Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dream to Excel

When the alarm went off this morning, I awoke from a dream in which I was cutting and pasting student records in Excel.

Help me.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dreams and memories

I awoke this morning from a vivid dream in which I'd been playing with my dog. In reality, she died while I was away at college as an undergraduate. It was nice to spend time with her this morning, but I really missed her when I woke up. I rummaged through some old photos this afternoon, and they brought back memories of my dog and the house I grew up in. That house also went away when I was an undergrad; my parents sold the home after Spring Break my freshman year. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to the only house I'd ever lived in; I didn't know when I walked out the door at the end of break that they were going to sell. But in my dreams, when I think I'm at "home", it's still that house.

Here is Muffin (named for her toasty brown color) in one of her favorite spots, a grungy old rocking chair. Will ya take a look at that shag carpet?

She also loved to sun herself in the backyard. My mom spent a lot of time gardening, and in the center of this photo, you can see the roses (Sutter's Gold, I believe) that made orange roses my favorite.

Muffin loved to look out the door. I think meerkats remind me of her in this stance. And, my gods, I grew up in the stereotypical 70s household. Wood paneling! Slipcovers! Shag carpets! You can even catch a hint of the humongous console TV off to the left . You can also see the mantel where the stockings were hung with care and glimpse the tree I used to climb.

And this picture is just to prove to Kirsten that I have legs!

Monday, January 14, 2008

For what ails ya

Nothing is quite like a quiet beach at sunset.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2007 Review of Books

This year, I only read 28 books. That may be my lowest total for any year in my entire life. I guess searching for a job, moving to another state, and starting a new job had an impact on my reading. Oh, let's be honest... extraneous web-surfing and obsessive watching of Battlestar Galactica DVDs had an effect, too. I'm hoping to read much more this year, but let's take a look at the best of last year first:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling - this is a no-brainer. I cannot remember the last time I so eagerly awaited the publication of a book. I only regret that we did not spend more time with Snape. Ah, Snape... love the character, love Alan Rickman and envisioning him while I read...Snape....
  • Old Man's War - John Scalzi - I really enjoyed every aspect of this book: the universe, the characters, the writing. I look forward to spending more time in Scalzi's world.
  • The Thief; The Queen of Attolia; The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner - these books are found in the YA section of your local bookseller, but they're great books no matter what age you are. I was told that they were good, but they were spectacular. Of all the books I read this year, these are the ones I give the highest recommendation to you to read, if you haven't already. Now if we could just convince Turner to write faster! The books may not demand sequels, but I'm not ready to let go of the world and the characters yet!

Here's to great reading in 2008!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Greg and I returned from Austin yesterday. It was a good trip, a nice mixture of work and vacation. Now I'm feeling a bit of post-con letdown. Yes, I know it was a "conference", not a "convention", but it rather serves the same purpose for me. I saw many people I haven't seen in months, if not years. It felt good. But it also feels good to be home.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Austin - day 1(.5)

Greg and I flew into Austin yesterday, after a slight weather delay in Phoenix (of all places). I finally got to meet Maureen and her husband Bob, who generously treated us to Texas BBQ. A wonderful way to start our Texas working vacation.

Today was the first full day of the AAS Meeting. My presentation was today, so I can relax the rest of the week. Today went by in a blur: saw an astronaut, saw a Nobel Prize winner, attended a speech by the NASA administrator, shook hands with a NASA director, chatted with old grad school friends, got a hug from an old prof, cheered on many former TAs, judged student posters for a prize, and listened to two current grad students vent their frustrations for about 45 min (each - I think they're ready to graduate).

We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Saturday, January 05, 2008


As in "Enjoying the Weather" - 2008 started just like 2007 ended: clear and sunny. That worked out nicely, as dear David was visiting from Switzerland. It would have been cruel if he didn't have sun shine upon his trip. Here are some recent pics:

Greg and David in Ocean Beach.

Views from Bird Rock:

As in "Under the Weather" - I've been battling allergies or a cold or something. Slight earache, slight sore throat... just enough to make me feel blah. Of course, it isn't like I have to prepare for a conference or anything. Or want to be healthy to get on a flight on Monday. Oh, wait....

As in "Stormy Weather" - It's gloriously gray and gloomy this weekend, though. Coziness-inducing. Mmm... maybe it's time for curative cocoa.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Stolen from a lot of people, this meme is based on the work of Dr. Will Barratt, apparently.

Bold (with asterisks to help it show up)for what applies; italics for what might apply.

1. Father went to college

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

My ex -brother-in-law was an attorney - does that count?

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

Dr. Barrett's Measure of Social Status rates firemen lower than high school teachers, so no.

**7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

**9. Were read children's books by a parent

**10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

Ballet, for two years

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

Let's see... I was considered fat even though I was the ideal weight for my height. And women with Ph.Ds in physics abound in the media, eh?

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college cost.

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.

16. Went to a private high school

**17. Went to summer camp

Two summers, mandatory for high school marching band. I know some of the cost was ameliorated by fundraisers.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

**19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

Sometimes even something as high class as a Best Western!

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18

Most new, but some was made by hand or were hand-me-downs

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

My parents did not buy a car for me, nor my siblings.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child

I remember one painting - original or not, I don't know.

**23. You and your family lived in a single family house

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

I don't consider someone to "own" a home until the mortgage is paid off, so no.

**25. You had your own room as a child.

Yes, once my sister moved out (when I was around 4).

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

27. Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course

28. Had your own TV in your room in High School

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 18

31. Went on a cruise with your family

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

I grew up in California, so heating bills isn't quite an accurate measure. I do recall how much time my parents spent at the dining room table once each month doing the bills, though.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's 2008. How weird does that sound? Plenty weird.

My major goal for 2007 was to find a job and move back to California. As I now live in San Diego, I think I'll consider 2007 to be a success. My goals for 2008 are a bit more modest:

  • To lose the weight I gained during 2007.
  • To take another long road trip.
  • To reclaim time for myself. (This will likely be the tricky one.)

Here's to hoping we all have a wonderful 2008!