Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Organizing things is the key to making any progress! This isn't for any practical reason, but rather for aesthetic reasons. It's not that I couldn't find what I want without devising a system. It's that without a system I just don't want to find anything. It's a strange realization. I wonder if I'm in the wrong line of work, given that I find the system (the form) more appealing than the stuff that the system contains (my actual scholarship). Or maybe it's just a phase.

By the way, Intrepid the hermit crab has now joined his Pokey companion in the invisible world of moultitude, which I should probably be pleased about (they find the environment I provided for them to be congenial to their needs) but instead feel a little bit abandoned. I'm trying to figure out if there's any reason to keep putting out food. Probably not, right? But I guess I will have to keep checking to make sure they haven't come out yet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sketch Diary

Lately I have had lots of stress and one thing I find that comforts me and helps put me in a productive frame of mind is making little pictures. I won't say I'm learning to draw because that implies that I'm learning from someone or something. I'm just practicing drawing, which I have never been all that good at. Here are some recent sketches though.

My first drawing in a very long time. I was quite dissatisfied but Pocket of Bolts liked it a lot. After he liked it, I liked it more too. It is clumsy, but looks like I did that on purpose!

Same shell as above. For several days, Intrepid spent the daytime wedged with his whole shell into the hole of this bigger shell. It was really funny!

Copied from a National Geographic photo, while I couldn't sleep one night.

Practicing drawing "shiny." The teapot my students gave me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Intrepid and Pokey

After weeks of hesitation, I have finally taken the plunge and acquired my first pets since the ill-fated Chinese turtles. Yes, if you can believe it, I was anxious about whether I was up to the responsibility of raising... hermit crabs. Finally, I decided it was silly to have a terrarium all set up with nothing in it, so yesterday I bravely acquired the little critters.

It's funny how from the minute I put them in their new home they showed extremely different "personalities"--I mean, if something can have personality in a brain the size of a pin-head. The smaller one ("Intrepid") literally hit the ground running, explored all over the cage immediately, and did some death-defying stunts on some of the taller shells. The larger one ("Pokey") didn't even venture to put his legs out of his shell for about five minutes. I was worried that it had died in transit! When it finally did get moving, it retreated immediately under the huge shell I gave them to hide in, and has not been seen since. (Intrepid disappeared during the day today but has made a few more exploratory laps of the cage this evening.) I am excited to think Pokey might possibly be molting. When I peeked under the shell, it was buried down in pretty far.

Pocket of Bolts just thinks they're feeling a little hot. So are we! Heat really doesn't agree with me. Have been huddled up in the bedroom, the only room so far that has an air-conditioner, for most of the day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


This is a picture of me taken in Hawaii, but I had to put it up here because I think it makes me look unusually strong! I think it was just an accident of posture, since I generally look softer and rounder. Maybe not for long though!

Yesterday I mentioned how my fitness rating was so excellent at all? Today I had to pay for it. I went and did the first workout routine as recommended by the computer program (based on my goals, test results, demographic info, etc.). It turned out to be really hard. What was supposed to be about a one hour workout plus some cardio ended up taking me more like two hours. And I am extremely sore.

Still, it was a fun way to do exercise. Like weight watchers, it appeals to the compulsive record-keeping side of me. The computer spits out a workout card, you jump through all the hoops it gives you, writing down the results (how many reps you managed) and give it back to them. It gets put back in, and contributes to (at least one is led to believe) further customization of the next workout. The desire for completeness even forces me to do the hated ab exercises.

The important role of mirrors in weight-lifting areas: I sat tediously pumping little bits of iron and studying my face and figure. I look strong! I asked Pocket of Bolts, what if I get too muscly and it is gross? He says it is probably not a worry, but he'll be sure to tell me if I do. I don't want to be a female body-builder or anything. But it's nice to contemplate being a really strong woman. There's really not much of a down-side, at least for now!

Ikea Nesting Instinct

We have been back in our little home for a few weeks now. I would say we are both alternating between bursts of nesty domesticity and occasional moments of post-wedding blues. It's hard to go back to normal after such a lot of big and intense events. Setting up our little nest is a fun distraction though. One of the things we talked about during our honeymoon was how to make our space more productive, and we concluded that we need to change around the furniture in the study. You might think this is a strangely mundane topic to discuss on our honeymoon but actually it was a really good time to talk about many aspects of our "new" life. I mean, it's not like things have changed drastically, but it's true that we both do feel a little different about our lives together now, and that we want our circumstance to reflect that.

Anyway, the long and short of it was that we got the IGo car for the afternoon and went to Ikea. As usual we ended up with more stuff than we intended, but we had a great time. The pictures are us doing the traditional round of Ikea furniture assembly. I particularly like my pigeon toes holding down the frame of the small drawer assembly, and the slightly crazed look in Pocket of Bolts' eyes as he ponders the smaller pieces of our new kitchen island. The kitchen island is great! It doubles our counter space and gives us room for the new appliances we have as well.

Other things we've done include finally joining the gym next door. It's expensive compared to the school gym, but can't be beat for convenience. I mean, it's in the next building over and is open 24 hours during the week! I think we will especially appreciate it in the winter, and if I take advantage of some of the free classes it will help get me out of the house--now that I'm not working at an external job and could probably become a shut-in if I don't watch out. I had a fitness test yesterday and I was overall "Excellent" (there is only one rank above "Excellent" and that is "Superior", but I have a long way to go)! It's true that I am feeling in pretty good shape lately. Pocket of Bolts is too. Hawaii, far from being an episode of total decadence as we had feared, turned out to be a very active sort of vacation with so much hiking and swimming that it nearly counter-balanced our self-indulgent eating. So we are excited about being healthy and domestic, and I am actually managing a bit of enthusiasm for dissertation work as well. It's not easy, mind you.

Well, more soon.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008