Monday, October 26, 2009

back on track and rarely at home

Monday... again. I haven't decided if these seem more or less frequent than they are, but they sure don't seem to come at the frequency they should.

I went to a family reunion this weekend. My great-grandparents have something like 300 descendants. Only a fraction of these people showed up, but it was still a sizable group. Given that my family is quite loud, this event was pretty sedate. I met a few more distant relatives and ate a lot of good food. My grandparents made sure to introduce me to the lone PhD in the family :).

I produced a bunch of plots for the meeting with my advisor last Friday. He was very pleased with the results. Unfortunately, that means we've expanded my to-do list :P. Most of the additions are details that I hope won't take too long.

I finally feel like I'm back on track with research. I think it really helped that I got my house set up and clean the way I want it. It feels comfortable again. I also think my weekends away have helped. I needed to get out of town and do some new things. I've noticed a bit of a dichotomy between academic success and happiness. I'm generally not very happy when I'm doing really well in school, and I'm generally not doing as well as I would like in school when I'm at my happiest. Maybe this time I can combine happiness and academic success. It's been working for a week or two now... :P

My advisor is gone this week until Friday. We have a meeting scheduled Friday morning and I drive to my parents' again Friday afternoon. After a brief visit with some family, I'm catching a flight out of town for a week and a half. I'm unbelievably excited about this trip. I haven't had a real vacation in over two years. Even though I will probably do some research while I'm gone, I expect to have a great time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

random update

Huh, it's Monday again.

I went home for a dress fitting for my brother's wedding over the weekend. Did you know that they use clamps to hold the dresses on when you try on the samples in the store? Some of them were so big on me that I had a hard time telling how they'd actually fit.

I also tried on a couple of dresses from high school. I had to borrow some chip clips from my mom to keep those on. Apparently I'm significantly smaller than I was in high school.

As far as research, I finally figured out the problem with my code that was giving me 170 lines of zeros. Either the input or output variable list did not match between the function call and the function heading. I'm surprised it ran at all.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My new motivational program

I finally made some progress on research today! It may be modest, but it's a good start. And it resulted from a method that I can keep using to get me back to where I was.

Last night, just before I went to bed, I made a short list of tasks for today. Some were home things, some were work. It is nowhere near my full to-do list. Then today, I got up and started on the list right away. It was much less daunting that trying to choose something from my full list. I also spent less time deciding what I wanted to do and less time task-hopping (don't like what I'm doing, try something else, repeat).

If I don't complete the list, none of it has to carry over to the next day. This allows me to start every day fresh... no guilt, no punishing myself for what I didn't do the previous day. Today was my first day doing this, so I'll let you know how it progresses.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things are settling

Well, well, it seems I've taken a bit of a break from here again. At least they're getting shorter.

So much has happened recently... new experiences, new plans.

The personal issues are resolved. At home, I've been working on redecorating and cleaning. What a difference all that is making! I feel much less cramped in my house. And the second bedroom is usable as a guest room because I moved all the kitties' stuff into a cubby in the kitchen. The kitties are adjusting well to the new arrangement. I want to find them another bed or two, but there is no rush on that. I'm also hoping to find an inexpensive futon on craigslist for the guest room.

At work, I've been keeping up with my class that actually has homework. The other class is mostly reading. I've been a bad student and not read most of the "required" reading. I'm catching the gist of everything in lectures, at least. I subbed for my advisor's class yesterday--that was fun. Several of the students complimented me on the lecture, so I guess it went well. I haven't gotten to research yet. I am quite unhappy with myself for that, but trying not to be too hard on myself.

As far as new plans, I started jujitsu. It seems to fit me well, so I ordered a judogi, the uniform that's required if you join the club. I also tried judo, but I'm not as excited about that group for a couple of reasons: I don't really want to compete and I feel like the jujitsu club has a better sense of safety. I've come home sore from both of them :). It's a good kind of sore.

I'm also traveling a lot over the next month and a half. After this coming weekend, I have four weekends away from home, then one or two at home, then Thanksgiving. I know this doesn't seem like the "normal" semester I hope for, but this is better than that. I've always wanted to travel more. Occasionally (every few weeks to every couple of months) I get a feeling that I can only describe as wanderlust. I feel like I need to get out of town and go somewhere. Visiting my parents does not satisfy this unless I get to do something new with people I don't usually see. Some of my travel this fall will fit perfectly.

Since I haven't done research yet, I'll leave this as a short update with no interesting stories or useful discussion. Just so you know that I still haven't defied gravity and fallen off the Earth.