Monday, October 29, 2007

a long to-do list

With this trip to Saudi Arabia rapidly approaching, my to-do list lengthens and my available time shrinks. I desperately need to do laundry (let's not go into detail on that one) and run a few errands at Target. The midterm in my lame-o class is coming up on Thursday, and we've just been assigned a problem set due the following day. The professor in that class is so bad that I can't even rant about him any further. In short, he talks too fast, has a foreign accent, and slurs all the important words together. Plus we leave for Saudi Arabia the very next day, which makes me feel all rushed. To fill in some details, I'm traveling with a group of professors from my department to a university in Dhahran that we might collaborate with, to get a feel for what it's like there, given the dramatically different culture of SA. I'm not sure what to expect, but I will take as many pictures as possible (I hope), and paper-blog about the experience. I bought some long-sleeved button-down shirts and my mom mailed me a scarf that I can wear around my neck (to show respect for the culture of female modesty there). Honestly, I can't believe it's like four days away.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

stomach gurgles

I took my mechanics of materials midterm today in an absence of flying colors, but now that's it's over with, I'm not that concerned about it anymore. Good for me.

I find myself to be incredibly tired lately, seemingly lacking a spare minute to take a breath and gather my sanity together. With one midterm down and one to go, I also have this upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia in the back of my mind. Okay, more like the front of my mind, like a giant hovering lion waiting to pounce on me. Needless to say I'm a little nervous. I'll be traveling with a group of profs from my department, and all travel and lodging arrangements are being taken care of, so I shouldn't have much to worry about. We leave around 11pm next Friday night, and arrive in Dhahran on Sunday morning. Hmm, talk about red eyes. I got the required waiver today so that I'm covered by MIT travel insurance, which is important because Saudi Arabia is considered a "highest risk" country. It should be an amazing experience, and I am pretty proud to represent the students of my department on an international visit.

Hockey season has started, and I'm super stoked to improve my skillz even more this year! This season, my goal is to become more aggressive. That's right, I'm going to take the puck away from YOU! I think I'm kind of timid on the ice, for fear of getting knocked over maybe. Well, I shall hesitate no more, from now on!

Anyway, tomorrow morning is my second-to-last day of rowing for the fall, and I'd better get to bed now so I don't feel like my head will explode tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2007

post from a train

I’m riding on the Amtrak towards Boston, after an autumn weekend in Dover, NH. The weather really got chilly today, and I wished I’d dug out my winter coat before coming up. James and I did a little of this and that over the weekend, starting with a tasty pizza dinner on Friday evening after I arrived on the train. I happily scored a free ride up to Dover by accidentally sitting in a seat that had already been marked for a destination, causing the conductor to not check my ticket. Since I have the 6-ride pass, this meant I didn’t use one of the rides! Yay! Thus I involuntarily stick it to the man once again.

We tore ourselves out of bed on Saturday at 10:45am to bike to brunch with James’s roommate Dana, who is part of some kind of biker gang. You’re probably imagining some kind of leather-jacket-clad Harley group, but in fact the type of bike in question here is more like a 1970s cruiser bike, with curved handlebars, and a long multicolored seat. I borrowed his other roommate Christine’s blue flowered bike and we all ate a tasty breakfast at Harvey’s. Interesting times, eh.

I had a few things to buy for my upcoming trip, so James and I hit the mall in the afternoon. Who knew a little shopping could stress me out to the point that my anxiety leaked out of my head through my eyes, in liquid form. Perhaps that was due to the purpose of the shopping trip, namely to purchase business-casual shirts that would be appropriate to wear in a very conservative Muslim country. This is stressful, and monetarily taxing. And every store in the mall selling button-down shirts had few options that would button all the way to my neck, leaving me little choice to agonize over. Anyway, I was glad to get out of there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

non-stop action-packed life

I've been so incredibly tired all day today. I think a bit of dehydration is also contributing to my all-day pounding headache, which was satiated by neither grape gatorade nor a hot vanilla steamer (my new favorite drink). I felt like I was going to faint during the GAME exec meeting (which I was sort of running), and I could hardly focus my eyes on the face of whoever was talking. Somehow I still managed to get some stuff done in lab, which is slowly ramping up to a feeling akin to actual research. I guess it's a slow ascent to productivity in a new lab.

The weather is getting colder, which means it's doubly more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Not only am I sleepy, but it's also way chillier outside of the coccoon of my down comforter. And sometimes it's also 5:30am. Brr. Speaking of early mornings, we were supposed to race an 8+ in the NH Regatta this weekend, but then the MITRC captain sent out an email today saying we weren't entering any boats. Hmm that kind of sucks. I suppose I am heading up to NH anyway, to visit James for another weekend, since I have to be in Cambridge the weekend after that. This whole weekend travelling thing is getting tiring to think about. I ordered some train tickets for the Downeaster Amtrak, which goes from Boston to Portland, stopping in Dover and Durham - I'm pretty stoked because the train will give me back the 1.5 hours that driving usurps from my life, allowing me to do hw or reading or crocheting while traveling! Oh, lovely.

I think I spend more time dreaming about crafting than actually making any crafts. I have a host of websites that I regularly check for updates, and subsequently drool over new posts of gorgeous craft photos. I swoon from the beauty of some of these color combinations! Oh, my eyes!

Anyway, I downloaded an album of tunes by Chopin. They sound exactly like the memories in the back of my brain. I find that I know how each piece sounds just before it plays, although I don't listen to classical music regularly, but rather because my dad used to play these pieces on the stereo throughout my childhood. And now I realize how lovely they are! Yay for piano!

Monday, October 8, 2007


I've been wrestling with this blog for a couple days now, wanting to redesign the layout and colors but not knowing how to actually do it. On blogger you're limited by the pre-designed layouts they let you choose from - most are pretty nice, but none are quite what I'm looking for. Sometimes you can't actually change all the colors either. I've changed my title about 7 times, and I'm simultaneously playing around with iWeb to see if that will satisfy my thirst for newness. But really, I'm not a graphic designer. I may have ideas on how the blog should look, but I don't really know how to make it happen. In my kind of crafts, you can touch and feel all the colors, and play around with layouts with your fingers. Grr.

I'm searching for that song that plays during the newest Halo commercial, with all the action figures. It's some kind of classical piano, and I want it! I think the only kind of classical music that I can really listen to on my own is on the piano. It reminds me of Saturday mornings in my parents' house.

The little kitty was gone from James's house when we came back from studying on Sunday. Big cat Easy was just sitting around quietly, with nobody to hiss at or to sneak up and pounce on him. I had been crocheting a quick toy for the cats to bat around, but then I didn't finish it since Axel wasn't there to play with it. Maybe next weekend. He sure was a funny little guy.

I stopped at Jo-Ann Fabrics on Friday on my way to Dover; I picked up a big piece of red and white sheer fabric to make a curtain to cover up my ugly door-less closet. I hope it brightens up my room a little bit too. I'm hoping that I can use a little leftover and somehow sew it onto my window curtain to tie the room together. Hmm, yeah, as soon as I have some spare time on my hands...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Apple Harvest Day

New Hampshire is actually a beautiful state. It doesn't seem to have any big cities, and it's not well known for much except maybe hiking spots. But today we got to see lots of the wonderful things this state has to offer. Today was Dover's big Apple Festival, and we walked just 3 blocks from James's apartment to the start of a blocks-long craft fair (to my delight) and browsed little booths of gorgeous wood-carved boxes, hand-sewn purses, locally-made pumpkin butter and maple candy and jalapeno jelly, paintings, health remedies, political supporters, handmade jewelry, and an array of unhealthy carnival-type food. We only had a hotdog and a soft-serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. It was incredibly sunny (and hot for October) so we couldn't stay out too long. But man I love craft fairs!

We also drove to the Kittery Outlet Stores to hit up any Columbus Day sales, which took us through some beautiful scenery with all the fall foliage surrounding houses on acres of land, accented with orange and yellow mums everywhere. Pumpkins, too. Yay for fall!

In other news, James's apartment has a new kitty. I'm not sure how temporarily this kitty is here, but he's sure a cute one. His name is Axel, and he likes to explore everything. He's also quite tech-savvy, as it turns out.

Axel is not quite fully grown yet, and he doesn't quite get along with the previously reigning fat kitty, Easy, who thinks Axel is hogging all the attention. I kind of want to steal Axel and take him home with me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A New Leaf

Well my old Tabulas blog decided to screw me over and delete a good ranting post right after I'd finished writing it, so I ditched it and started this blog! I guess 3 years is a good lifetime for a blog. Time for me to turn over the next page.