Thursday, October 29, 2009

how to get out of a funk

I'm feeling a major lack of motivation lately. Mostly research related. I'm incredibly motivated to knit wrist-warmers, to cook huge batches of winter squash soup or meringue cookies, or even to fold clean laundry. But research? I always feel like doing it tomorrow. Or maybe after the weekend. I think that one major reason for this is that my advisor puts zero pressure on me to get any results. He comes in maybe once a week and talks to me for about 10 minutes before he bolts from the room. I mean, he's incredibly busy. But if I'm doing research for him, and he seems not to care about it, how can I care about it anyway? I feel like a horrible scientist, like shouldn't I have research motivation woven into my DNA, like an innate drive to do experiments and answer the lingering questions of the universe? Shouldn't I be driven enough to lead my own research, regardless of what my advisor is preoccupied with? Sometimes I do get a good result, or a weird result, and it brightens my entire day - I sing out loud in the lab and bounce up the stairs. But the rest of the time I'm totally dragging.

A good chunk of my research goal is to create a computer model of the process I'm working on experimentally. Now, I really don't know that much about modeling or writing code, and my advisor knows even less (and isn't a big fan of it anyway), so when I get stuck, I'm just stuck. When I think back to why I volunteered to do this modeling project, I want to kick myself. I actually thought that I might be getting married at some point, and maybe I'd want to have some purely-computer work that I could potentially do remotely, if, say, I wanted to pop out a kid or something. Yeah right!!!! Looks like that is as far from happening as ever! I feel like all my plans have stagnated and I'm just stuck in this phd program that doesn't even excite me anymore. I'm too far in to quit but too far from the end to just duck my head and sprint it out. I want to just step off the track and cry on the sidelines for a while. And hopefully have a revelation of some sort while I'm over there.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

things i ate last night that i've never eaten before

pork belly ravioli
sea urchin
squid ink
suckling pig confit
rutabaga puree

As a side note, I got an invite to see Obama's talk at MIT tomorrow! I'm so beyond excited!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

before my memory started

My dad has been on a crazy photo-archiving kick for the past few months. He's gone through a couple thousand old photos of our family and scanned them in to a Picasa album. Well, several albums at this point. Now he's gotten to some old 35mm slides from the early 80s, when he and my mom were living in Singapore and my sister and I were born. Some of these photos I've never seen before! There's a pic of my mom walking our old white poodle, Maggie, pregnant with me under a billowy blue dress. Then there are pics of 1-year-old toddler me doing various things like playing piano, holding a squash raquet, walking Maggie with a red leash, carrying around this blanket that I refused to give up for I-don't-want-to-admit-how-many years. I've seen baby pictures of myself before, obviously, but the ones that really strike me are those of my mom holding me, or taking me places that I no longer remember. Like a shot of Mom and me and baby Kim, sitting on a picnic blanket in a grassy field in Singapore surrounded by peacocks...! Or a family pic of my parents and Maggie and me, before I had any siblings. My mom looks so beautiful, with eyeliner and crazy-patterned dresses. I wonder if she felt scared, having her first baby in a foreign country with no family around, and I'm sure my dad was working long hours as he always did. Now I really want to call her. She really is the best mom in the world, and I've told people this - often they try to challenge me, but nobody's proven me wrong yet. I guess I've gotten used to living on the opposite side of the country from her, but I should really make an effort to call her more often. I'm the worst at calling people. But my top priority should be Mom!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

comfort food

Leeks are amazing. They make my entire kitchen smell incredible! Why did I never know this before? I'm making a mushroom, roasted red pepper, and goat cheese bread pudding, which turns out to be a rather elaborate recipe with lots of chopping involved, but the aroma of my apartment right now makes it all worth it. Rainy weather like this really makes me want to cook, especially warm, veggie-filled dishes like casseroles or stews. Mmmm. I'm even more excited about this dish because I started off my Saturday by waking up at 5:30am and biking to the boathouse, where I proceeded to get into a boat in the pouring rain and row it to another boathouse, then de-rig it in and load it onto a trailer, all in the pouring rain. All the while knowing that everyone I knew was probably still asleep in their warm, dry beds. But now I have a delicious-looking casserole baking in the oven. Yay!