Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Deep, thoughtful year-end post

Um, I really need to come up with something to say for my last post of the year. Something profound, that sums up the spirit of 2008 for me in my journey of life.

Oh well. Can't think of anything. Instead, here's the latest:

We're leaving for my family's "Christmas" tomorrow morning, so I'm trying to pack, which right now translates to blogging and thinking about looking up some Margaret Cho stand-up on YouTube, as well as the the Inaugural Shoe Drive that I read about on the West Seattle blog (great idea!), and wondering if I'll be able to go back to 100% on my special no gluten/dairy/sugar/potatoes diet including supplements, tinctures and "daily fun" naturopathic routine (heck I've spent so much on this thing so far, I can't stop now!), all while wondering if I can permanently switch to the exercise ball as my desk chair even though my back gets fatigued (since after all that is the point, right, to work out my core?) which leads me to wonder if I should suspend my gym membership since I never made it last quarter since my scheduled got so crazy, but maybe this quarter will be different -- I sure hope so -- even though I've been "resting" my wonky hip, but it doesn't seem to have gotten any better.

But who cares about all of that...let's think about 2009. Next year I'd like to: host more dinners and parties at our house, do another one-mile open water swim with a better time than last year (shouldn't be hard to do if I can FLOAT), more picnics in the summer time, start writing a story, maybe take a drawing class if there's time (not likely), stick with the naturpaths plan for at least another 6 months, and (this is my favorite one)...eliminate 250 pounds of stuff from the house by the end of January (I just pulled that number out of the air, as it sounds challenging yet doable.) Doesn't that sound like a great idea?! I'll report back.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

Looks like we're staying home for Christmas, and rescheduling family Christmas for New Year's Eve. I don't know when we'll celebrate New Year's Eve. Maybe sometime in January. (Actually, that's not a bad idea. January gets so gloomy...)

Anyway, today will be a banner day anyway because:

- neighborhood taco truck gives out free tacos (hopefully we'll have time to partake)
- Trader Joe's French Truffles for $2.99
- frivolous baking
- possibly finding Santa somewhere for August photo
- Christmas Eve church service: I was really sad about not being able to go to midnight mass at St. James. I thought it would be years before August could handle 3 hours of sitting after 10 pm, but turns out they and other nearby churches have children's services earlier in the evening. Who knew! (Actually, most regular church-goers are certainly in the know, but us heathens must use the internet to discover such things.) I loves me some beautiful church music on Christmas Eve!
- making Risgryngrot rice pudding for after the service
- cleaning the house (maybe not the most fun part of the day, but necessary for full relaxation tomorrow.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I hesitate to blog about this since one should not look a gift horse in the mouth. But it's been on my mind so I'll proceed.

I got a 3.9 in stats. I am stunned I got a 3.9 in stats. I'm almost ecstatic, except for the looming feeling that I don't deserve a 3.9 in stats. I went into the final with less than a 3.9 and knew I'd be thrilled if I could keep my pre-final grade, also realizing that it was more likely my grade would go down.

Day of the final came. As the TA passed out the test, she said "...don't hate me..." We laughed and said, "Why in the world would we hate you?" Then I started to read the test. It was tough. There were questions that I only spent cursory study time on, and a few I didn't understand at all. The problem: TA prepped us for test and prof wrote the test.

I did the best I could on the test. I tend to make dumb errors when doing math, but I went really slow, double-checked my work, etc. Once done, I convinced myself that I'd be okay with a lower grade than I'd hoped for going into the test.

So what happened? Did everyone bomb the final and they had to curve the grades dramatically*? That's the only thing that could've happened, other than me getting really lucky on my questionable answers. Or maybe it's just a flat out error on my grade. Even so, it makes me think about grade inflation that's happened in the last 10-15 years or however long. When I was in college the first time, I was thrilled to get A-range grades (it didn't happen very often...in my first 2 years the only A grades I received were in The Art of Listening to Music and Asian-American History), and very happy with B-range grades. I wasn't a great student -- my priorities were on having fun -- but teachers just plain graded differently back then. They were not so generous with the 4.0s. Now that I've been back in school I've been surprised at how many people expect, even demand a 4.0.

Last quarter, when I was teaching, my advisor told me that a good average grade for a 100-level class was a 90%, so I curved my grades just a little to fit this mean. But I was surprised: 90% average for 100-level. I don't think this is how my professors graded way back when.

Anyway, I'm glad I got the grade I did...but if I were to grade my own performance and understanding of stats, I'd give myself a 3.4-3.5. And if this were 1990, I would've given myself a 2.8.

* Y'know, this could've been it. I sat with a group of guys who seemed to do really well in the course. During the test, one of them put his pencil down and then put his head on the desk. I found that reassuring.

Am I overthinking this? Of course I am. Moving on, promise.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Only 32 more days

...to celebrate the Bush presidency! Celebrate right now with a little game of "Sock and Awe"...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Assorted colors

I don't have anything really pressing to write, just a few small things jangling in my head. Plus, I'm relishing the fact that there's time to just have a few small things jangling in my head.

I started out the holiday shopping season determined to buy gifts from only independent stores. Well, scratch that. I just couldn't resist the ease of Amazon, plus since they're a local employer, it's all good. Now about Target, they're not so much a local employer, but hey, maybe any shopping right now is good for the economy.

Speaking of Target, I went there last night to pick up some colored lights, and walked in circles until I realized they have no lights. I think there was one box of icicle lights, and lights incorporated in fake garlands and wreaths and things, but no actual strings of lights. Went over to Walgreens, and they were having a 75% off lights sale. Bingo.

I need to get our Christmas letter thingy rolling, but that requires a photo, which requires August NOT having a disgusting looking nose. We may need to use a less fresh photo this year. I'm hoping that her cold clears up enough to run up to the Christmas at the Junction on Sundays thing and get her picture with Santa at Cafe Verite.

Meanwhile, big snow storm is predicted for tonight (or at least that's what they were saying this morning), so I rented enough movies to last us for a while if we're snowed in (Seattle-style), including Wall*E. Can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sixteen months

I need a break from my paper writing. What a perfect time to note August's development.

August likes to run and climb. She's also hep to dancing when the mood strikes.

August can say maybe 40-50 words (or more that we just don't recognize): ball, dog, milk, please, no, yes, eyes, nose, hair, car, Elmo, baby, duck, nap.

August does not usually say Mama and Dada, though she can. These were not her first words. We think 'dog' probably was her first word.

August is 23.5 lbs and about 31 inches as of a few weeks ago.

August likes to feed her animals, give them bottles, etc.

August might be able to identify herself as "Auguh" (or so it seemed when I asked "Who's that baby?" last night when we were looking in the mirror).

August's favorite toys are her ride-on-top firetruck, Sully the monster, stacking rings, toy bottle, books, my cell phone, monkeys and her favorite teddybear.

August has a high tolerance for discomfort/pain, i.e. she's always crashing into things and doesn't seem to notice.

August likes to touch Sammy and T-ko's noses.

August sleeps 7 pm - 7 am as she has since she was 3.5 months old.

August is afraid of Tickle Me Cookie Monster, but not Cookie Monster on tv.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day off

Yesterday was Ray's birthday, and he was very deliberate about what he wanted to do for the day: stay in sweats, read paper, drink coffee, watch random tv, draw, waffles (not necessarily in that order). This was possible since August was at Nana's for the weekend.

Anyway, it made me hanker for a day off, since my birthday was at the beginning of the quarter and I was frantically (literally) pulling together lectures and Powerpoint slides. I might have an opportunity for a day off this week or next, on Friday or next Thursday. It'll have to be contained to 9 am to 4 pm, but there's a lot I could do in that time frame. Here's my plan:

Swim OR naturopath appt (depending on day)
Watch movie, drink coffee
Organize 2 areas of the house
Watch another movies and eat strategic off-limits items (wheat, sugar, dairy)

I know it doesn't sound like much, but it sounds like heaven to me!