Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I am a lazy bugger

I guess this is the first official post being made from the new powerbook... as I sit here and watch my iPod charge, which is not terribly exciting.

I've been neglectful of pretty much everything since last Friday... the only significant thing I've done is catch up on laundry.

I still have this book chapter thing to do, and I'm hoping (praying) that I can at least have a draft by the end of the weekend. I'm too distracted by this new toy - trying to install all the necessary software for work and analysis (even though I probably won't use those programs for at least another month or two). Strange the things we use to procrastinate.

I'm also trying to get up the guts to email this other potential post-doctoral supervisor... I emailed him during the summer just to see if he would bite, but I didn't even get a "no thank-you" email back. We're figuring (optimistically) that my email got tagged as spam because I attached my CV, so I'm going to email him again, sans attachments, and see if I at least get a response. If it's a 'no', or there's no answer, I'm going to have to think about finding someone else, but his lab looks really interesting, and really fun.

argh. do these stressors never end?

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I went out to dinner on Friday night to celebrate, and nearly fell asleep in my fettucine. The strange thing was, I woke up on Saturday morning at 6:45 anyway (I did go back to bed, of course). Yesterday was spent shopping, spending some of the money from the wedding shower, and getting a suit and another outfit that should do for any interviews as well as the PhD defense (which I'm trying not to think about).

This morning, I slept in again, and then gathered up fiancé to go to the market. I noticed the blue sky and green trees and crisp wind for the first time in weeks. I realized I'd been completely ignoring everything else around me, and that really makes me sad.

Time is passing, and it's passing quickly. It's only 41 days until the wedding and I need to stop and pay attention.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Although I'm still reeling, I think it's over ;-)

I'll receive official comments next week, probably, but in general it was a comfortable question/answer session. The talk was excellent if I do say so myself.

So, onward, Tequila!

1.5 hours to go . . .

Fiancé told me that there's not enough time to accomplish anything, and so I shouldn't even try to read anything in the next hour and a half... it'll freak me out...

Too frikking late for that, now, isn't it...


So here I sit, surfing the web for distraction...

and trying not to jump out of my skin :-P

Three hours to go . . .

. . . and if you'll pardon the vernacular, I don't know whether to crap or wind my watch.


I went through my talk again; last night it took 25 minutes, this morning it took 20'36". Which is good.

But, then, the boss came and asked me (and another student in the lab) to help him write a book chapter.

(for the uninitiated, that's a "really good thing" to have on your record)

Problem is, it's due in 2 weeks. But, of course, I agreed to it, because it's good to put on the resumé.

Oh, does the madness ever end???

got up 30 minutes ago

and i've just been surfing the net... i should be getting ready, but i'm tired, and freaked out....

i'll let you know how it goes . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Congratulations! It's a bouncing baby...


Hopefully I won't bounce it! It's at home, alone and sad, because I don't have time to set it up before this exam. Fiancé made me leave it there, and come back to work to study.

But, it's here :-)

(and so is the iPod. which is just as cool)

i *think* my laptop is in

One of my labmates took a cryptic phone message the other day... he said that the computer centre called and said my iPod is in. But, the iPod was always in stock; it was the laptop that we were waiting for.

So, I'm going to assume that the laptop is in, and go down for a break to pick it up.

Cross your fingers...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Burgers make everything better...

So, my brother (who is also in grad school) took me out for supper, for the one thing that sets the world right - treat burgers.

Treat burgers are usually the signature burger from a well-known chain that I won't mention, except to say that I'm lovin it. They're a treat, because we usually eat extraordinarily healthy, and they help us through writing and exams and other horrible necessities. Lately I've been on a one-per-six-months basis, and hopefully it won't increase in frequency.

So, I now feel like Booger does in this photo... but I'm sure my stomach will hate me later.

(all images copyright E. Boudreau)

The mood, according to Booger.

I'm realizing that I captured a range of emotions when I took a bunch of snaps of the cat.

I've just gone over slides with the boss. On the whole, I think it was OK... but there are a handful that I need to change, and I guess I'm not impressed... probably with myself.

I'm not feeling in the best of moods, but I don't quite know how to express it.

Booger seems to have captured it perfectly. It's the "Get the hell away from me if you know what's good for you" face.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

I thought I posted late last night, but maybe I was dreaming.

... although I didn't think I was overly tired.

I even stayed up to watch Law and Order, because I was feeling pretty good about everything...

Oh, well.

I have this picture that captures how I'm feeling right now... courtesy of my darling puddy tat. He lives with my mother, and his name is Booger (she says his name is something else that I've long since forgotten; he only answers to Booger.)

So, the slides are almost done. I'm still trying to figure out how/when I'm going to find the time to read through my background information in a weak attempt to study for this thing. Although, I'm thinking that if I don't know something by now, frantic cramming isn't really going to help anyway.

Hmmmm. Maybe I'll follow the example of a fellow grad student I met yesterday on the way from the grocery store. She's hoping to defend by Christmas, and so she's feeling the same as me (or, likely worse). She left work for an hour, and had a sundae and a cigarette. She doesn't usually have either unless she's stressed, and felt guilty at being caught.

I told her we all deserve our little vices....

(all images copyright E. Boudreau)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I am so tired....

Everyone has a copy of the essay now, including the boss. And I've gotten little to nothing done on the presentation.

I just wish it was over.

Last night I was feeling really good about everything. I went over the whole thing in my mind, and thought about what they were likely to ask me... I was smart in my own head... But this morning, I'm starting to think of the million things I didn't put in the essay, and the things I hadn't thought of to put in the talk.

I'll spin myself in circles before the week is out, I'm sure.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Reports are passed in.

There were a couple of nice surprises:

(1) There isn't a separate chair of the meeting/exam, which means one less pair of eyes staring me down.

(2) The room is just downstairs from my lab, rather than in a stuffy building on the upper campus, which means familiar territory.

(3) The grad secretary at the department commented on how it looked like one of the longest essays she's seen for a prelim exam, implying that I put lots of effort which should work in my favour.

And now, for real this time, sleep.

I *think* all the figures are done.

edits to progress report to incorporate

then, final print.

oh. my. lordie.

Down to the wire.


because of the coffee, I've had a grand total of 2 hours sleep.

time to write figure captions, check edits, print out, and go down to the other end of campus to pass this thing in.

T-minus 8 hours . . .

gave up the ghost, relatively early in the night.

no energy for caps.

essay is done.

progress report is 90% done.

figures are drawn, still need captions.

all will be completed and printed out, starting tomorrow morning at approximately 7:45-8:00am.

and now, i sleep.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

And it begins... this time for real...

It's nine-o-something, and here we go.

one figure printed, needs some tweaking.

one section left to write, and edit.

appendices, references, title page.

I'm here all night folks, hope you stick around.

Tomorrow is doomsday #1

I have to pass in the report and the research progress update tomorrow. They'll be done by the end of the day, but I should probably have them in before noon.

Which means tonight'll be a late night. Boo.

I'm having good days and bad days... or should I say good hours and bad hours? It's the weirdest thing. I can be going along well, and all of a sudden some random thought makes me feel like I don't know anything.

In any case, it'll be over in 5 days. I hope.

Friday, September 16, 2005

My cheesecake...

I finally brought the camera cord into work this morning, so here is the masterpiece... Piña Colada Cheesecake à la me. Top: pre-decoration; Bottom: post-decoration, with pineapple, whipped cream, and flaked coconut. yummmmmmm...

Unfortunately, there's none left to snack on while putting in these edits :-(

(all images copyright E. Boudreau)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Back from the second meeting. . .

And it wasn't too bad.

The only potential issue is the timing of this preliminary exam in relation to my thesis defense. They're supposed to be at least one year apart, but at the rate I'm going (or want to go, at least) they'll be about 8 months apart.

So, the boss has to write a letter to the Graduate Studies Department explaining why this happened, and why they should bend the rule for me.

My department chair, with whom I had the meeting, has done this twice in the past 2 years for his own students, so I can't see how it'll be a problem, but he had such a doomsday look on his face that I can't help but feel a bit nervous.

Oh, well. One more thing to think about this fall...

I got Punk'd


I baked my beautiful cheesecake for a lab party - our technician had a housewarming party last night at her new place.

We were all excited about it - her house is out in the country, on a beautiful piece of land, and is a really great piece of architecture. Everyone seemed so keen to go, and she seemed so keen to make sure everyone had a ride out (to the point where she actually found a ride for me and fiancé before I had a chance to ask around).

It wasn't a housewarming party.

It was a surprise wedding shower for us, and another labmate who's also getting married three weeks from now.

Fiancé was totally surprised... I got a little suspicious when the driver's cellphone rang, and it was the other couple calling for directions, and when she hung up the phone she muttered, "He'd better not get lost!" It's hilarious simply because I'm usually involved in the secret party planning, but since I've been working from home, they sent one double email (message #1 = housewarming party; message #2 = secret wedding shower, sent to everyone but us) and took a collection and got us gift certificates to our registry.

They put up balloons and streamers, and it was a huge potluck dinner. The house was gorgeous, and our tech has two big friendly dogs that everyone just adores. Plus, there were about a half dozen babies/toddlers to cuddle, which is always good therapy for me.

I love my lab.

(forgot the camera cable again; will post photos after lunch, or tomorrow morning)


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My splendiferous cheesecake

Success. An evening of doing nothing work related, and I ended up with what looks like a perfect cheesecake. But, I forgot my USB connector, so I can't post the photos yet :-(

Worked a little more on my slides last night, not at all on the report. But, my dad was in town, so we had coffee, which was nice.

(yay for rationalizing)

OK. I have to transfer some diagrams to fiancé's laptop so I can work some more this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Comments from the boss

Instant heart attack = my draft, red-penned, in my mailbox this morning.


Instant heart attack relief = the first comment I read began with, "I think this is quite good..." and it wasn't followed up by a "... but you need to change the whole thing".

YAY for me! Now, I just have to worry about the 20 minute talk.

I've decided that I'm going to write the presentation on my fiancé's laptop. You see, if I haven't explained it before, we have a rift in our household.

He's a PC person, I'm a Mac person. I know; the marriage is doomed.

I've been writing this whole time on a PC, and made a few presentation slides last night on the PC, and it wasn't too bad. Since it's still more comfortable to write from home, I'd like to do the presentation there too. The good news is that it's much easier to take Mac figures and files and transfer them over to a PC than the other way around.

(that's because Macs are more user-friendly, and just better, IMHO)

So, off I go this afternoon to continue on this talk. If I'm feeling brave, I might even read through the comments and implement them, instead of freaking and waiting until Saturday night.

Oh, and I think I'll bake a cheesecake for tonight's procrastination event. If it looks good, I might even post a photo ;-)

Complete distraction

Today, as a procrastinatory measure, I'm going to learn how to post photos.

We have a Victorian garden here in the city, and my new digital camera is the reason I took off every lunch hour instead of working. But, how can you complain about life when there are such beautiful things across the street? And who could resist that cute face?

(All images Copyright E. Boudreau)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ok. I *think* the committee is whole again

My replacement has agreed, in theory. But today he's in the process of writing a grant that's due today or tomorrow, so all I could do was hand him the information sheet, and duck & cover.

I have 20 pages, double spaced, as of this morning. It's rough. I'll give it to the boss in 20 minutes, and run away.

On a happier note, I've just placed the order for my new laptop. I actually got my lab manager to do it - the computer supplier here at school gives great deals to students and faculty, and she has a way of getting things done quickly. I should see it on my desk in less than two weeks.

. . .

11 days to create a presentation, 35 days until we leave for the States for a job interview, 54 days until the wedding.

Sad how my life is reduced to numbers.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Crisis abounds.

In the process of solidifying a date for this exam, it all went to pot.

And, I have no real reason to be upset about it.

One of my committee members is on sabbatical this year, so technically he is excused from all teaching and committee responsibilities. But, he'd agreed to do this exam anyway, because he was supposed to be in town. The problem is, he's now scheduled to fly out the evening of the exam, and that's not the least of it. He's just gone through a terrible family tragedy, and really needs to get away. Now that I know everything, I don't want to put even five minutes of work onto his already overloaded plate, and I am praying for him and his family.

But, that leaves me one committee member short. And, that doesn't count the one that's MIA, who was supposed to arrive back in town a week ago but is nowhere to be found.

My idea for a replacement would be perfect, but he's also overcommitted himself this fall. He'd do it in a heartbeat if it was just questioning me for an hour, but he doesn't know if he has the time to critically evaluate a 20 page report, considering most of my department is going to a conference from the 15th to the 19th of September (and would have to spend all their time upon arrival home on my report and exam).

So, it's entirely possible that this thing could fall through the tubes... and get pushed back until December... which I'm not sure will be useful. I can't even let my brain consider that possibility or I'll probably shut down completely.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war!

I now have 6 2/3 single-spaced pages now, or 13 1/3 double-spaced. No figures, no headings, no TOC. Severe editing required on the first 2 pages or so.

So much for getting clean laundry this weekend. Boo.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

6 pages, a *second* meeting, and a whole lotta panic

So, I had a burst of productivity at home yesterday, and realized that I cannot work at the office. I wrote almost an entire page at home, but couldn't get two words down at the office.

Not that this migraine helps ;-)

So, I'm going home again this afternoon to try to get another page. I absolutely must have a draft on Monday to give to the boss, because he'll then have about 3 days to edit it amongst the other million things he has to do, before he leaves for conference again.

On top of that - 8 weeks until the wedding.

This timing really sucks.

And, the second meeting... I have to visit the chair of the department, and explain how wonderful the past year has been, and why my timing sucks, and what's on the plate for the next 8 months.

Fun Fun Fun

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bad. Definitely bad.

So, I thought it would be smart to go home for a few days, and recharge the batteries. I figured I was getting so tired that it would be saving downtime in the end to take 3 days completely off, rather than work at less-than-peak capacity for the next three weeks.

Big mistake.

I woke up this morning to an anxiety attack. I'm trying to decide now if (a) I should take fiancé's laptop and try working from home or (b) I should just smack myself in the forehead, shoot 2 double espressos and JUST TYPE.

(I'm not impressed with myself. I seem to have some sort of new-found aversion to doing work AT work. To the point that I'm now researching my own laptop purchase.)

I just don't make sense. Not even in my own head. *sniff*

Friday, September 02, 2005

Home for a rest...

Well, smart idea or not, I've decided to pack up fiancé and go away for the weekend. We're both so tired and stressed out with everything that we're starting to become anti-productive. It'll probably save us time in the long run to take 72 hours off to recharge the batteries, and . . .

whoops, hold on a sec...


Just had a mini-conference with the boss. He's on target for the meeting, which is good. We all have to go through the lab administrator to book time for him. She knows where he's supposed to be, but he never seems to.

Now, it means that I have to have the report finished by September 10th, when he comes back. that gives me another 6 days, once I get back from the weekend recharge.

This could be good, this could be bad. Oh, well ;-)