested.

My new iPod sucks battery-wise.  Guess I will need to charge it every day that I go to the gym.  Grr again.

Anyway, the awesome Armenian grocery store is across the street, and so I took my aching feet across to the store for a quick veggie run (they have a HUGE fruit and veg section, and way cheap).  Where I decided to park in an open handicapped space near the door (yes, people, I DO have a blue placard.  Doctor Awesome gave it to me 3 years ago).  My feet are killing me, and I just need to hobble through the veggie section.  So I pull in and this lady standing by the door starts telling me to back up.  I'm like WHAT?  She says "No, no, I am saving this".  I said, "sorry lady, My car's already in the space, and you can't just save a parking place in a lot that's this busy.".  So she moves and and get out of the car.  Then she says "But you're not disabled."

I hit the fucking roof. 

I may not be in a wheelchair, and I may look like the only thing wrong with me is some extra flubber, but I assure you, the pain and weakness I feel is real.  It may seem ironic to some that I just left the gym, but at that moment, I need to NOT have to limp across the parking lot.  She started whining to anyone who would listen, but the truth of the matter is that I was in pain, and I could give a shit.  So I asked her, "Ever heard of Rheumatoid Arthritis?  Look it up." and walked into the store.  Last I saw, she was still complaining. She's lucky she was old.  If she wasn't I might have been rude.

Ok, maybe that wasn't quick. The rest will be shorter.

I got leeks today.  I rarely do, as they are often too expensive, but these were lovely and huge and fresh, and they smell AWESOME. However, they are also TOO BIG for the veggie drawer.  Good thing I plan on making this tonight (but with broccoli instead of aspargus, since the aspergrass at the store was too thick for me). Doesn't that look tasty?  Probably serve it alongside buffalo burger patties unless hubs prefers no meat (my preference).

I also got zucchini and cauliflower and broccoli.  I pretty much HATE cauliflower, but I love Faux-tatoes made with cauliflower and cheese and bacon, and it is nice to add texture to cream of broccoli soup.

Been working from home today, writing my IRB protocol.  It's more nitpicky than it is difficult, but it is a pain in what SarahK refers to as my "pinkytoe".

I need lunch.  Thinking of trying that new Carl's Jr chicken walnut whatever salad.  Yes, even though Kim Kardashian is advertising it.  Sounds tasty.

I have decided that this year my new year's resolution is to keep it simple and keep focused on what's most important: my health, my family, my students, my work.  In that order.  If I have learned anything over the past year, it's that I am prone to take everything that needs to be done on to my own shoulders and let that stress me out.  I am really good at putting so much energy into work and students and all of those things that I have no energy left for the really important things, like eating healthy, cleaning the house, and making time for the gym and the pool.

Ok, enough for now.  Part II of the Decade in review later.

Posted by caltechgirl at 02:58 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Decade in Review Part Deux

So where were we?  Or more appropriately, when? Oh yeah.

2006 was a big year for me workwise.  I learned to write grants, taught my first classes in my current program, and found out for real that faculty politics make Republicans and Democrats look tame.  Think Japan/Taiwan/South Korea where fights occasionally break out on the floor of the legislature.  And yet I STILL am doing it. You'd think I'd learn. DH rode his bike to work.  We bought dwarf citrus trees and rose bushes for our balcony, and then harvested our first lemons and blood oranges that fall.  I started singing in Caltech's Glee club again.  DH got in a bike accident and then (unrelatedly, actually) got a new bike.  Our next door neighbor had a gas leak when the repairman forgot to hook the line up to her hot water heater, which I discovered by driving into our shared garage.  Thank God there was a gas wrench handy. We started to plan to buy a house.  In October I traveled to Atlanta, where I met the awesome Mullethead, Zonker, and we drove to the wilds of Tennessee to Eric's house for the annual blogmeet.  I met so many of you wonderful folks and had a blast wearing the viking hat and listening to y'all get drunk, and of course, the Elderly Brothers.  Meanwhile, DH got to attend a pair of USC football games, including the Notre Dame game.

The year we became real homeowners!  Starting in January, we began the long process of getting approved for and buying our house, which we moved into in May.  Memorial Day weekend, in fact.  I made the cardinal sin of taking a red eye to Detroit 3 days before we closed (for a conference I was to present at) and missed half the conference sleeping.  Then I booked out of there early so I could be here for the actual closing.  I won't go into all of the asshole tricks that the previous homeowners pulled, nor the unbelievable cheapass shit they thought they could get away with.  Most of that has already been chronicled here. We bonded with the house the day the refrigerator arrived: It was too big.  So we took the handy dandy jigsaw and cut the corner out of the closest kitchen cabinet.  It's my house, I can whack it if I want to, right?  We changed locks and light fixtures, planted flowers, and installed a new sink in the bathroom.  We poured money into fixing the foundation and getting a pointless wall heater removed. We also added on to the family, adopting Princess #2 (who is sleeping next to my feet as I type this!).

2008 began COLD!  We got grandstand tickets to the Rose Parade and stayed up all night before going out at 5 AM to freeze our rears off.  I got lots of awesome pictures, though. Our next project was installing a dishwasher. We ripped out a cabinet we really didn't need (at least not as much as the dishwasher!) next to the sink and installed the damn thing ourselves.  That was easy.  What sucked was having to completely replumb the underside of the sink!  Well, all but the garbage disposal.  I guess it was jealous, though, as it became a casualty of the next earthquake we had, a few months later.  We also replumbed the entire tub/shower since it stopped working the day out-of-town company arrived!  We lost our plum tree courtesy of termites in the roots, and DH borrowed a chainsaw and hacked it to bits. We painted the front room and the bathroom. I started physical therapy, and then graduated to working in the pool on my own. Mom and I worked together on my first batch of jam (nectarine), and we performed the Brahms Requiem in Glee Club.  That was the most amazing performing experience of my life.  Too bad the orchestra sucked. In the fall, I began teaching Cell Biology for the first time.  I went a little nuts on Black Friday, but we totally hit a record number of stores before 7 am, even.  As you can imagine, Christmas was kind of crazy, especially since we were both sick as dogs.

This past year has been all about work for both of us, with one project after another.  While I worked too much, DH installed a gorgeous paver stone driveway in the back yard.  That's really all I can say.  It has been a whirlwind of work and stress and not much else.  I did however, stop for a "staycation" in August.  We went to a lot of Dodger games, including Manny Bobblehead night and the game where the Dodgers beat Colorado to clinch the NL West. Bleacher Beach was the most fun I've ever had at a baseball game.  I started going to the regular gym rather than just the pool, because I was having a hard time challenging myself enough, physically in the water. We went to Disneyland for DH's birthday and had a wonderful time.  We even got "snowed" on.  I've made a ton of jam: Kiwi Pear Lime, Kiwi Strawberry, Apricot (twice), Caramel Pear, Strawberry, Triple Berry (twice), and Fig.   I even made a bunch of tiny jars as favors for a friend's wedding shower! I picked up the crochet hook again, and made a bunch of Christmas presents.

So that's about it, I think. Did I forget anything major?

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 11, 2010

Monday Morning Complaint Log

It's colder in the building than it is outside.
I'm not awake.
I hurt.
Traffic sucked.
The to-do list is already long.

Care to add yours?

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 15, 2010

So I figured something out...

Yesterday was one of those days.  The kind where you find yourself driving home crying because it's all too much?  Yeah.

But I did learn something.  I know now why we were so much less stressed out in high school. Loud music really helps.  The more obnoxious the better.

My ears rang for a good 20 minutes after I got home.  That was nice too.

Posted by caltechgirl at 09:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 19, 2010

Four Days

After a week of meltdowns, on Friday I decided I was taking the weekend off.  No news, no internet, no blogs, no Facebook.

Why yes, I do have a dead farm and a dirty, sad pet, and I am 5 eggs behind in Hatchlings.

Worth it.  I went to San Diego and back (again, picking up this time), ate the world's best donuts, watched movies (including the second dumbest movie I have ever seen), watched football (go Jets! go Saints!), and got a realistic amount of sleep.

I walked in here this morning, plugged in and found out that some of my stress has 3 more days before the deadline, and no one actually needed anything urgently enough for me to be worried about missing it.

But I am still profoundly screwed up.  I need to figure this out, and soon.

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:24 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack