clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I've just gotten back into Philly, as part of a trip to Lancaster for my sister-in-law's bat mitzvah next weekend. Coming in to drizzle and the drive up Grays Ferry and Washington to our friends' place was kind of a reminder of the less savory parts of town, but then we went out for a super late brunch with the friends who hosted our joint defense party a year and a half ago and it was pretty great. I am super excited to see everyone here, having not really done a trip back to a city where I used to live in about 5 years or so. There are so many people to see! But on the other hand, the last year or so that we spent here was really rough for me. I have both really positive and really negative associations with this place.

We'll be spending less than half our time in Philly proper, though; we'll be in Lancaster for a few days and up in Hackettstown for a day or so. I'm mostly just trying to stay relaxed, though, and enjoy myself. It's nice to be back, if a bit weird.

going

Sep. 1st, 2011 05:55 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
The part of our move which happens in Philadelphia is basically over. On Monday, we rented a U-Haul and drove some of our furniture and miscellany to my in-laws' in Lancaster, to store in their attic. (Apartments in Ireland are generally furnished so even if it were worth moving our bed or table, they wouldn't be needed there.) We sold some of our other furniture on craigslist over the weekend, and gave some away on freecycle. On Tuesday, movers came to pack up the stuff that is going on a boat to meet us in a month or two in Dublin. Yesterday, we packed up what remained, threw out a lot of junk, donated some stuff to Goodwill and set aside some things to give to people. We left our house the way we found it: clean, echoey, a little run down. It really felt like leaving home; we lived there for five years, and it was our first place together. I moved a lot in Berkeley, so I felt strong ties to Berkeley but less so to specific apartments, but here that was our house, in our neighborhood. Near the tavern and the cupcake shop! Now it's our old house, and we won't have a new home for awhile.

We've also had the opportunity to visit our cats with the friends who are taking care of them, and the cats seem better than when we first dropped them off. They were more personable and normal, and less freaked out, and they are apparently eating more. So I think the scary transition is over for them, which is good. I think they'll be happy for the next few months while we wait for their quarantine to finish, and then an animal shipping service will bring them to us in Ireland.

My defense talk is pretty much done, and I had a practice talk today which went okay. My slides weren't quite ready but I got good comments and found more things to optimize. The moving and everything was a big distraction in terms of preparation, but I've given parts of this talk a lot already, and I did just write the thesis, so I do feel mostly ready at this point. But I'm getting nervous. The defense is tomorrow at 11:30 AM.

We may not be leaving this weekend as was originally planned, due to a delay with Ben's green card. So it's looking likely that we'll head up to Lancaster on Saturday and relax with family until it's time to go, which would probably be early next week. Now that we're out of our house, I have to admit I'm anxious to be gone.
clevermynnie: (Default)
For our anniversary, Ben arranged for us to have dinner at our favorite sushi place, after a walking tour of "Post-Industrial Philadelphia". It was a walking tour from the Preservation Alliance, and here's what they say about the one we did:

"Explore the little known post-industrial landscape of downtown Philadelphia. This 1.5-mile tour focuses on a three-block-wide swath of the city along Callowhill and Willow Streets from Broad Street to the Delaware River. Numerous interesting warehouses, bridges, and other structures will be seen along the way, including the abandoned Reading Railroad Viaduct, Reading Railroad's Terminal Commerce Building, the abandoned Willow Street Steam Generation Plant, and the Callowhill Industrial District. This will be a strenuous 2-hour trek over some gritty streets, complete with some uneven Belgian blocks, abandoned railroad tracks, and even a set of 300 year old steps."
 
It was really interesting. The industrial district mentioned was the doing of Ed Bacon, the city planner of Philadelphia in the sixties, who razed the whole neighborhood to create a region of heavy industry. Which ended up being a waste because industry was leaving Philadelphia at the time anyway. He also had the plan to encircle Center City with freeways, in part to maintain boundaries between certain races and economic classes, and I didn't know this but he had planned to run a freeway through the neighborhood I currently live in. I'm glad that plan failed!

We also went along a few very old streets. One was a native trail along a ridge before European settlers made it into a street, and another was a creek that became a sewer that was eventually covered and paved on top. Philadelphia is famous for being one of the earliest grid system cities, but these roads were so old that they don't follow the grid. You could see cobblestones poking through the pavement in places, and uneven handmade curbs. I took some photos, though I hadn't known what we'd be doing so I failed to bring my real camera.

new ben franklin


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fine arts

Jun. 22nd, 2011 10:44 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
This is the library I've been thesis writing in. It's very ornate, with literary quotes on a lot of leaded glass windows. It's great, nice for when I take a few moment to look away from what I'm writing.

fisher entrance

there is no time so miserable but a man may be true )
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
Had a great weekend with Ron. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Longwood Gardens, which are great places to go back to again and again, and we also visited the Barnes Foundation. The Barnes is this incredible collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, displayed in the namesake's display rooms at a mansion in Merion. From their website:

The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings in the world, including an extraordinary number of masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (181), Paul Cézanne (69), and Henri Matisse (59). The collection also includes important works by Pablo Picasso (46), Chaim Soutine (21), Henri Rousseau (18), Amedeo Modigliani (16), Edgar Degas (11), Vincent van Gogh (7), Georges Seurat (6), Edouard Manet (4), and Claude Monet (4).

It was pretty phenomenal, especially for someone like me who loves that art period so much. And the grounds were really great too, very green and lush with an incredible rose garden. They're moving from their suburban location to downtown Philadelphia very soon, and I'm glad we went to the old site. Also, man, really good food at Resurrection Ale House, which is pretty close to us and yet somehow we don't go there much. It was great having so much time to talk to Ron, one of whose virtues is that he is fun to talk to about a wide variety of things.

My favorite painting that we saw, which I got a postcard of for my desk:



I should do a post of desk postcards sometime. I have a little collection here, which mainly has the theme of water.
clevermynnie: (smile)
The rest of the weekend after the marathon was pretty nice. I spent Saturday evening not really wanting to walk around much, so I replayed Portal, and then on Sunday I was feeling less stiff (still a bit sore) so I was able to help clean up and prepare for a brewing party we had. Some people from Ben's lab and our D&D group came over, and we made a witbier (think Hoegaarden) and ordered delicious delivery tacos and had mochi. It was a great day to stand around in our backyard, because it was sunny but not too warm, and our garden is getting pretty green. We have a lot of strawberries blooming, buds on our blackberry bush, sage, rosemary, parsley, chives, and some violets that I planted recently.

We also had D&D last night, which was fun although I'm realizing that my elven wizard has a lot of interesting abilities but is just not that good at damaging enemies. Our D&D group is splintering as people start to take internships away from Philadelphia, and both of our party tanks may be gone for the summer, so I am considering repurposing my character as a swordmage.

In stressful times I find it's a huge help to have weekends like this.

new

Apr. 24th, 2011 09:27 pm
clevermynnie: (al fresco)
It's a good day and a good time of year to be thinking about new opportunities. My friends Steph and Scott have a new baby, which is wonderful, and Ben and I are looking at what jobs and places will come next for us. And outside, the trees are reinventing themselves to show us how it's done.

abstract tree flowers

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clevermynnie: (al fresco)
The highs for the next few days here are in the sixties. The sixties! This means probably a lot of mud at my race this weekend, but it also means I should really post some photos I have from winter things before it gets much warmer. This is wandering around the Lower East Side with [livejournal.com profile] vivnsect, and enjoying the aftermath of the January blizzard around Philadelphia.

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philadelphia winter sunset
clevermynnie: (Default)
It has been very wintry here of late. Last week we got 15" of snow, after a mild ice storm and a memorable if terrible run in freezing rain and slush. The snow has been slow to melt, because it's been cloudy and cold, and a few times we've gotten another dusting of snow on top of what's on the ground. And the Schuylkill has been frozen over, on and off, which I love to see.

This weekend I went for a trail run with Melanie, because Febapple is in less than three weeks and I hadn't done trails in awhile. But because of the recent snow, it was about two hours of plodding through calf-deep snow in the woods, two hours of running on snowmobiled/snowshoed packed snow. Hard work but very beautiful. It made me realize that I used to be in the woods in the winter a lot, skiing, but since moving here I have been missing out on that. Febapple will hopefully have less powder to slog through, but it has a lot of hills so it'll be slow nonetheless. I am very excited about it!

And today, while everyone in the Midwest is getting a blizzard, we are getting still more freezing rain. I slipped on the ice and fell for the first time this year the other day, while walking... I think it is actually easier to fall while walking than while running. If I am running and I slip, my step is a lot lighter and I am probably already in the process of putting my other foot down. Running has a lot of quick weight transfer which helps with recovering from a slip. Though, I do tend to run slower on packed snow or ice than I would on pavement. But when you are walking, you spend more time with all your weight on one foot, and you are less prepared to quickly shift balance, so you may end up with some bruises and a slightly messed up phone.

I have to say though, I am really enjoying winter here. I like the cold and having snow on the ground for so long, and actually this is the most running that I've ever done in winter and I'm enjoying it.
clevermynnie: (smile)
At the end of last week I was not happy, and I tried to have a weekend that would give me the steam to get through this week and to my vacation. So on Friday night I had D&D, where we finished the campaign that we had been doing for awhile in a pretty spectacular way while eating excellent Indian food from Ekta.

I met up with Melanie for trail running Saturday, at Washington's Crossing State Park, which was so enjoyable and relaxing. Beautiful, cold winter day, about 11 miles, felt very good. I am on track for my more restrictive marathon recovery, having run 0 miles the week after, 10 miles the following week, and 21 miles last week. And afterward, we ate at this restaurant very close to the park, called It's Nutts, where some fried chicken really hit the spot after running. But when I got home, the sore throat I'd been having all day was starting to get worse and I spent the evening being of very little use to anyone.

On Sunday I still had a sore throat, so I spent most of the day at home playing either WoW or Mass Effect 2. I only went out to go with Ben and some friends to Jong Ka Jib, this very excellent Korean soft tofu place. I had never had this style of tofu before, but it was great: very spicy and warming, perfect for a sore throat. And in the evening, Ben and I made a great stew from part of my Christmas gift to him, which was a lamb shoulder. The stew was awesome, and he liked the other part of my Christmas gift to him which was a Cannuli's sweatshirt (he has been saying he wanted one for a long time, so I obliged).

It was overall a really good weekend, though utterly unproductive in either work terms or preparing for vacation terms. So now I will probably be very busy until Thursday when we go to New Mexico.

on beer

Sep. 4th, 2010 04:05 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
We have not been brewing this summer because our house is too hot to ferment almost anything. The only strain of yeast we have been able to use is for a saison, so in June we made one, but the fermentation was incredibly slow so we only recently were able to bottle and now drink it. It's delicious, though, so today is the first brew in awhile and we are just making another saison! It's still hot, and we'll be more patient with this one since we'll be able to brew other stuff soon as well. We are making a ginger saison so I'm very excited, although Ben has taken pains to assure me that it will not be like ginger beer, just beer lightly flavored with ginger. We'll see.

My mom has gotten into brewing as well, which is awesome, and she recently sent me an impressive list of what she has brewed so far. She's only been brewing since June and she has already made 13 batches of beer! Some of them need to age, and so are just sitting around, but still! Let's see if I can list what Ben and I have made... we started with an American amber ale, cider, then a witbeer, an IPA, a pilsner, an oatmeal stout, a Munich lager, an Amarillo IPA, a altbier, a cherry wheat, a barleywine, and the saison which is now ready to drink. The best of those were probably the Munich lager, the oatmeal stout, and the cherry wheat... every batch was pretty good and very drinkable, although with some we got something very different from what we intended (notably the Amarillo IPA, which threw off a huge banana smell during fermentation and then was sort of fixed by dry hopping, and came out fruity but decent). So that's 12 batches in about a year of homebrewing, which is like one a month except that we didn't really brew this summer.

We did recently go to a cool beer event, though. For our anniversary, my gift to Ben was to go to a brewer's night at the Philly Beer School; they had the head brewer from Flying Fish, which is a brewery in New Jersey that we like (and actually visited, a couple years back). I wasn't really sure what it would be like, but basically we had two small glasses and did five rounds of having two beers together, and while we tried the beers the brewer talked about what went into making them, beer generally, and random stories. It was really fun! The beers we got to have were their Farmhouse Summer Ale, Extra Pale Ale, ESB, Abbey Dubbel, Hopfish IPA, Double IPA, American Trippel, Wallonian Rye, and Octoberfish. I had only had a third of the beers before, and it was fun to taste things and get to ask questions. I also appreciated the breadth of styles they brought out, which gave us a lot of ideas about what to try... and the stories that the brewer told about making the double IPA, and the issues he had brewing it, were really funny.

One of the best parts was that we had both eaten a small dinner before the tasting, to avoid feeling woozy but also to leave room for beer, and then as we walked out we realized that the place next door sold funnel cakes. We looked at each other, and I guess one of the ways you can tell if you know someone well is whether you can correctly interpret their "WE MUST HAVE FUNNEL CAKE" look. The funnel cake was perfect after all that beer. :)
clevermynnie: (see us waving)
I often associate songs really strongly with periods of time, or how I felt about a specific part of my life... sometimes because I just happened to listen to them a lot then, sometimes because the lyrics spoke to what I was feeling. (Example: Everything's Not Lost was when I didn't get into graduate school, and Vindicated when I did.) I think I should blog more of those kind of connected songs.

This summer was a bit rough, and I kept thinking of that lyric by the Shins from Young Pilgrims:

But I learned fast how to
Keep my head up 'cause I
Know there is this side of me that
Wants to grab the yoke from the pilot and just
Fly the whole mess into the sea


But then recently I heard this song for the first time and it seemed very apt for this summer.



Every day was the same: still praying for rain...

looking up

Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:05 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
Yesterday turned around late in the day with several enjoyable things happening, and overall it started to feel like I was coming out of a slump. To keep the momentum up, I wanted to write about a few cool Philadelphia things that have happened recently.

The first was several weeks ago, in the final intramural softball game of the year. Our softball games used to be on a small field close to the physics building, but that field has been demolished and is being rebuilt as part of this new park the university has planned. So this year, our games have been either in the track and field stadium or out at this random field that takes about 30 minutes to walk to from my building. It has not been ideal but the games are fun. But for some reason, for our playoff game they actually put us on in the baseball stadium! For one thing, you can't hear the freeway, but also the field was really nice, with an actual announcer and clear areas for the bases and the pitcher. The best part about it was the ambiance given by this huge power station behind the outfield, which looked glowering and industrial, and the train tracks running overhead nearby. Hearing the roar of the train, looking out at the field and the towers, and playing a good game of softball with friends was pretty amazing.

Then, a couple of weekends ago, Ben and I went on a short kayaking tour of the Schuylkill River, from Walnut street up to the waterworks and boathouses. We were in really small and tricky-to-maneuver kayaks, and the route is basically the same route that I run on but viewed from the water instead of next to the water. The waterworks are especially impressive from the river. I didn't have my camera for fear of getting it wet, but here is a nice picture of the view. It was blisteringly hot, so we were going from bridge to bridge and trying to stay in the shade. But it was a lot of fun--different from the boating I've done in a more natural setting, like the other fun trip with [livejournal.com profile] milkiestway and his friends for the 4th of July. I liked it a lot.

Most recently, in my stint as a juror I ate lunch twice at Reading Terminal Market, which has an amazing amount of cheap, good food. On the second day, while serving on my trial, I took my lunch to LOVE Park and ate there. You can see down the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Museum of Art from LOVE Park, and on a nice day it's a great place to be eating delicious food. And afterward, I went back to work, which is to say back to jury duty which just happened to be in City Hall. :)

jury duty

Jul. 28th, 2010 08:54 pm
clevermynnie: (wealthy young woman-about-town)
I was called in for jury duty on Tuesday (the second time in my four years here that I had to go in), and served on the jury for a trial today. It was a lucky trial to get picked for: very short, straightforward, nonviolent. The whole thing finished today, including an hour for deliberations at the end.

I can pinpoint why I was picked as a juror: they asked me a question I didn't expect about one of my answers to the juror questionnaire, and I paused, then said that since I didn't have all the information about the situation they asked about, I didn't have a strong opinion because how could I without the facts? I guess that is a thing you can say if you, in the future, want to be on a jury. :P

And, I find it interesting that some of the things I was exposed to through the feminist blogosphere--namely, information about chronic pain and ideas about classist privilege--ended up being very useful as a juror. Of course, the evidence-based approach of science was also a big help, as were the kinematics of collisions (it was a case about a car accident).

So now I have missed two days of work and made $18.
clevermynnie: (Default)
What happened last weekend is that many events, most of which I was excited about individually, all coincided on the same weekend. The weekend was pretty fun but very tiring and intense, especially given that it was right on the heels of KN Summer Camp.

On Friday, Daria showed up from a work trip to Baltimore, so we took her out for cheesy crab fries and Belgian ales. I walked around with her for awhile, and showed her my lab and then the gelato place (coconut, lime, chocolate, mango chile). Saturday morning we went to the farmer's market, then drove out to Longwood Gardens for the day to walk around and see flowers, many kinds of trees, an amazing greenhouse, and a big exhibit on scents and perfumes (pictures later). And at the end of the day, we watched a nice production of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Ruddigore, which a friend of ours was in. Long day but pretty fun. Early in the day we spotted a stray cat that has suddenly been around our neighborhood a lot, which Ben thought might be the cat mentioned in a craigslist lost cat posting. We wanted to help it so we put it in our bathroom with food, water, and a catbox (keeping it away from our cats for flea/disease reasons) and emailed the craigslist person but then went out for the day. In retrospect that was a bad idea, because while we were out the cat jumped up to our tiny ventilation window, clawed through the screen, jumped down onto our kitchen roof and escaped, and the craigslist person never wrote back indicating it wasn't their cat. We think now that it's someone's cat who is letting it outside... but argh, it was stressful and horrible and we were worried it was injured until we spotted it again the next day, unharmed. I can't imagine wanting to keep outdoor cats in my neighborhood, though.

Sunday was the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut trail half-marathon in Wyomissing, which I was pretty excited about. It was my first trail race as well as my first half. The race organization was the best that I have ever seen, and basically the only bad thing about the race was the weather. They had quick check-in, actual women's race shirts, amazing post-race food, a gorgeous course, ample water stops, lots of nice people and kind of a small town race feel. But the temperature was something like 75 at race start, 85 when I finished the half, and the humidity was 80-90% the whole time. I was just drenched in sweat from early on, and when I tried to go faster it would feel like my body wasn't behaving normally. Obviously I run outside in the heat here, but it's just a lot slower! I couldn't imagine running a full in that weather; it would take ages. I ended up finishing in 2:30, which is the same as my first half split when I ran the Indianapolis Marathon in October... the weather makes such a big difference. I was not too concerned with time though, partly from never having run a timed half before, partly from the weather, and also by force because we overslept in the morning and in the rush to leave I forgot my watch! They didn't have clocks anywhere along the course either, but I think that made it feel more laid back since I couldn't check my pace and just tried to listen to my body.

They are doing another race in August, in Pennypack Park, called the Schnitzel Half; it's not up on their website yet but they put registration forms in the race goody bags. On the one hand, it was such a well-done race, but on the other hand, it will still be summer, and UGH. I am just happy that I finished and didn't get too dehydrated or anything. Also, Ben took a couple pictures before and after:

ready to run

listening

tired


After eating the German pastries they had at the finish (seriously, best post-race food ever) we had to drive to Lancaster to measure the rooms in Ben's dad and stepmom's new house (they are driving out here next week to live in Lancaster). I took a shower there, though I had no soap or towels, and when we finally finished with that we drove back to Philadelphia to go to a PGWISE board cookout. We were both pretty tired, but the food was great and it was fun chatting with people. We finally came home, decided we'd rather do things like grocery shop in the morning, and went to bed really early.

So lots of good things happened last weekend, although the concentration of events was a bit higher than would be optimal and a couple parts were stressful. But I am glad that we got to do so much!

hectic

Jun. 3rd, 2010 06:08 pm
clevermynnie: (Default)
After a weekend of trying to get out of the house to avoid feeling sorry for myself, all of a sudden things picked up and have been crazy. The main reason for this is that this weekend is my guild meetup, which I'm very excited about! Two of my guildies are showing up in a few hours, and tomorrow we will drive to NYC to pick up my guildmaster and then to Buffalo for Niagara Falls and various shenanigans. I am excited and nervous, for a lot of reasons. So I have had to pack for the trip, and also clean the house for having guests, and somehow I felt like I should make a lot of food... I made grapefruit granitas, sourdough bread, and iced tea for people, and then rode the kitchen preparing wave to make chicken stock and reduce some balsamic vinegar as well, and of course prepare food for myself to eat. I still have to go get some beer to bring (in addition to some of our homebrews), I needed to copy our house key and get it to our friend who will feed the cats, oh and I had a guitar lesson and a softball game this week as well. And there is a softball game tonight too! On top of which I have been working and working to finish this paper I've been writing for work, which feels SO CLOSE but still needs some cuts.

Next weekend will be only slightly more relaxed, but it looks like I have a friend from out of town visiting, a musical to go to that we know someone performing in, the trail half that I signed up for, and a cookout for PGWISE. Oh, and three days after that Jeanine and her baby are coming to visit for a week. So things will continue to be crazy, but in a fun way.
clevermynnie: ((open your eyes))
I just went for a run in what Weather Underground is calling "light snow mist". They have a lot of terms for kinds of precipitation on the east coast, many of which sound horrible (ice pellets, for one). "Light snow mist" was big, wet snowflakes being blown sideways off the river; after 40 minutes in it, my face, hair, and sweatshirt were very wet, and mostly not with sweat. It has been doing this all day, but it's somewhat warm out and the ground is wet from rain two days ago, so it's only now starting to stick a little. But the cloudiness and cold weather are much easier for me to take when there is snow. This is my favorite winter, weather-wise, that we've spent in Philadelphia.
clevermynnie: (Default)
My sister-in-law Aimee was visiting this weekend, and she arrived just before it snowed 26 inches which means we spent most of her visit inside, cooking and talking. We went out once on Saturday, for hot chocolate from Betty's Speakeasy a block away, and twice today, once to give our neighbor who shoveled for us cookies and once to take Aimee to the train station. So mostly we just relaxed inside; we made a Shaker Lemon Pie, spiced molasses oatmeal cookies, sourdough bread, crepes stuffed with pumpkin cheesecake, beignets, maple candy in snow, and dan dan noodles. We made her try our homebrewed cider and whitbeer, and opened a bottle of mead that we started in September (it was interesting but too young, so the other one will wait awhile longer before we drink it).

I have a couple of pictures from the snow this weekend and a couple of pictures from the last time we brewed that I wanted to share... and I have a weird picture of a "snowman" we made. The snow was piling up on our barbeque which we still have not taken inside, so Ben made a snow head on it using cherries and a carrot... when it got dark out the snow head became kind of alarming, leering in at us in the kitchen. And when I say alarming, I also mean, hilarious.

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yards, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.

snow

Dec. 23rd, 2009 01:59 pm
clevermynnie: (I see beauty)
We ended up getting 20" of snow over the weekend, which is still being cleared from some places and slowly melting. I loved walking around in the snow, seeing the snow, trudging through it, but I am definitely looking forward to a week in southern California where I don't need a big coat and boots to go outside. (Technically, when I ran outside I didn't have those, but it was dodgy.) Anyways, I took pictures!


bridge, originally uploaded by clevermynnie.



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extremes

Dec. 19th, 2009 09:49 pm
clevermynnie: ((open your eyes))
Today has been gorgeous; there is a huge snowstorm over the northeast right now which is hitting the mid-Atlantic states the hardest, so Philly has seen a foot and a half of snow fall today. That's the official line, anyways, although in some spots like my backyard it's getting blown in deeper. Our little barbeque, which I guess we should have taken in already, is almost buried (meaning over two feet of snow there). I went in to work today and loved walking through the snow, although at that point it was less than a foot deep. I took some pictures, but I will probably take more tomorrow with the additional snowfall. I love this, it really feels like winter and like Christmas.

I am a little sad about not going to New Mexico this year. I mean, we went there in July instead, and I loved being there in the summer and getting to hike and be outside, but this'll be the first time that I don't go at all in the winter. It feels weird to have to ship gifts to my parents instead of stowing them in my luggage, to know I won't get to sit around talking to them, relax reading, eat big piles of delicious food. I'm looking forward to going to southern California for a week, a lot, and I guess in some ways it'll be more relaxing than Los Alamos is just because I always end up feeling weird there, like I no longer belong and need to get out. And it helps that I have been eating a lot of green chile lately, the frozen stuff we brought back in the summer, and that I've seen several of my Los Alamos friends recently. But still.

And yes, work on Saturday. I have been working a lot recently, because my experimental setup was down for renovation for so long and I built up this list of experiments to run and now I am trying to get them all in before we leave on Thursday. I have been trying to use time the best I can, always having something running. There was an unpleasant period this week where I needed to alternate 2-hour data-taking sessions with 8-hour device treatments, so I went in at 7 AM, then at 5 PM, then at 3 AM, then at 1 PM. Then I took a break and slept a lot. I'm feeling very paper-oriented recently, as in, I want to publish some papers and graduate someday please. It's not that I'm not enjoying graduate school: if anything, I've finally gotten into a groove, where I am competent at all the skills I need, I can help other people without hobbling my own work, I have friends and people that I like around me, I feel comfortable talking to my advisor and working with her, and I can make meaningful progress on interesting scientific questions. That is really awesome. But now, I want to achieve and move forward. I guess this is what the second half of grad school feels like.

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