Friday, November 03, 2006

Extensions, anyone?

Hub has received reprieve. Turns out his external can't travel here in December, but January looks good.

This means. . . We won't have to spend every waking moment of this, our wedding anniversary weekend, editing text, formatting figures, printing out lit citations.


We even have the dreaded top cake layer, that was frozen solid the morning after. Our five-tier monstrosity had two kinds of layers - chocolate marble pound cake with grand marnier buttercream, and lemon raspberry pound cake with raspberry buttercream. It's defrosting in my fridge right now, and I'll save you from seeing the sad state those ladybugs are in after a year at sub-zero, and show you how it looked, fresh and sparkly, at our reception.

The ladybugs were my surprise for everyone - my entire family knows I'm a collector, but the wedding color was navy (with gold/yellow/orange accents in my girls' flowers). I don't think anyone expected me - the perfectionist - to include ladybugs at a metropolitan evening wedding, or cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception. I decided in secret to put my little buggies on the cake, and even on the placecards (which were a STEAL, a last-minute purchase that I never thought I'd find, and cost <10$ for 200)

Adorable, non?

I'll see if I can dig up some more good pics later . . . It's things like this that make grad school worthwhile.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Small amounts of progress . . .

So, I haven't really written anything of note, considering that the dental surgery that I had on October 2nd was followed up by a bad reaction to the painkillers that they gave me. That wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't caught the flu two days later.

I have been in a fog for over three weeks, and it's horrible.

I've basically switched to being a supportive housewife, because that's pretty much all my brain can handle (that, and sequence analysis, but more on that later). Hubby has to pass his thesis in for mail-out to his examiners in about a week, so I've been cooking, cleaning, making lots of decaffeinated tea, and keeping him away from coffee, because the caffeine brings on panic attacks.

Once he passes the document in, he'll have a month to read/study, and practice his oral presentation (which is already done, and was used as a job talk - so just a little review there).

At that point, he'll have to do the following:

  1. Figure out immigration/visas for me, for when we move in the new year
  2. Find us an apartment for same
  3. Start thinking about packing up this overly stuffed apartment
  4. Cooking, cleaning, making decaffeinated tea, etc.
  5. Nagging the $#!# out of me, so that I write my $#@&!*% thesis.

I will then be free to:

  1. Write my thesis
  2. Make figures for same
  3. Write my thesis
  4. Edit my thesis
  5. Write whatever else is left, and pass the damn thing in.

He managed to get the bulk of his done in about four weeks, so I should be able to take the seven weeks I have before we leave and get it all (mostly) finished.

I'm now looking at a late February defense, which means flying back here for it, but that's OK.

So, yeah, other than sitting around trying to remember how to write my name, I've managed to do some mindless sequence analysis, along with some literature searching for the in silico project. Not completely unproductive, but it was probably about five days worth of work, spread out over three-ish weeks.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Never work on your dedication page when you're sleep-deprived and emotional. Trust me.

So, I haven't met any of my personally set deadlines. But, really, is that surprising?

I threw myself back into this in silico project that happens to be going really well, and I have a collaborator that will make it a little bit easier. But, she's been bogged down with a couple of her own deadlines, and is now off on vacation while the weather is still somewhat cooperative. The timing is really not too bad, since I expect to be miserable next week after they rip four molars from my jaw, and I don't have to worry about meeting with her until after I recover. But, it means that this week should be spent on something different.

Like writing.

I HATE writing. It makes me feel somewhat stupid, especially when I'm plagued by writer's block. So I decided to go back over my dedication and acknowledgements pages, which I'd started several months ago.

DAMN, I'm a good writer when it comes to the sappy crappy.

So, I'm sitting here, buzzed out on a pot of coffee, sobbing over my laptop.

Maybe I should just re-type the thoughts I had from my prelim. They're my thoughts, after all. I was going to just cut/paste, but if I type them in again, I can a) re-word more scientifically and b) feel more productive.

Did I mention that I HATE writing?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bills Bills Bills

Is this what it means to be a grown-up? Discovering that dental coverage isn't cheap?

I have one more bill to pay, out of three - One check-up and cleaning (including X-rays), and two visits for fillings. Total: >$700.

And, here's the best part: my teeth still hurt from Monday's fillings and assorted manipulations (Wedge? What the heck is a wedge, and why do you need to use it on my molars?!?) Right now I feel like I did as a teenager, after my braces were tightened - the whole right side of my head has been throbbing for two days.

So, the pain goes on and on. And, better than the best part - I have to get my wisdom teeth extracted in 2 weeks.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaah haahaaaaaaah.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I don't know how it happened, but. . .

I think I found 5th gear.

I only hit it for about an hour, late yesterday afternoon, but it's still there, and it would seem still accessible.

I've set myself up here at home to write again, just like last year's prelim essay. The only problem is that there's TV here, as well as a fully stocked fridge. I've yet to turn the TV on today, but I'm about to succumb to the force drawing me to the kitchen, if only to make tea.

I'm aiming for one more full, single-spaced page today.... we'll see if it happens.

ETA: Little bro is settled, and having a blast. Today is his first day of classes, though; that'll be telling ;-)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Little brother's adventure is beginning today - we packed him into a van this morning and sent him halfway across the country for grad school.

So, I'm the only sibling left, when we've been here for 10 years. I have hub, and he's a Godsend. If he weren't here, I'd be holed up with chocolate and reality TV all day.

But, it still doesn't make it any easier. This time, it's a bit harder than when our older brother left. Little bro is the baby of the family, and we're finding it hard to let him go. I know we'll survive, but it still sucks.

The (sort of) good news is that hub and I are going to visit his mother to deal with some house stuff. It gives me something to concentrate on.

boo. :-(

Monday, August 14, 2006


I have to have them. No one ever gives them to me, and so I never set them for myself.

Which gets me into trouble. Every. Single. Time.

I need to get an introduction written. There's no getting around it. But, I told Hub this morning that I should've been an enzymologist (Warning! Geek joke follows). The activation energy required to get me actually, truly, honestly started is so huge, and gets worse every time, that I'm nearly paralyzed.

My brother's advice was concise - Concentrate. Eat. Sleep. Write. I just don't know if I have the energy to pull into 5th gear again.

I will have an intro written by Friday. It doesn't have to be perfect. Hell, it doesn't even have to be any good at this point. It just has to be written.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A knitting blog...

So, I'm thinking I should separate my knitting from my writing, and my writing from my knitting...

I've created ScientKnits, and we'll see how it evolves.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I spent a blissful three-plus days doing nothing work-related. I made three baby hats for the various offspring that are springing up all over the place, along with getting a huge chunk of the blanket done. We took the bus, and got stuck in traffic, so the five hours of daylight were put to good use.

I also got a bit of luxury for my tiny, but growing, stash... I'll take photos of it, and the hats, later.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Yay for 72 hour vacations :-)


We've decided to take the weekend off and go to visit my parents!

The ironic thing is, we're going to get away from the pressure, but it's the pressure that's forcing us to go this weekend since there are no others available.

My little brother is moving to go to grad school in a couple of weeks, so there's going to be some frantic packing and sorting. His new place is furnished, so some of the family pieces he has now have to be returned to the homestead, and since they're leaving before the end of the month so the superintendent can tile and paint, we need to get the cleaning done ASAP.

The kicker is, as my parents are driving him halfway across the country, I'll be driving with hubby to his mom's place, because she's thinking of selling soon, and we have to take care of that too. We'll meet my parents in hubby's hometown, and drive back together.

I *do* have deadlines looming, but I'm sufficiently close to exhaustion that I'm not caring much at the moment. I told my lab manager that we'd be away, since she's also doing some tech work on my last project, and she gets to take a 4-day weekend to spend with her kids and husband. It was kind of funny - I told her that we needed the break, since we hadn't taken one since Christmas, and she said something to the effect of, "Yeah, if you don't mind my saying, you do look a bit tired." From anyone else that would be code for, "You look like shit." I know her too well, though; I could tell that she's been concerned about me burning out lately.

That's why as much as I need a change of scenery and a new lab and some new challenges, I'll really miss some of the people here. They're not just co-workers; they're family.

So, I'm off to think peaceful, calming thoughts so that the rest of the week, along with the weekend, is restful and productive. My peaceful place is actually back where we honeymooned; it's so beautiful and serene that it makes my blood pressure drop whenever I think of it:

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Is this art? Or just plain weird?

(Yay photos!)

So, I needed more counter space when cooking dinner last night, so I started moving things around a bit.

All the fruit that could fit in the basket was there already, and I had this one melon left. I couldn't figure out where to put it (I have a problem with putting stuff on the stove while I'm cooking, even if only one element is on), so I shoved it in the only place it would fit.

The coffeemaker.

I may be strange, but this made me smile. Just a little bit.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

So this is what everyone means when they say their photos won't load . . .

I had started a post last night, but was waiting for my camera to recharge so I could download some pictures. The pics are on my harddrive now, but I can't seem to upload them...

Hope it's not an omen for the week...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

argh . . .

This weekend has been productive on the home level (dishes, laundry, knitting, etc.) but not so much on the work level.

Hub has been at the bench all day, and was all day yesterday too... so that's making me feel a teensy bit guilty... so guilty, in fact, that I can't tell whether I have a migraine or a stress-headache... or a stress-induced migraine... they're all different, and my head hurts too much to try and differentiate.

But, I feel productive on the baby blanket front. I've changed to my fourth ball of yarn, and I'm a convert - once you get the hang of continental knitting, it flows amazingly fast. Baby is due on Wednesday at noon my time (they're three hours behind, so it'll be 9AM for them), and everyone's feeling good so far. She may well get the blanket before the christening ;-)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Well . . .

. . . Pepsi and cake a good lunch do not make.

Ehn. I hurt now.

But, I just found out that I will indeed get my stipend paid in September. There's always a period of uncertainty when one switches funding sources that it just might run out. But I'm good.

Which is fortunate, considering I just ordered some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock(tm) on my credit card, and it's not even close to cheap. It's awfully pretty, though ;-)


The meeting. Good and bad. As per usual.

I will get out of here by Christmas.

I will get out of here by Christmas.

Monday, July 24, 2006

How much fun are last minute meetings?

I mean, really.

"Tomorrow. 10am. We'll talk."

I just passed in a thesis outline last week, and we're heading into vacation season for most people, so I guess it's not that surprising.

But, of course, it's always with the palpitations ;-)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I finally got the camera out . . .

. . . but, as per usual, it was the wrong time of day. So, my lighting is all off. But, it's the baby blanket, finally, and I just found out yesterday that I have 15 days to finish it. Peanut is now a scheduled C-section (thank heavens; Peanut's older brothers didn't enter civilization easily), but her brothers got their quilts when they were 2 months old, so perhaps it won't be so bad.

In any case, on to the progress:

Here's a close-up of the hourglass pattern that makes up the body of the blanket . . .

here's the seed-stitch border . . .

. . . and this is the whole thing, folded up on my coffee table.

I figure I'll get it to her by October... just in time for chilly weather. Oh, and it's a Lionbrand free pattern. Very cool.

And, just because it's pretty - here's my latest floral acquisition. My younger brother, who knows I love lilies, bought these off the little guy who sells (typically) roses downtown to men on first dates who are trying to impress. Isn't he impressive? ;-)

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Viva l'Italia!

Well, sort of.

We had a World Cup Final party this weekend, and it was the first time I'd actually watched a televised soccer game... The first time I'd actually watched any form of soccer since the age of 13, when we used to go to see the cute highschool boys play....

But, here's the rub - I used it as an excuse to bake! Two batches of filled cupcakes (chocolate with hazelnut-cocoa filling, and vanilla with lemon curd filling), decorated with team flags (and happy faces for the kiddos):

Third place, and in honour of the nationality of our hosts:

Second place:

And, the winners!
I must say, the game was rather exciting, particularly at the beginning. Rather like hockey, I think; lots of handling, minimal scoring (as opposed to basketball, for example). It's difficult to watch, though, with five children ranging in age from 18 months to 3.5 years, running around the room. The added sugar from the cupcakes probably didn't help, either!

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The turn of a heel . . .

Well, still no pictures, but I really do need to take some.

I turned the heel on my first grown-up sized sock yesterday, and it seems to have worked. This whole magic-loop thing is the business - you never have to worry about dropping needles or poking anyone; I even used the loop to hold my instep stitches, even though some people think that's a pain in the heinie.

I've made the decision that as soon as I finish sock #1, I'll go back to the baby blanket, and finish that before embarking on sock #2. I'm not looking forward to it, though, because the weather is so humid here. A tiny sock that stays suspended from the needle is so much more comfortable than a large, fuzzy, non-breathing acrylic blend.

Work-wise, the stats are coming along nicely. The problem with today is that there are too many meetings and seminars that I have to go to. I'm really going to have to bust my butt this weekend, I think.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Slacker Monday?

No pics yet today, although it's been an eventful few days.

I mustmustmust remember to take one of the baby blanket to post; it'll force me to work on it some more. I've managed to start turning the heel on my very first grown-up sock, and it's not too bad. All the calculating is getting annoying, since it's a generic sock pattern that is somewhat DIY, but I'm determined that it'll work.

We had a great, albeit unproductive, weekend, both knitting and otherwise. Hub's labmate is from overseas, and her friends visit every year or so - this weekend happens to be 2006's event. We went to a dinner party at her place, which was lovely. Good food, good conversation, good wine.

The problem was, too much wine led to a dinner party that was longer than most of my workdays, and we walked home in the rain as the sun came up.

I guess it's not a problem, so much as an accomplishment - I'm convinced that I'm too old for that sort of stuff ;-)

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's slacker Friday...

... and I'm totally OK with that.

Without going into gory (geeky?) details, I've been more productive in the past week than I think I've been since last September in the mad rush of Prelim time.

I've managed to get a (homemade) program working to do some major stats analyses, albeit on hub's PC, but I also have a co-worker compiling it for the Mac.

(No, I don't know what that means. I don't know why it was written in Pascal versus Fortran, and I don't know why I'm bothering with the cross-computing. It'll save me about 15 minutes after I complete about 50 separate analyses. But, that's OK.)

So, I shall post on my latest creative efforts, since this seems to be less about grad school and more about hobbies. But, then again, hobbies and life outside the lab are, indeed, how we survive grad school without going nuts :-)

Firstly, the famous baby-cheesecake. Here's a rough progression:

I call it - "Bare Canvas"

Outline completed (note the ever-so-carefully placed piping bag)

Yes, folks, that's a baby. Mutant, but a baby nonetheless.

Baby has some color in his cheeks!

The pink and blue frosting were added because I took the cake off the bottom of the springform pan... As a result, that sucker slipped and slid whenever I so much as nudged the plate.
Solution: more sugar!

And, since the rest of the plate was rather bare, and I had about a cup of spare chocolate ganache, I whipped it up and decorated the border with some rosettes. Because, who's going to complain with more chocolate, right?

I was also a really bad girl two weeks ago, and went to a newly discovered, but long existing, yarn store.

(There is a huge portion of this city that I haven't explored, even though I've been here for 10 years. It's only when I'm looking for new slacker activities that I manage to find these gems).

The problem I was having was that a certain big box store had the most awful yarn selection, and a new little boutique that opened close to school is too expensive, and had even less selection than the big box (really nice mohair and other exotics, but nothing really practical).

This new(ly found) little gem is comparable to two local stores in my home town - tonnes of cubbies, floor to ceiling, lots of options, all the colors you'd want, and just enough luxury yarns and fibres to keep you sighing every now and then.

Hubby came in, and I'm sure chuckled the whole 30 minutes we were in there, as I fondled the potential projects. I was horribly good while being bad, though. I wanted to buy yarn for socks for him, and yarn for socks for myself, and yarn for socks for my mom... but my purchases can be fit into this one tiny pic:

The light is really glaring, because in reality it's a nice glen check brown/grey/tan/dark grey twist. At the moment the sock is about 6" long, not the 2" in the photo, and I'm trying to decide if it's time to divide for the heel. I know that my ribbing on the top sucks, and I don't know why, but hub is OK with having a 'rusticly homemade' socks as his first pair.

For the knitting savvy amongst you, yes, I have discovered the magic loop method, and yes, that is a loverly 40" size 3 addi turbo. I am smitten. I am a sock knitter.

I think I'll take a pic of the baby blanket and post it... I should really be working on it, not the socks, but I love the tiny needles and the quick progress.

Progress. Maybe I should go for that with my stats for an hour... then take an extra long lunch in the first real summer day we've had.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Friday, June 02, 2006

The beginnings of my next cheesecake...

So we're having another lab party this weekend.

It's a "welcome summer" BBQ... but in reality, it's a secret baby shower. I can say that safely because neither of the expectant mothers has any idea that I blog.

So, I've baked a strawberry cheesecake, since the ones with fruit purée added tend to cook better. This one, I must say, seems fantastic. The surface is perfectly flat, and of even color... which I will be covering up with some sort of baby decoration.

This is what it looks like, undressed...

We'll see how my first foray into cartoon decorating goes.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More birthday flowers . . .

Here's what I guess you could call the "yellow and blue" portion of the bouquet, followed by the whole thing . . .

When I think about giving (or getting) flowers as gifts, my logical brain rails against it. They wither in days, and in the end, you can keep a picture if you remember to take one, or possibly press them to include in other crafts, but neither of those things can capture the true beauty. But there's just something about having beautiful fresh flowers in the house that puts me in a good mood.

Hobbies and things . . .

So, my hobby-filled weekend included two things - baking and knitting. Baking is an old standard, and I went for a cheesecake, to bring into work. It was for a birthday, so I tried to be fancy. The white chocolate was supposed to be colored yellow, but isn't quite dark enough. The raspberry sauce tasted like paste. But, it looks darn good!

Knitting is my second hobby, and is a relatively new one. I had been sewing baby quilts for my friend's first two kiddos, but since I'm trying to finish up, and don't have constant access to a sewing machine, knitting is much easier. And, I'm finding out, if you use US11 needles, goes much quicker. The latest project for the latest kiddo isn't pictured here, though, in case she manages to find my blog!

Another reason I'm taking it up is that hub likes wool socks in the winter. His elderly aunt used to supply them, but her eyesight is beginning to fail, so I have to take up the needles. I've been trying to figure out how to turn a heel for about a year now, but never really tried to do it in earnest until Monday night, since I found a tiny training sock pattern. My brother thinks it's because I've managed to get preggers already, but I *swear* it's not; I don't want to defend my thesis with baby-brain.

I do, however, want to knit socks. They're useful (like baby blankets), less likely to turn out hideously like sweaters sometimes do, and take less time than big garments.

So, behold the first mini-socklet!

There isn't a ruler there (should've thought of that - I'm a scientist!) but it's a little less than 3", toe to heel.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Birthday flowers

I just had my first birthday as a married woman... and it was comforting. My darling husband cooked a gourmet dinner, and I spent the weekend working on hobbies rather than my thesis, as my gift to myself.

And, yes, it was divine... both the dinner and the hobbies.

Hub got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and it was the strangest combination of all colors and styles... here's a photo of the 'pink' portion.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


scientific proof...

I am nerdier than 68% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

climbing . . . up . . . out of this . . . dungeon . . .


So much for regular posting.

I did, however, wear the shoes, and the rest of the clothing that was bought with them. They were for a trip... for a job... that I'm still crossing my fingers about.

I haven't got any pictures of them, but I did take a couple while waiting for the airport shuttle to take me back home. Bonus points if anyone can figure out the town just by the snippet of building.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

Friday, February 24, 2006


. . .

Self-Pity Post.


I'm completely unfocussed at work today... although I guess it's rather silly to spend time blogging instead of wrestling my brain back to the task(s) at hand.

Oh, well. It's frigging Friday. Who the heck cares how productive I am?

Hubby is off at an office lunch, and both brothers are away (of course) so there isn't even anyone to harass by IM. Staring down the barrel of some excellent, interruption-free work time, aren't I?

The only good thing that came out of today is that my iPod, which I thought was going to kick the bucket, just needed a re-start. I got it for practically nothing as a package deal (it's a discontinued model) but I don't think I've gotten my money's worth out of it yet, and besides - who wants to pay for a replacement when the original was free (and I'd never buy one full price anyway)?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


. . . Self-Pity Shopping


Pardon the quality of the photo, but the shoes are part of my theraputic purchases.

I also got a pair of trousers, a tweed jacket, a sweater and a blouse.

Oh, and some ice cream.

You'd think I was a grade schooler, whose best friend just moved away . . .


This sucks.

I really feel like I did in the 8th grade when my best friend moved away. Back then, I didn't know if I'd ever see her again (which I did, and we're still very close).

This is different - he's my brother, and we'll probably see each other in less than 4 months (and we have the internet now, which we didn't in the 8th grade), but it still sucks.

It'll get better.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

There it is. I wonder why that didn't work last time....

This is a chickadee outside of my M-I-L's house, taken by hubby on a particularly cold day. The birds are all very tame, and have come to depend on her feeding them. Even when it's -40º, they wait for their birdseed.

(All images copyright E. Boudreau)

OK. So I feel slightly better now.

After a good cry, and a couple of hours of sleep, I do feel somewhat more like myself.

It's still going to be crappy, but my logical brain keeps telling me that it's really not going to be an impossible adjustment.

So, I will surround myself with hubby, and lots of pretty things... shopping tomorrow to take my mind off of it, and I'll look at some of the photos that came out of my Christmas travels... they don't seem to want to post, but I'll try.

Life is what happens when you're off making other plans . . .

So life did get out of hand... like I expected it would. Maybe I should be making a more concerted effort to write a bit every day or so. Maybe that would help me deal with everything.

To re-cap the last, oh, two months:

Christmas, well, Christmas sucked. I went to the M-I-L's, and it didn't go well. Suffice it to say it wasn't as warm a welcome as I'd expected, and we spent the whole time dealing with problems - problems with the house, problems with the weather, problems with medication (not mine, or hubby's . . .) . . . so I postponed the whole holiday. Christmas happened for me on December 28th, when hub and I arrived at my parent's place.

And it was good.

Now, I'm trying to focus. Work is no different than before - I struggle with projects that are supposed to be working, but it seems like I've lost the Midas touch.

The problem that immediately faces me now, when I should long be asleep, is how to focus and get that back, with major changes staring me down. You see, my older brother is moving away on Thursday.

So what, you think. Big deal. Well, the thing is, we started our college education together, since we're really close in age. We've both been doing this grad school thing for around 6-7 years. In the same building - our labs are only a floor apart.

Plus, we're a really close family (hence the crappy Christmas, being away from my parents, my Nana, and my brothers). They're all such an important part of me, and I've been fortunate enough to go to the same school as both of my brothers - older bro and I started together in 1996, and the other one moved up to the city in 2002.

Older bro has been there with me since the first calculus exam, through countless nights in the lab, through family crises that we had to handle over the phone with the other half of the family that's still at "home" (even though we've been in our present location for 10 years, it's not "home").

I'm scared of writing up my thesis without him down the hall to listen to my griping.

I know there's email, and free VOIP (or whatever the kids are using these days), and great long distance plans. But it's not the same. My best friend in junior high moved away shortly before my 16th birthday, and this feels worse than that.

And I feel horrible, since hubby is watching me struggle with this, and he has no siblings (and has never really encountered siblings who are as close as my brothers and I are). I feel so awful that he's feeling so helpless watching me cry.

Silly, really. People live on different continents and remain best friends. My friend that moved away in junior high - she now lives on the other end of the continent, and we're just as close. I know it'll be OK. To think otherwise would be illogical.

But I just don't know yet how to make it OK.