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My grandother, my father's mother, passed away Monday night. She was the last of my grandparents living. We weren't as close as either of us wanted to be, I think, especially after I moved to the West Coast, but she was still an important part of my life. My uncle is handling the arrangements, and I've checked in with him and with my father, so they know I'm on tap if they need something.

What makes me most sad today is that whatever's undone will remain undone. I hope she knew she was loved, even when we weren't that great at picking up a phone or a pen.
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Back from my cousin's wedding! She is happily hitched, I happily saw my family, I had a window for every leg of the trip, and my flight home picked up a tailwind, to my delirious joy. The approach was southeast-to-northwest over the Bay, letting me revel in landmarks: the San Mateo bridge, the Bay Bridge, Sutro tower, the Transamerica pyramid and financial district skyline, until Potrero Hill intervened; and thanks to fog doubling as a backdrop, the very pointy tops of the Golden Gate Bridge span.

The only stain in my happiness are this week's midterms. The medical microbiology midterm is multiple guess of principles I am comfortable applying; the immunology midterm has me ranting to unsuspecting roommates about fractal knowledge bases and pedagogy. One way or another this class will drive me to drink: before I review the blessed B-cell lineage, or after I BS the blessed cytokine questions.
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Off to North Carolina for my cousin's wedding. Waiting for tonight's red-eye flight and my impending 2.5 day separation from the city has been rendered much more pleasant by free wi-fi at SFO. It's hilarious to note that just taking BART to the airport made me so sad: I am missing a huge chunk of Fleet Week, including the Blue Angels air show. I haven't even left, and already I want to be back!

(BTW, TSA's "random screening" pulled the woman wearing a dress in a style that screamed home-made and head gear almost, but not entirely like a yarmulke. Random. Riiiight.)

Stuff I've been meaning to post on, and yet have not:

1.) Aida: soap opera on Italian steroids? Opera as id vortex. Discuss.
2.) How awesome my roommates are, and the dynamics of girls-only vs mixed gender housing. Are there significantly different dynamics, or did I just luck out and get a good roommie set?
3.) Personal integration of a universal truth: job searching is demoralizing.
4.) The struggle to evaluate without judging or criticizing. Your $foo should not impact my equilibrium. (Brought to you by Folsom Street Fair, as well as the random transsexual from a farmer's market event. I'm trying to market stuff to you, and you're trying to tell me about your MTF experience? If that's the life narrative you want to share with someone you met 90 seconds ago, okay, but - is your life about the transition or what you're transitioning to?)
4a.) Actually, that last question could tie into Point Three in ways that suggest I need to stop angsting and get something FT. Anything.
5.)Hey Atlanta,

Here you are looking fine in a fine hat. Hope you had a great time at [event]! Good luck finding that dream [specific type of hat].

Best,

[personal profile] ase


Accidental flirting is one of my superpowers. True fact.
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My grandfather passed away last week. He was in his 80's, a WWII vet, so this is saddening but not shocking, and he was fortunately able to spend his last days at home. My grandmother hasn't set a date for a funeral or memorial service, but my sister is spearing through three generations of knotty family relationships in the pursuit of correct action. Or something. My grandfather and I weren't close, so the most significant impact in the short term is the possibility of a short trip East for my grandmother. I may or may not be appealing for dad's frequent flier miles and DC couch-surfing space sometime in the next month as events unfold; it really depends on what help my grandmother asks for.
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I have to give a huge shoutout about my sister, who ran a half-marathon this weekend, and is awesome. Hearing about her plans makes me want a guest bedroom, so I can tell her to mosey up to SF for any running events up here. With this and a possible sit-down dinner in the works, I feel like I'm starting to work on that grown-up thing. Looking at yoga intros doesn't hurt. I already stretch when I get out of bed, right? (Yes, that's highly flippant.)
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My father has never heard of Celine Dion.

"Celine Dion?", I said, over blueberry pancakes and all natural pomegranate juice. "Celine 'My Heart Will Go On' Dion? 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now'? Queen of the '80s and '90s power ballad?"

Now dad's accusing me of making him look like a blithering idiot on the internet. He is pulling up a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young documentary on the HD as an example of "real music". Apparently, liking CSNY is proof you are not an idiot. This would be a lot more convincing if he weren't reminiscing about what he got up to when he saw CSNY in '74; also if I hadn't seen people try to use Coldplay and the Decemberists as evidence against the same charges. Bless you, dad: 30 years is the only thing separating you from the hipsters.

Next up: double-chocolate cookies in the oven. Dad and I agree the recipe is suspect, but that's okay: I know where to find a triple-ginger cookie recipe for backup desert.
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I got out of work on time today. I still haven't recovered from the shock. However, Chinese buffet with dad and Second Wife helped a lot.

It's good to see dad, and it's great to veg out and mooch delicious food (tomorrow may be Experiments With Baking day), but I am mildly creeped out because there are no bookcases in the house. I finished one book on the metro, so I am down to a collection of best fantasy short stories of 2006. And the internet, of course. Send help. Send nonfiction. Send my bookcases. I go home Saturday to my to-do list.

To those who celebrate, have a happy Christmas Eve, and a merry Christmas. Everyone else, enjoy your Friday.
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Me: "Alaska State Troopers"?
Dad: Uh-huh.
Me: You're kidding me.
Dad: Ha ha, no.
Me: It's not a parody?
Dad: Nope.
Me: Not "Reno 9-1-1, Alaska Edition"?
Dad: I think it's pie time.

Apparently, pie includes brown sugar ice cream.
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Happy American Thanksgiving! For the rest of you, have a nice Thursday evening. Today I am grateful for dads who cook. Tonight I am noodling on Perl For Bioinformatics and generating about 20 lines of error message with a single extra backslash. Troubleshooting is hilarious, especially when pecan pie is on tap.
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What could possibly be more beautiful than driving down freeway 80 at sunset, clouds piling and breaking against San Francisco's hills and a lemon-yellow sky? Only driving back up the 80 toward those same hills, black against black, sodium-lit streets climbing toward the heavens, with your sister demanding "Life in Technicolor" for a soundtrack. This vacation thing is awesome.

Mulligan!

Jan. 29th, 2009 06:32 pm
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This week has seen: unresolved laptop issues, the email about my cousin's little girl's brain surgery on Monday (she's fine - okay, as fine as post-op gets), the latest cultural appropriation round (what's the escalation from trainwreck?), snow, Wednesday's icepocalypse, cancelled evening class, and continued laptop troubleshooting, and Thursday's impromptu 1.5 hour work meeting on What's Changed Since Our Last Meeting (Lots). Also, I left my mp3 player at home. It was sorely missed.

Tomorrow is payday, with 2008 bonus money, and it's also the WSFA Fifth Friday party, which I volunteered to host. By taking the low road (bedroom as storage room), most of the house is mostly presentable, which leaves only food prep and nervous collapse from pre-entertainment nerves. Next time I do something like this, I'm exploring the merits of semi-potluck.

Fortunately, tomorrow is payday, and I get to see people I like, and in a stroke of genius, I foresaw the brewing Steelers Fans Versus Everyone Else conflict and took Superbowl Monday off. I'm debating the value of 1.) going to the free afternoon at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2.) finding someone with TiVo to watch the ads with, 3.) investing some metro time and seeing college people on Sunday. Or combining all of the above, whatever. The point is, it will be a restful three day weekend, except for that part where I have to start studying for class.

If anyone needs directions to Fifth Friday and doesn't have them, comment or email. The ase at livejournal address is broken: use the yahoo address.
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Merry Christmas! M. and I made Christmas dinner, and sat down with my dad and Second Wife to eat it: pork with lime marinade; steamed carrots and green beans with rosemary; sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmellows; gingerbread piping hot from the oven with vanilla soy ice cream. I did the pork, M. stepped up for sides and dessert. Everyone seemed to enjoy dinner, so we didn't muff anything too badly. And M. and I got to do the high-five of "serving a holiday meal to parents".

Pork notes:
Had ground-up spices, so mixed the spice mix cold in a sandwich bag; 3/4 cup lime juice is about 5 limes; used 14 cloves of garlic, not 12; about half a cup lime mojo left over from marinade. Marinade too oily? Next time more limes? Bought 4 lb pork loin instead of 3 1/2 called for: extend cooking time by ~1/8th to match? 30 minutes at 450 resulted in smoking meat, so either less browning time or lower temps the entire time on the next try.

I am out of olive oil. Word from the wise: eggs with margarine are kind of gross.

Happy end-of-December wishes to everyone: eat well and sleep in unless you have to work tomorrow.
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1.) Traditional pecan pie. Day three. (Yum!)
2.) Traditional post-dinner setup: TV on, dad passing out, me with laptop.
2a.) Second Wife's dogs making a fuss.

By the way, if anyone knows how to dope five Shelties into not barking (without, you know, Second Wife noticing all of her dogs are higher than a kite), I am all ears.
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1.) Why am I a bit manic when I sober up?
2.) Dad, why do you keep totalling cars before I can inherit them?

Sadly, these two questions (to the best of my knowledge) do not impinge on each other. Dad keeps getting in accidents while driving 6, 8, ten year old cars whose repair costs exceed their blue book value.

My Friday plans cancelled on me (sick; I may take my revenge by pressing flowers and cards upon the unwell!) so in a fit of fiscal weakness, I agreed to work overtime on Friday. I would say, "what was I thinking", but I know what I was thinking: time and a half times eight hours equals money.

This is my week so far:

Monday: rain. Dumplings with J at China Bistro, followed by House rerun and tea.
Tuesday morning of multiple shenanigans. Please tell me I left my debit card at the doctor's and not the restaurant.
Tuesday evening unwinding with K and G; Rock Band for the Wii is pretty cool.

Tomorrow I get to do 2 loads of laundry, pack for Thanksgiving, put in a full day at work, haul myself and my stuff to dad's, and make nice with the step-family until Friday morning, when I toddle off with a boombox for a nice, peaceful, empty lab. Delicious overtime!

But right now I'm going to crash, before I fall asleep in front of the PC.
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Dear diary,

Today I took public transit to the Dupont Circle farmer's market. Phooey on single tracking! Then I ducked into Kramerbooks - ew, too many people - and sat in the Circle with Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. After that I shopped at Whole Foods and Ann Taylor Loft, completing my yuppie tic-tac-toe for Sunday. Next weekend I will go to kitschy church bazaars in search of the quaint and funky. Pictures to follow!


Unfortunately, every single word of this is true. Except the "kitschy", "quaint" and "funky". Also, I nearly threw Little Brother across the train car. I was restrained mostly by the presence of 40 or 50 people who probably would have objected to flying books and high-volume objections to Doctorow's politics while stuck deep underground between stations. (See also "single tracking and WMATA fail".) So don't read about evil!DHS when the red line's single-tracking.




This week has been momentous and all, but recent events made me terrifically homesick for college, where the local booze laws made it a lot easier to get amaretto for your hot chocolate. Instead of getting buzzed on almond-flavored stuff, I learned a bit about county liquor licensing: snack-shop with beer is fine, but the "hard" intoxicants are only available via county stores. And oh, if your real objective is to make election-watching bearable? Butterscotch schnapps is an acceptable addition to your hot chocolate.

Now let's get past comparing election results, and move on to being all centrist and stuff. I think the red/blue Republican/Democrat hawk/dove etc dichotomies emphasized in the media have obscured a huge middle ground of people who are sort of purple-opinioned and middle of the road in other ways. That big happy middle is who I really hope will be well-served now and always by the electoral process.

This is also the week I'm trying to get my Thanksgiving/Christmas plans in order: I think it's dad's for turkey, and my roommate and I may have my family over for Dec. 25th dinner. She's not going home this year, and dad still hasn't seen my new place. Christmas is as good an excuse as any.
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SATUDAY MORNING: To really stupid rumors (mightygodking) I bring really basic medical stats. Nail Palin on her political record; if she is raising her grandchild for her daughter, I really don't care that much. (I am waiting with bated breath for some Palin political scandal, because hi, Alaska: home of corruption worthy of the Mayors Daley; stooping to personal attacks makes me ask for people to stop being on my side.) Sunday ETA: huh. Just - what Scalzi said.

SUNDAY EVENING: Did an overnight trip to dad's. Dad just got back from looking at houses in Tucson; he and Second Wife made an offer on a short-sale. Second Wife was doing nothing I wanted any part of, so I didn't see much of her or her dogs. Or the horsies. (If you ever need to be convinced of the fundamental stupidity of a horse, try loading it into a horse trailer. If you ever need evidence of my willingness to judge you by your hobbies, watch my reaction to you trying to move your horse.) So I let dad use me as an excuse to try an Indian restaurant - so much pain there - saw the house-shopping pics, and dad's kitchen garden - why aren't the store cucumbers this snazzy? Why? - we chilled with soccer on HD, and eventually I took the hour and a half back home on car, bus and metro, loaded up with foodie things dad dumped on me.

TODAY: Cooking. Grocery runs. Baking. Food prep. My oven is running hot. Not on, cookie-making machine! Go over-fry my chicken, or something else I only marginally care about!

FOR MANY, MANY DAYS: book log. Er, July's. Watch this space for a special July/August book log double edition!

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