Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back in the midwest

Today, my luggage that went one train stop past mine finally arrived via FedEx. I guess that marks the official start of my break!

(Message to Amtrak - I love traveling by train, even for long distances, even with you screwing up my luggage. If you really wanted to make it perfect though, you would put a wireless signal in each of the cars!)

We decided to spend the holidays in the midwest rather than the PNW. While part of me wants to hide out from the family for the entire month off, we really couldn't justify doing so. We've finally trained our families that we can't be in both Northern Town and Neon Town during Christmas and New Years, but to tell both of them no really wouldn't fly. PNW would mean substantial travel to both while midwest allows for fairly easy access to Northern Town. So, Midwest it is.

It is kind of strange to be here. I've been away long enough that the look of the place seems strange. It is compounded by the fact that all of the students have gone home and it is pretty quiet around campus/house.

I've been able to spend some time with friends from old work. I sometimes feel like I don't have friends, but turns out, I do! Nice to feel loved.

Most of all, it was sooo very nice to wake up with Husband this morning. It seems a bit unreal to think I have a month of this... no need to rush out of bed for work, school, etc and to be in the same house! How lucky I am!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Milk and Water

Going to make oatmeal for breakfast (which I do almost every single morning unless I succumb to the lovely bakery across the street) and pouring milk instead of water into the saucepan is probably indicative that I need the milk based chai tea (my favorite caffeinated drink), yes?

1 down, 3 to go

Its just past midnight and I just printed off the first of 4 papers due in the next 5 days. It feels soo good to get it done. Hopefully I can knock off another 2 tomorrow leaving 3 days to finish the last one which is barely started.

I'm waiting for a couple of TV shows to download. I find if I work until midnight, I need something to unwind or else I'll just keep replaying my work over and over in my head. So, usually I watch TV or something. But, cable TV kind of sucks at this hour on the west coast. So I'm downloading something.

I am sorry to say, Prof Mamma, that I did not send my email response to late dude. I dutifully went down at 2 the other afternoon. It took far longer than it should and totally screwed up the whole day.

The reward, however, is we were working for several hours next to a woman's cube who just graduated from the program. I knew of her on paper because her interest areas are somewhat similar to mine, but had never been able to put her face with the name. After I got done, she asked if I wanted to walk out with her. Then we decided we were both hungry and that sushi was in order. All in all it was a nice time. Time I didn't have, but who can put a price on networking. :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I HATE Group work

Today, I woke up with a bit of a cold. I've been expecting it all week. Husband imported a nasty one while he was here over Thanksgiving and given the pace I've been running, it was only a matter of time.

Still, I got myself out of bed and into the shower at 9am. All I really wanted to do was stay in bed and write. Classes for the most part are over, my last Thursday class was canceled, I was really good about doing all my work for my GRA this week. Everything pointed towards staying in bed.

Except for the part where I had agreed to come to campus to meet with another person as a part of a group project. At 1pm.

So, like I said, I got up, showered, made myself some tea and grabbed the paper for on the go, stopped at the bakery and arrived at my cubicle at 10:45 am. I limited my paper reading to only 30 minutes. I diligently worked on prepping for the meeting for another 1.5 hours. I walked down a floor to meet this person. And...


I leave a note with my cell phone and a statement that I'm upstairs. I come up and check my email to see if he has sent me something. Sure enough, email time stamped 12:30 that states

"here's notes from X article and a checklist. I am suddenly exhausted. I'm going to nap till one, grab a quick shower and hop on my bike to come meet you at two."

My planner clearly states 1pm, X person's Cube. I wrote it down, standing in front of him just 2 nights ago.

Thing is, this person is always like this. He isn't punctual and changes how he is approaching a problem midstream with no notice. It's getting on my nerves. I've been assigned via the greater group to work with just him on this one portion of the project in part to keep him in line. But I'm running out of patience. And we don't need a checklist; we need to finish the outline I made over a week ago.

I understand why there are group projects. This particular project, with the greater group containing 5 people, is particularly important as it is attached to the course I'm taking that is geared more towards a practitioner's MA program which really does require group thinking in and out of school. Furthermore, I am a huge believer in collaborative processes; it is an explicit part of my research. What better way to teach practitioners to collaborate than in school.

So why do I hate this particular group so much? It is a real dilemma. If I can't manage to make this group work without losing my cool then how in the world do I think I can study/extoll the virtues of collaborating in the years to come?

Maybe I should just email him back in about 10 minutes (and 10 minutes from his new appointed meeting time): "Been exhausted all day. Can't stay awake any longer. Went home."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Orange hat

So, its been nearly a month...where have I been?

Well, in grad school I suppose. I've also had 2 visits with Husband, including a nice 5 day long Thanksgiving weekend. Between the two, I just have not been able to find the time to write.

I really shouldn't be writtinig this week either. One week to go, about 80 pages worth of papers to be turned in, nearly half to be written. But right now, I'm the "supporter" in a 2.5 hour long class worth of group presentations. Since I don't have to present today, I think I can manage a post while listening.

Actually, the first presentation was what triggered the "I should blog about that" idea. Really, you have to love student presentations....

Girl gets up in a full wool pants suit. Nice suit, actually; heels and everything.

....with an Orange beenie hat!

Now, I understand that it is unseasonably cold today; it certainly went into my choice of clothes this morning. But, if you can't remove the hat, you probably don't need to put on the suit jacket.

Best part: because this a required class for a practice based Masters program, professor videos all presentations and requires you meet with him to watch and discuss your presentation skills. How will male, very shy (but great speaker) professor broach this issue? I wish I were in her group just to hear his comment.

(I should also add that I do not live in an area where suits are common... in fact, its been shocking to see how casual EVERYONE is ALL THE TIME!)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The good, the bad, and the pretty

The good: I get to see Husband in 48 hours! We are meeting in the city we met in. That means we get to see a few friends who never left after grad school. Extra bonus: my sister and my only niece and nephew just moved there, so I get to see them too!

The bad: I can't find my phone. I called Husband last night after class while walking upstairs to my cube to put away my coffee mug. He had already gone to bed so he didn't answer. I was a bit disoriented (5 hours straight of class + fall back + fighting a cold can do that to you). I can't find my phone this morning. I've looked everywhere in the apartment. I don't leave it behind often. Last time I lost it was about 5 years ago in the last grad school city. Please oh please be on my desk at school!

The pretty: It is another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. Sunshine all around, nice temperatures (well, I think others think it is cold, but they didn't live the past 3, no 4, years in the Midwest), leaves just falling. It is quite picturesque. Apparently winter and the rain that comes with it will arrive late tomorrow to stay for several months. While that saddens me, I am thankful I had such an unseasonably dry fall here... it helped with the transition more than I can express.

Update: My phone was on my desk. Big sigh of relief.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Couple of firsts

Yesterday, I had a couple of firsts which was quite exciting. I needed to go to the Audubon for an interview for a group project. The problem is that the Audubon is located in a difficult to reach place for bikers or public transit (yes, even this western city has its transit limits!). So I logged into my Flexcar account and reserved a car for a couple of hours.

A hybrid. A Honda Civic hybrid to be exact.

Like any good progressive, I've been eyeing the hybrids for years. This, however, was my first chance to drive one. It was a nice little car and enjoyable to drive. Sure, I loved driving my little late 80's Accord back when they were Civic size... drove it proudly in Detroit for quite a while before it finally gave up well past the 200,000 mile mark. But back to the hybrid, it was easy and fun to watch the battery power up and assist when needed.

The Audubon is located on the edge of a great city park that I had not explored yet. That was the other first. And it was a great day to do so with sun shine streaming through the changing trees. I am certainly a city girl, but it had been almost 2 months since I left the inner city. The recharge of quiet, remote city park was lovely.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hanging out with old friends

I love hanging out with old friends... you know the ones you can go years without seeing and pick up right where you left off as if nothing happened. I don't have a lot of old friends. I don't have a ton of good friends period. But, there are a precious few.

I have been lucky enough to have 2 of these friends living in fairly close proximity to WSU. One has come to my city for the weekend. It has been fabulous. I've known him since high school where we fairly close. We grew up in similar family cultures and ended up at the same college (he was a year behind me). It was a great year for me to have him around. He ended studying abroad for a while and then transferring once he returned home. Then I lost track of him (well, he kind of disappeared as he came out of the closet and reinvented himself).

He is extremely funny and I have found myself just cracking up all weekend long! It has been great to learn about his new life, see him so very happy, and talk/think about something other than my current studies or my long distant husband. This was just what I needed before the end of the term push that will start soon enough.