I was having a conversation with Jennetic tonight about circadian rhythms, our tendency to be night owls, and our wishes lately that days could be stretched to 48 hours. Shortly afterward, as I was putting away dishes and caught sight of the coffee pot, I caught myself wishing I could fast forward to morning so that I could have my cup of coffee and settle in to get some good work done. Of course, the morning is when I am worst at getting work done, so what I was really wishing was that I could have some coffee now and settle in for a good night's work. Instead, if I want to be functional during the day, I have to sleep at night. :)
Seriously, if people accept daylight savings time changes, do you think they'd be willing to go one step farther and agree that for half the year we could sleep all day and be up all night? That way the night owls in the world could start participating in this thing you call regular life and the morning people would suddenly be the groggy ones.
I'm looking for some advice on wedding dresses. I'd love to wear something non-traditional (i.e., not big, white, and fluffy), but it's hard to make it still look like it's a wedding dress if it's not white. I think.
Basically my criteria is that it should be relatively inexpensive, not boring, and yet still classic in some way. Whatever that means.
For example, I think that this is horrid.
I've looked at bridesmaids dresses, but they kind of look like, well, bridesmaids dresses. Especially when they're not white. Sometimes they do make them in white or ivory or something, but they never have that color available in the shops to try on since no one is going to order a bunch of white bridesmaids dresses. So I'd have to try something on in bright emerald green and then close my eyes and imagine it in ivory. Somehow that never works.
Alternatively, I think that this (or something like it) is pretty cool, but I think it might be weird to wear it, what with me not being Chinese. Maybe it's better in white? Hm... I like that. And it's only $90, which truly warms my frugal heart.
So if you have any thoughts or suggestions please share! And if you have any recommendations for local shops, even better!
Am I losing my mind? I just tried to place my pencil in the air near my desk, rather than actually on my desk. It's not that I wasn't looking at what I was doing and so I simply overshot the desk. No, it was because my desk was too cluttered and I think my brain decided to extend the usable surface of the desk out into space. When I let go off the pencil and it fell to the floor, I was briefly surprised and it took a second to realize what I had done.
The brain is very, very weird. At least, mine is.
Maybe this is like how the cats seem to think that they can step on a piece of paper or a binder that is hanging off an edge and they are always surprised when it doesn't support them. Gravity can be such a pain sometimes.
Yesterday I presented part of my dissertation to a lab group at school - no faculty present, just students. It was a great help to try to lay out my work and see when and where people were confused by what I was saying (most of it), and to not have faculty there so I wasn't worried about the impression I was making and could be more focused on the work itself. It was extremely helpful. I have had so much trouble talking about the my work - I know what I did, but I can't seem to describe it clearly. Somehow people eventually managed to understand what I'd done, and that raised more (good) questions.
So I took these questions to the advisor who's helped me on this part of the dissertation to see what he thought about some ideas to modify things slightly, and it turns out that it raised other bigger questions and what I've done has a major flaw! He apologized for not seeing it earlier, but it concerns me more that I didn't see it. ... So now I'm redoing what I've done, hoping not to create new problems. Seriously, the fun just never ends.
(Actually, it is sort of fun. If I didn't have this looming need to graduate soon.)
What a crazy surreal week it's been.
My job/grant application was submitted with all three letters of recommendation included, in spite of the possibility that one might have been coming late from one of my advisors who's been out of the country. It was a lot of work to prepare the application, but now that I've written the supporting materials, like my statement of teaching/mentoring philosophy, I feel a litle more prepared to submit job applications in the future.
As soon as it was handed in, J and I got in the car to drive up to Rochester. I was pretty exhausted (since I had hardly slept that night or the night before) so I slept most of the way while J navigated through the snow of the southern tier of New York state. By the time we arrived at my grandmother's house, everyone was already asleep in bed, so we just snuck in and went to bed ourselves.
The next day we got up and saw all the family that had been sleeping the night before. I have to say that it was really nice that everyone came out for the funeral without a second thought, flying in from California and Belgium.
In the evening we had the wake for my grandfather. I was sort of nervous about it because it was open casket for the immediate family. I knew I didn't really want to go up to see him, but I did anyway. I had seen my other grandfather just after he died in the hospice, and that had felt right to me, like I could both say goodbye and also see that he had really passed on. In contrast, this grandfather looked strange and preserved and I was too distracted by that to feel like I could say goodbye.
Afterwards, there were three hours of visiting during which I met many family members whose names I've heard but never met (or only met when I was very small) and by the end I felt really socially exhausted. But I think it was good for my grandmother and my parents because they were seeing people they hadn't seen in a long time who could share memories of my grandfather (e.g., even my mom's friends from high school came by) and also just catch up with each other. In contrast, I had to go around correcting people who thought I was either my sister or my mother. :)
And then we went to dinner, where I sat across from my mother's cousin who literally lives about five blocks away from me in Baltimore and this is maybe the second time I've ever met her. Families are weird, huh? (There's a chance I'll see her again in a couple of weeks, but we'll see.)
The funeral was the next morning, with a "burial" in a crypt rather than a grave. For some reason, that was probably the hardest part for me because it truly felt like goodbye. I felt like I should be hugging him goodbye, as I always have in the past when I leave. I guess my youngest cousin (who is in kindergarten) felt similarly, because as she walked up to the casket she raised her hand to give him one last high-five. Very sweet.
And then, totally switching gears, after the funeral and a large brunch, I ended up going wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, two aunts, and two cousins. If I wasn't already thinking about the cycle of life, that really drove the point home! It was sort of amazing to me to watch all of the family that would never have existed if my grandparents hadn't gotten married, and to consider how it's grown and stayed together, and then to realize that J and I will be creating the same thing over the years. It's a bit mind-blowing.
Of course, the actual experience of shopping for a dress wasn't all that mind-blowing. If anything, it was simply frustrating. It was really great to have so many family members there, offering opinions and just being there with me, but the dress shop we chose had those clasically pushy salespeople who just rubbed me the wrong way. It probably didn't help that I had no intention of buying a dress from them unless it was an amazing deal and the woman helping me had no intention of showing me anything that was an amazing deal. By the end of the day, the dress I liked the best was $1895, being offered at a measley 10% discount because it was a sample gown. And there is simply no way I am spending that much on one dress to be worn for one day and then never again. (I could rant about everything that is wrong with the wedding industry, but I won't. Let's just say that even if I had $2K to blow on a dress, I wouldn't do it just on principle.) But I walked out of the shop with what I was looking for, which was ideas about the kind of dresses that work for me. Next stop, David's Bridal and Craigslist...
And then we drove back to Baltimore on Friday, in anticipation of the snow storm. It was kind of relaxing, for me anyway since J drove the whole way. I just couldn't stay awake in the car even though I'd actually been sleeping at night. I guess it was just an exhausting week. (I also had my period this past week, and that alone usually exhausts me, so adding two nearly sleepless nights, a job application, a funeral, and wedding dress shopping on top of it was almost too much.)
Last night I did what I could to go through the ridiculous amount of email that had accumulated in my inbox until I was too tired to go on. I acquired a pounding headache, so I just curled up next to J to watch the U.S. play Japan in a soccer friendly, and then went to sleep.
Some grocery shopping, some blogging, and then a fun-filled evening of work because I thought it would be good for me to present my research in a lab meeting on Monday, so now I have to prepare for that. I sort of wish I hadn't offered to present, but I do think it will be helpful to pull a presentation together (which I'll have to do soon anyway) and to get questions and feedback on what I've done.
... I can't wait to see the snow tomorrow. Metaphorically, I think a blanket of cool white snow would be just the thing to make me feel a little more settled and calm. If the world slows down around me, it might make me feel a little less jumbled inside. (And actually, I'm already feeling a lot less jumbled after today, which was pretty mellow.)
Hm, I haven't slept in about two days... Last night I stayed up until about 5 am, tried to sleep and almost gave up around 6 am, but then managed to sleep until J's alarm went off at 9 am. I was instantly awake and stressed, so I just got up.
[Post edited to remove venting. For those who read this section, the end result is that I got an email in response essentially also half apologizing / half explaining and an assurance that all is well.]
Anyway... I probably shouldn't be posting all this stuff on the web. I just wanted to vent, but I think I'll probably delete it sometime tomorrow, so read quickly folks!
Well, now it's 6:30 am and here I am, still working on my application, but almost finished!
All I can say is that I don't envy the committee that has to read my application...
So tomorrow (today, really) I have to pack my stuff to go up to Rochester, mail off my application, and then get in the car and pass out while J does the majority of the driving up to Rochester. It's 7 hours of driving, so I hope I recover in enough time to help him out, but if I am delirious it might not be a good idea.
We should arrive just in time to go to bed, which will be fine by me.
Then I am going to set aside my work for a couple of days as need be for my grandfather's funeral and spending time with my family. (By the way, thanks all for your condolences by email and in the comments. They are very much appreciated and I haven't responded only because I've been too busy to even stop and sleep!)
And then, it's back to work. Yippee!
A list, because I am too tired to pull it all together into something more coherent:
Yesterday when I was up at 7 in the morning, it's because I'd stayed up all night working on a dissertation chapter. It's really not a healthy habit to get into, but sometimes I feel like it takes so much out of me to get any writing done that once I finally start to make progress, I don't want to stop and go to bed. I know that if I sleep, then the next day it will take me forever to get going again and I'll fall back into the trap of agonizing over my words and the organization of the chapter and by the time I really start writing again, it will be hours later. So I try to just work through the night and reach whatever unrealistic stopping point I have made for myself, which usually means that by around 7 am I am really delirious but oh so close to reaching that goal so I keep working for another three hours until I can hardly see.
So yesterday I went to bed around 10 am and slept until 4. When I woke up, I felt so much better and had a brief moment of inner peace. Until I realized it was 4 pm and I just felt really weird. (You know that feeling where you think it's morning but the rest of the world thinks it's late afternoon and it's just too much to comprehend?)
Anyway, to make matters more confusing, I had made plans to meet up with a couple of friends, so an hour later I was having chile rellenos and a Mexican Ginger Beer (ginger beer and tequila) at Holy Frijoles for "breakfast". I relaxed there for a few hours and it occurred to me that I really don't do this kind of thing nearly enough. Good food, good conversation, and no work involved!
I got home around 9:30 pm after having had one more beer while waiting for takeout to bring home to J, and I think that beer combined with the food, previous drink, and weird sleep schedule just really knocked me out. I couldn't even surf the web when I got home and I was too tired to turn the tv on, so I just laid down on the futon (pushing Koji out of the way, who was sleeping right smack in the center) and passed out. At some point J suggested I move to the real bed, which I must have done because I woke up there around 3 am feeling like it was noon. I managed to sleep for another few hours, and now I think I am really recovered from the all-nighter.
So far today looks perfect - overcast and rainy, just how I like it. I have a lab meeting to go to, and I have to confess that I often love going to lab meetings because we just sit there for a couple of hours and talk about interesting (to me) stuff. After that maybe I'll wander around with my camera for a little while if the light isn't too bad. Hopefully the sun will come out just enough to brighten things up. And then I'll come back and work for hours and hours, but not all night. Apparently, like the rest of the world, I have not yet overcome the need to sleep.