Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Random Blogs

This has become a recent (almost) obsession (for lack of a better word) for me. Blogspot is a pretty big repository for blogs, or at least it's my understanding that it is. Regardless, every once in a while, I find myself clicking on the "Next Blog" link at the top of the few blogs I read on a regular basis. And it takes me to some random blog, half of them I can't read because they were written in some language other than English or by some person who feels that their comments are made more noteworthy by spelling things wrong or capitalizing every other letter in a word.

But it got me to thinking. How many people randomly hit upon MY blog? After all, I'm reading random people's blogs. How "random" is clicking on that next blog button.

So curiousity got the best of me, and I added a couple of webstats/counters to the blogs here. Any hits? HA! Just by me and Mike! So NO ONE has randomly happened upon my blog. Again, makes me wonder just how blogspot determines the next random blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Passing Prelims!

I'm sure my huge viewing audience (HA!) will be pleased to hear that I passed my prelim exams! Yay!

I felt the most stress relief the day that I turned in the forms to schedule. I think at least a dozen gray hairs disappeared from my head at that point. As I went through the next week or so after scheduling I noticed that the stress didn't just reappear either. And then Monday...1pm...prelim time!

I hardly hesitate to say that it was almost "fun", especially compared to those who have taken it in my program before and described feelings of wanting to cry. I think I did a good job keeping composure, and I can't exactly explain why. I didn't get EVERY question exactly right, but I wasn't afraid of screwing up, because there isn't a percentage or letter grade at the end. Just pass or not. And I did!

Anyway, I passed. And that's one hurdle down. Just need to write that dissertation and I'll be good to go!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

PhD dissertations and other exercises in futility

I'm sure Mike can attest to the frustration I've been experiencing for the past few weeks or months even. But hey, I figure I can vent my frustrations to the rest of the world right here too.

I'm just finishing out my 4th year as a PhD student. When I started the program "officially", I had already taken a couple of the core classes and gotten them out of the way. I was also working in a lab that I intended to continue working in, so that was another leg up over other students that were coming from other places. So I should breeze thru this whole PhD thing? Heh.

I could have easily taken the oral prelim exam after I was done with classes. Heck, I've been told that you don't even really need to be totally done taking classes to do so. Why didn't I? Stupidity? Laziness? Time getting away from me? Other things going on in my personal life at the time? Yeah, all of those and probably a few more that I can't bring to the front of my mind here. My boss was also not really pushing it, and in fact took the attitude of "don't worry about it, it's just a stupid formality."

Fast forward, and I want to graduate, and I keep asking to schedule, keep getting put off. And now my boss is leaving and it's time to go into panic mode!

Here's the current frustration. Yes, the prelim scheduling. So I have the final draft of the written part of the prelim all submitted. The earliest I could schedule after everything got done was the end of June (which would be this week). I started *trying* to schedule at the start of June. One committee member is on federal jury duty. A second was out of town the entire week. Ugh. A third didn't get back to me until 2 weeks after I sent out the original email to start the process.

So my boss is gone in July until the last week. Great. Trying to schedule it then. I have a window of about a week there and so far, one person is out of contact (the one who wasn't available during the end of June), 2 people are good to go, 1 person is still deciding whether he's going to take a vacation or not. And of course my boss is there...he's the most important I'd wager. I've been told that in extenuating circumstances, I can have 4 out of 5 there. But as of yet, I only have 3! WHY IS THIS SO HARD!!!

To make matters worse, I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE. In fact, I have to get this done before August 15th, when the lab officially shuts down!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Amy and Mike's trip to the Magic Kingdom

Maybe it's more like our trip to Los Angeles. It's been a couple weekends past since we got back, but I figured I'd tell everyone in cyberland all about it still...

The reason for the trip was to attend the 96th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Or at least I was to attend the meeting, I just dragged Mike along for the weekend. I had a poster to present on the Monday of the meeting, which I might discuss later, so we had the weekend to play a bit.

We arrived at LAX around 9pm on Friday evening. Mike got there before I did and just waited around at the Southwest gates for my flight to get in. From there, we made our way down to the ground transportation area (which is a madhouse...I can't ever see myself driving to LAX and driving by the terminal areas without losing my sanity). We had to wait for a bus to take us to the car rental place (which...took a little while. We saw like 6 busses for a different company pass by, the same one mind you, before ours finally came. Finally on the bus, we head off to the rental lot. Right outside the gate to the lot is a car with an Asian family in it (2 people up front and like 2 or 3 kids in the back). It was just STOPPED in the road in the right lane before the turn in. The bus kept honking, but the people wouldn't GO. It was as if they didn't know how to drive the car! The kids in the back started waving at the bus driver to just go around, which the bus eventually did, only to have to make a right turn about 15 feet in front of them.

We get the car and set out north on the 405 towards Sylmar/Valencia. The place we stayed the first night was close to our Saturday amusement park of choice, Six Flags Magic Mountain. Checked in, got pizza delivered, watched a little TV and went to sleep. I remember waking up earlier than I needed to, seeing the first bit of sunlight coming into the window. For some reason, I had feared that we had overslept and would be late to the amusement park! (Mike was still kind of out of it. I jumped right out of bed and volunteered to shower first. Mike dozed, having to actually ask if I had already taken a shower when I woke him up afterwards).

And then off to Magic Mountain! Traffic was a little nuts (just sheer number of people), but we got there and into the park just about a half hour after the park actually opened.

It was a great time. Perfect weather. Great rides. A few strange people (we were starting to feel a bit out of place as the night wore on...we were the exception to everyone having strange body piercings. Eyebrows. Lips. Scruff of the neck. I don't care to know where else).

With enough thrill rides in our system, we left to go check into the hotel that was being paid for attending the meeting. Disneyland Grand Californian.

Wow. There is no way I'd be able to spend that much money on this hotel by myself. I'm not entirely sure that, if I had the money, if I'd stay there. Beautiful hotel, and nestled right between Disneyland and California Adventure. We weren't going to either...too much. But Downtown Disney was free to go to (where all the shopping is), and that was right outside our door too. Apparently that's where all the normal people were.

Sunday was the day that Mike had to go home (so he could go back to work Monday). We headed out to Redondo Beach and got to walk in the sand as the waves washed over our feet. I wouldn't have traded that walk for anything.

Then off to a quick dinner and then to the airport to drop of the car and get Mike on a plane.

If the IP doesn't change, here's some pictures from our trip:

I headed back to the hotel (sans Mike...sniff) and got ready for the meeting on Monday morning. Just to summarize...the meeting was okay. My poster went well (got lots of comments/questions/etc). I got some stuff from the vendors at the meeting too (a radio, a cool pen, a stuffed duck, magnets, etc). By the time Wednesday rolled around, I was tired and wanting to go back home. But I had to go back to Tucson for 2 days before finally being able to get back to see Mike in Reno.

That's it!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Thoughts on turning 28

By the time shown on my laptop clock, it appears to be just after midnight on April 11th. Which's my BIRTHDAY.

So I'll give my yearly post that I've given ever since...uh...last year...on my birthday (see for that post). I'm turning 28. If one wants to be super specific here, I'll have spent exactly 28 years in the outside world at around 8:30 am something, eastern standard time (translated to about 11:30 am local time). But hey...the whole of April 11th is my birthday, which means that it is now.

As for the past year? Great! Did I get everything I wanted accomplished in this past year that I had hoped for. Not really. But last year at this time, I didn't think that I'd be living in Reno, looking to buy a house there, and so on and so forth. Also thought I'd be done with my PhD now, but alas that didn't happen quite on time (keep nagging me Mike!).

Onto other things. This weekend was great as well! It was much too short for my liking, however. The plane trip from Tucson to Reno went off without a hitch and ontime for once (!!!). The weather was a little bit bumpy around Las Vegas, causing the airplane to sway more than I've ever experienced and making the landing pretty challenging for the pilots. I got the first of my birthday presents, early, which was a dozen roses. I am always so amazed and surprised whenever I recieve flowers from Mike. And this time is no exception!

The second of my birthday gifts was on the bed when we got home. I laid down and it was a pillow! Not just any pillow, but a TempurPedic one! And I must say, that pillow is one of the greatest things to come down the line since sliced bread. Actually, I think I like it better than sliced bread. Just a teaser for buying the entire TempurPedic bed one of these days. The pillow is firm, yet soft, which is kind of counterintuitive, but it gives you really great neck and back support. I know I sound like an advertisement, but it really is awesome stuff...and it made my neck feel great in the morning.

That night we ate at home, rested and I crashed out still wearing most of my day-clothes. Woke up the next morning and went to a track meet for Mike's brother's school. It was COLD. And oddly enough...snowing! After spending a few hours there, we bailed and went back home. We ate a little, then it was off to look at houses again! Found some houses that we liked (not as much as one we looked at before that we have ZERO chance of getting into a new one), and a slight glimmer of hope that we might, one of these days, be on a real waiting list with a real chance for one of those houses. Sigh.

And back home again for a little naptime, followed by dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. And hey...we all got carded! of...we slept in a little later and cleaned up, for Mike's parents are coming soon. And next weekend we are both off to LA for the meeting!

That is my weekend in a nutshell...and my very brief reflections on the whole birthday thing. Cheerios!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Late night hunger...I want pizza!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love pizza! It is my most favorite of foods. I've tried expanding my horizons on the pizza front, trying various different varieties and stuff, but I have to say that I just love the simple stuff somtimes. Pepperoni is my fav.

So I'm sitting here late at night. I'm not physically hungry, as in my stomach is not growling, and I'm just not needing food right now. But I get bored, or see Mike eating, or see a pizza commercial and all of a sudden I want to eat! It's not a good thing either, usually because it is so late at night and the stuff I have available for eating is not that good for me! Ugh!

Now the thought of pizza is plauging my thoughts. And it really shouldn't, since I had a slice of pizza for lunch and some pizza on Friday night when we were in Bozeman as well. That doesn't stop me though. I could eat pizza all day, all the time pretty much.

This brings me to the question of why everything that I want to eat is so bad for me! Why can't pizza be healthy for me? I could eat a ton of spaghetti too. Grilled cheese sandwiches are good, as is a nice steak.

See what I mean now? Food on the mind. I best be getting to bed before it really starts making me hungry...even more so.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Stamina: Renewed

Well, it's March 1st (at least it is right now in many time zones). I was supposed to have everything out of my apartment in Tucson, but didn't quite make it. It all turns out well in the end, but I think I'm going to reflect on a few things that could have been done better.

Starting way back in November. Should have bought more boxes and started packing things sooner. Stems from being generally lazy and loving to nap after work. I feel like if I would have had everything in boxes (or at least twice as much as I did on actual Uhaul moving day), I wouldn't be in this predicament.

Second point. Taking said boxes (or at least the ones I had at that point) and starting to mail them. This would be at the end of December when Mike started moving his stuff in. Okay, so as I learned, mailing boxes isn't a terribly efficient way to go. But maybe it would have gotten things there faster and at least allowed me to unpack a few of them when I was there over New Years in order to make them available to use again.

Third point. On Uhaul moving day, I should have definitely put more things into the Uhaul, namely the futon frame (could have just slept on the cushion, which I have been doing for the past week or so, and it's just as, if not more, comfortable). This one goes hand in hand with point number 1. More things ready to go into the truck, faster the move, more things that get to Reno.

Okay, the fourth point. Even after all that Uhaul moving was done, I still had another month and a half to deal with the rest of the stuff here. But, I WAS LAZY.

Fifth and final point (I hope). Even after I realized that there was NO way I could manage fitting the remainder of my goods and wares into my car to cart around for a while, I should have given in and gotten a storage unit! Which I Not like I should have when I realized I was behind a week or two ago.

So, as I said, this story has a pleasant ending. I got my aforementioned storage unit at the Uhaul place. I DID get a couple of loads of boxes and things over there (futon, table, a small shelving unit, many boxes, yaffa blocks, etc). It was a ton easier once it is in there, and I really need to promise myself NOT to be lazy and force myself to take a box and bag of stuff on the plane every weekend as well as mail the big ones.

I also got an extension from my apartment complex to stay for a couple of extra days (at the rate of $21 a day). That makes me greatly much more relaxed.

Now to just not be a lazy little chica and finish out the work that I started. Perhaps I've just prolonged my torture for two more days :)

Stamina: I need more of it

Today I feel as though I've just gone and gone and gone. I'm like a much larger and whiter version of the Energizer bunny. But at one point, my body and mind said NO MORE! Crash. I didn't just fall asleep or pass out or anything cool like that. I just had no more stamina and almost felt like I had no control over whether I could get up off my lazy butt or not.

So, as the title suggests, I need more stamina. I have a million things running through my head even when I'm laying down or otherwise resting.

Well, looks like I'm going to get a storage unit here too temporarily. Can't haul all of that stuff around in my car. Ugh.

Monday, February 28, 2005

The last night in my Tucson apartment

Well, the time has come to say the first part of my goodbyes to Tucson. More specifically, the apartment that I've inhabited for the past 3 1/2 years. Suppose I shouldn't get all sentimental and junk over it, seeing as how I've moved before and it wasn't quite like this. Maybe because I'm still in Tucson for the time being is what makes it so different for me.

Lots of things have happened in the past 3 1/2 years, too, I suppose. When I first moved into this apartment, my cats were just tiny kittens. I was just about to officially start graduate school. Other things in my life seemed to be in somewhat okay order, and I've already listed the things of note here. Then, even better things came here, namely someone by the name of Mike, who was here several times over the past year and change and we had really good memories here, too.

As my little typing break draws to a close, I'll figure out here pretty soon when I feel that I REALLY need to panic. I'm just packing the odds and ends into the two remaining empty boxes that I have. I took a time out to order pizza and run off to the post office to mail yet another box (attention Mike: INCOMING!).

So...look for an update in an hour or two. Let the panic begin!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

In's Sunday...a handful of hours left to this trip

Well, I made it here just safe and sound, in case anyone was wondering. I didn't finish packing up the entirety of my apartment yet, but hopefully that will be done in very short order! Ugh.

This moving stuff just needs to be over...and now!

So, my day of work on Thursday was rather uneventful. I'm finishing up some figures for my first paper. I realize that sometimes I have very little clue, or speed, when doing these sorts of things. I had all of my figures in PowerPoint, knowing full well that they'd need to be in Word at some point! Ugh.

The drive to Phoenix went rather uneventfully, even though I left a little later than expected. It's actually kind of a blur and went rather fast since I was talking to Mike the entire time. (Not a luxury I'll have for the trip back :( ). My plan went as expected. Check 3 bags, carryon 2. One bag was a box, the other a rolling duffel bag, and the other a normally carryon sized suitcase, which oddly enough weighed the most. I parked in the Terminal 4 garage to check all of that stuff in, only to hurt myself carrying it in! Major ugh again! Majorly paid for in muscle strains.

Then the drive back to the long term parking. Found a spot, got on the bus, got to the terminal. Security was very quick and I just had to wait in line to get on the plane.

Yep. That's pretty much it.

Is it next weekend yet???

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I'm tired...and I'm not sure if I'm in panic mode yet

It's just a little before 11pm now. I'm making my way around the apartment trying to get as much as I can packed up before I leave for Reno tomorrow. And as I'm doing so, I see all of the things that I still need to do, wonder whether everything will fit in my car, what the timeline will be for making sure I get all of my needed errands done tomorrow and worrying that I might be neglecting work somehow. Ugh.

So the good news is that my futon frame DOES fit in my car. It took a bit of manuevering to make sure that my seat wouldn't be slammed so far forward that my knees would hit the steering wheel and make it nearly impossible to drive. I've just gotten the one piece in there, but the rest I'm sure will fit right on top.

And I'm tired. And I hurt. My back feels like it's going to either tighten up perminantly or collapsen on me at some random moment if I don't lay down flat every once in a while to rest. But, all things considered, that is about the least of my worries.

So there's still alot of stuff in here. Trying to get all of my suitcases packed for tomorrow (I'll have *3* checked bags and a carryon suitcase and a backpack). I wish there were only a few more things to deal with, but asit stands now, there's a couple more boxes to be filled. Ugh again.

24 hours to takeoff!

On another packing/cleaning break. Just noticed that my plane is due to leave out of Phoenix in just about 24 hours from now. That is, pending certain weather conditions and flight delays that have plagued air travel for me for the past couple of months.

Well, things are progressing, even if they are progressing slowly. I've managed to clean out all of the closets (my bedroom walk in, computer room closet, walk in pantry and the linen closet), which gives me a sense of accomplishment. I'm starting to use the "Mount Vernon method" of cleaning that my mother always quoted; start in one corner and just work your way around. So, in addition to my closets, I've started near the walls of my apartment and am cleaning everything around them and moving everything towards the middle. Which, by my calculations, should put everything in my living room here pretty quickly!

Oh, also something else I've discovered. UPS is not as cheap as they quote on their web page! At least when I go to the UPS store, the cost to ship a medium Uhaul box is $5-10 more than they say on the web page. So tomorrow I might run a few boxes to the US Post Office. Hopefully what THEY quote is truth!

Alrighty, my time for the wasting on blog writing has expired. Now out to the trash and start carrying the pieces of the futon to the car!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Calming thoughts...calming thoughts...

Well, I'm fast near approaching the day which I must vacate my apartment in Tucson. In fact, it's something like just over 50 hours until my plane leaves for Reno on Thursday. Which means that I need to get to the airport 2 hours or so before that, and the drive to Phoenix takes 2 hours. That leaves just 46 hours to get everything up and out. Then there is that pesky need for sleep. Figure I'll end up sleeping for 12-14 hours of that. Oh...then there's work. Need to work, need to get paid, need to finish PhD.

I suppose, when all is said and done, I have about 12 hours where I'm not at work/sleeping/otherwise out of the house.

In other related news, I switched to the 30 minute routine, as opposed to the 10 minute one that I had yesterday. I did that cycle for like 4 or 5 times, at which point I took a bath then laid down for a little. And didn't want to get up. I've already gotten a few things accomplished with the new 30 minute alterating pack/other stuff rule. I figure within the next 2 hours, I'll have packed up and cleared out the computer room! By the end of the night, I need to get the futon mattress off of the frame so I can take apart the frame to put in my car (REALLY hoping it fits!)

Well, don't have a whole lot of time to waste on my "break." And I'm starting to ramble, so I'm off to do some "other" work.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The 10 Minute Rule

Perhaps I have a touch of ADD, or I'm just really sick of procrastinating/having to deal with the repercussions of not having finished my packing and moving stuff yet. Regardless, I decided today that once I got myself home and fed, that I would do my darndest to make yet another dent in the giant pile of stuff yet to be moved. And to get myself motivated, I decided that I'd set an alarm, work for that period of time, then rest for an equal period of time before going back to work. Therefore, I'd be working in short bursts and then getting to rest.

Well, I was shooting more for 15 minute bursts, but my phone only has a quick alarm setting for 10 minutes. (And I'm much too lazy to set it manually, of course). So, that's where I came up with the 10 minute rule. I just finished packing for 10 minutes, and now I am on a 10 minute break.

In the first 10 minutes, I managed to assemble two boxes, pack up random small items from the former computer room and put them into a container, carry several notebooks into the bedroom to be put into boxes, and started sorting out notebook papers so I could just throw away as much as I could (after all, do I REALLY need a notebook with all the handouts from my Science, Society and Ethics course?)

Perhaps at another 10 minute break, I might update on how progress is going.

Or I might take a nap.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Moving stuff is a rough business

Well, when I originally started this second blog (my other one is at, I wanted to focus all the commentary on the progress moving my stuff from Tucson to Sparks. But, as it would happen, the moving time came and went. At least the moving of the big stuff.

As a recap, Mike moved into our new apartment in Sparks on December 28th. He managed to fill up two trucks + 2 trailers worth of his stuff, plus his own car. At least he got everything at one go. Then, Mike flew down to Tucson to help me with the truck. We moved my big stuff over MLK weekend, making the trip in just about 2 days. But that was in January, and my lease didn't expire here until the end of February (this month). My intent was to just keep my futon here for sleeping, a few dishes, my laptop and whatever bare essentials. When it came to moving, we were running a little bit late packing things up, so to just get going at a reasonable time, we left some stuff here. Ugh.

Flying back after that weekend I realize there was a ton of crap that we didn't get. Major ugh. I've had just over a month to be dealing with this, but I'm so lazy! Now I have just this weekend and the next (of which I'm in Reno again!) to get everything up and out of here! So, I'm right at the point of just cramming everything into whatever boxes I have. I'm also to the point of wanting to get this whole moving ordeal over with that I'm wanting to get my futon frame taken apart and packed into my car, as well as all of the other stuff.

It just seems so overwhelming! Is moving EVER easy? I thought this time that I'd have everything consolodated down to what I wanted to keep, getting rid of the junk that I'd taken from apartment to apartment here in Tucson. But now it seems as though I just MIGHT be doomed, and be needing to bust my butt just to make sure I'm out of here. Need to paint the walls still. Need to take down some of the pictures off of the wall. Gosh, what am I doing wasting time with a blog entry!

Friday, February 18, 2005

On requiring massive amounts of cheese...

Cheese you say? Why, don't you remember that you are lactose intollerant, Amy?

Well, yes, I am. Ask Mike sometime what happens when I forget to take the lactaid. But as I sit here alone in my living room, eatting my massive plate of spaghetti, I realized that some time ago that parmesan cheese is ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED for my spaghetti eatting enjoyment. I probably go way overboard with it, sprinkling a healthy layer upon each part of the spaghetti as I eat it. There is always cheese there. And by the end of the meal, there's usually quite alot of cheese on the last few bites that fell through to the bottom.

I realized this once, long long ago, when living in the dorm and making my own spaghetti. I'd cook the noodles in the microwave and just nuke some sauce to go with it. But, for some reason, it didn't taste quite right to me. At first I thought it was the fact that I was cooking it in the microwave (noodles got too soggy or something). Then maybe the sauce was different than I was used to at my parents. Nope. Cheese.

Cheese is always the answer.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I live for the weekends

Yep...and I'll say it again. I live for the weekends. Nearly every Friday night I fly from Tucson to Reno. And on Sunday or Monday night I fly back. Recently, due to weather issues in one place or another, I haven't made it to Reno on Friday night, but rather Saturday night! Twice in a row.

So today is Friday, and I fly out in just under 3 hours. I hope it isn't 3 weeks in a row of having to go on Saturday. I miss my cats. I miss my boyfriend most of all. Have a great weekend everyone!

Yep....still have a blog

Just putting another post here for kicks and grins. I still have my other blog, but this place is fun too.

If you are reading this, and just randomly landed here with the blogspot thing, leave me a comment! I'm just curious to see how many random hits I get! And if you do, I'll visit your blog!

Anyhow, hope to post something interesting one of these days. But for now, I'll leave you with the most current news of nearly completing the final phase of the move to Sparks, NV, completion of my PhD in Cancer Biology, and all that good stuff. Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. Cheerios!