Monday, August 31, 2009

Weddings suck

After having dealt with barely the tip of the catastrophic iceberg of wedding planning, I have determined that weddings are impossible. Mom says tradition dictates that the wedding should be all about the bride (me). Evan insists that he (groom) is part of the wedding, too, and that his preferences should be taken into consideration. So we must find a way to be married in both Connecticut and New York simultaneously so all parties are appeased. Meanwhile, it turns out that there is no time when we actually can get married. Evan's two-week winter vacation is clogged with holidays and impossibilities, spring break is too short, and then we're into summer already. I don't want to be one of the multitude of summer weddings. Besides, I dislike summer.

To quote myself:
Every five minutes I revert to thinking we should just go do the legal paperwork at the town hall, have a nice lunch, and call it done.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Engaged!

Yesterday, Evan and I went to look at an abandoned cat at the vet where his parents take their pets. We absolutely loved this cat -- friendliest, chillest cat there ever was, loves to be held, playful, and with beautiful markings, to boot! He didn't even make Evan sneeze. So off we went to get cat stuff (food, litter, etc), and returned to the vet to pick up the cat, whom we named Jude. I was thinking maybe Jasper, because I was getting a "J" vibe from him. Evan suggested Jude, since the song Hey Jude has significance to us.

When we were getting our Petco card for discounts and stuff, the application asked Jude's birthday. We counted back 6 months, and decided that he was born on February 22nd, which is our anniversary.

In the car on the way home, Evan said we should probably wait until we got a house to get a second cat, and this ruined his proposal plans. He had been planning to surprise me on some Saturday morning with a new cat with a ring attached to the collar, but that plan was out. I said he could still surprise me with the ring. He complained that the cat didn't have a collar. I said he could tie a piece of string around the cat's neck, and that would be fine with me.

At home, Jude quickly warmed up to us. He slunk around the apartment for a bit, and then chilled under the dining table, but he came out before long and was very affectionate (and I made sure to introduce him to the litter box).

Then Evan shut himself and Jude in the bedroom and wouldn't let me in. I assumed he was trying to get kitty bonding time behind my back, while I cleaned up in the kitchen. After a minute, Evan came out, holding Jude with a red piece of yarn tied around his neck. I thought maybe he was just being cute, since we had already discussed that whole proposal plan and thereby disqualified it. But, sure enough, there was a super-sparkly ring under Jude's chin. "Sarah, will you marry me?" asked Evan. I answered something to the effect of "yes!"



















There followed the usual phone calls and such, but otherwise, things remained quite casual. Evan did his reading for class. I cleaned up the second bedroom for Jonny's arrival and played with Jude. The whole engagement thing hasn't quite sunk in, yet. But I am loving this ring!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cold, ick

I seem to have been the victim of a hit-and-run cold. I felt hunky-dory yesterday morning, but as the day progressed I developed a major sniffle, along with aches, swollen glands, and what I think was a low-grade fever. I left lab early and slept most of the afternoon. Evan was an angel and made me chicken noodle soup. Granted, it was canned, but he still made it for me. :)

Today I'm still somewhat achy, and moderately sniffly, but much more functional, which is good, because I need to generate an experimental design for discussion with my advisors tomorrow. I think I have it pretty much done, but I'll re-visit it later today. And I should finish taking pictures on the microscope. Only four more slides to go. Then I can start getting into the higher magnifications.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm driving to CT for a friend's wedding. I'm looking forward to it. This friend is an organist, so I have high expectations for the service music. On Sunday my mom is paying me to serve as organist at the church she's preaching at. They have one of those ridiculous organs that plays music off a CD, so having an in-person organist will be new for them. The church won't pay me, but Mom feels that it will be worth it. So, cool.

Oh, and I'm very proud of myself. My examination committee has unanimously decided that I passed part I of my qualifying exam with honors.

Monday, August 17, 2009

White Coat

Evan (my love) had his white coat ceremony last Friday morning.
video

I've been knitting like crazy on my new circular improvisational lace shawl. I'm not sure why I'm so addicted to this project. Maybe the size 6 needles feel just right? or the 4% cashmere content is heavenly? or the low stress of not having to stick to someone else's chart? or the fact that I've just recently finished blocking my circular wedding shawl/veil and think it's awesome? or I can't wait to finish this project so I can start another one? or it's still small enough to be portable? Probably all of the above.

To get a cat, or not to get a cat? I definitely want a cat. A rescue cat. Problem: money. The cat itself will cost a fair amount, and the apartment wants a $120 deposit plus another $50 a month. Damn. The temptation is that a friend of my mom's has a new very friendly stray black cat hanging around her house. She cannot adopt this cat because they already own a very aggressive dog. And I'm going home this weekend for my friend's wedding. Such temptation.

Also: to take another job, or not to take another job? The organist position I was vying for last spring has opened up for next year. It's at a catholic church, which is not my specialty, but, my goodness, they have a terrific organ. I also know and like their choir director, and the choir is also quite good. I guess I'll ask for more details about the salary and the regular liturgy, but I'm thinking I might go for it. Then I could afford a cat! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care: my two cents

[I don't mean for my blog to be political, but I've gotta vent on this one.]

I am infuriated by how the health care debates are going. The shameful lies and violent argument tactics employed by those who oppose reform are completely counter-productive, preventing intelligent discourse and transmission of information.

Where does one even begin with such a mess?

I believe that health care reform is needed. Insurance companies are greedy and have been screwing patients over by denying them coverage for pre-existing conditions, or dropping their coverage in case of serious illness. Am I the only one who thinks that these are precisely the situations in which health insurance providers should step up and give support? It appears that health insurance companies are happy to collect people's premiums and promise health care as long as it's unneeded, but the instant people really, really do need medical care, the insurance companies split. How does that make any kind of sense?

I think that Obama's plan is a good one, targeting these and other loopholes insurance companies have abused to dupe the public. Americans will get affordable, reliable health care, especially when they need it, without discrimination or irresponsible price gouging. The really beautiful thing is that this plan is going to kill two birds with one stone. American health care will be improved. And since the current health care system is so expensive and dysfunctional that it's dragging down the entire economy, removing this dead weight will vastly improve the fiscal side of things.

Basically, everyone wins with this plan, except for the insurance companies and people who receive financial support from them. And, my God, these people are making a fuss! How selfish of them. They're perfectly content to live their luxurious lives, even if it means the entire country suffers for their bliss. Further, these gluttons audaciously attempt to convince Americans that maintaining the defective status quo is in their best interest. The most shocking, unfair, and insulting part is that they're succeeding.

The blatant lies these people have spread are appalling. No wonder the administration waited so long before attending to the fallacious statements: they must have felt, as I do, that such ridiculous propaganda could never take hold in the minds of intelligent individuals. Apparently we were wrong. I want to know who started the rumor that the new plan will encourage, nay, require euthanasia for the old and infirm. This plan is supported by AARP. I am quite certain they have read the plan, know what it says, and would never support anything that threatened their population. Then there are the statements that the new plan will bankrupt the country, when it's the current system that is hurting the economy, a situation that reform will remedy. Here's one of the few times I will ever quote Sarah Palin in earnest: "Quit makin' stuff up!" The whole discussion has become a matter of telling truth from fiction, with one side saying "X will happen, and Y will not!" while the other side disagrees: "X will not happen, and Y will!" People will probably agree with speakers they are more familiar with, or whom they find more entertaining, regardless of their reliability. No wonder people are confused. At this point, it seems that in order to get any unbiased facts, people have to go to the primary source, the bill itself, and read the damn thing, which I'm sure is no easy task.

Here I see a failure of the media. I believe that one of their duties is to simplify the complex workings of the government and truthfully and without bias present this information to the public. Major failure in that.

Finally, I am disappointed in the behavior of the American people. A willingness to be sheep, to unthinkingly adhere to the ideology and follow the commands of overtly biased icons, does not become us, especially when this behavior leads to disruptive yelling and violence at meetings that were intended to clarify the matter at hand by simply presenting information and having civil discussion.

Sure, gossip and controversy and hype are fun, but let's leave those things to Hollywood, where the fate of a country does not hang in the balance.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Hampshire, hats and bookmarks, moving

Phew, I'm finally settling back into lab. Last week I was in Squam Lake, New Hampshire with my family and boyfriend, which was a welcome break after my qualifying exam the week before. I suppose my exam went well, though none of my committee members has given me definitive feedback on my answers. Meh. As long as I don't have to do it again, I'm happy.

I suppose a couple pictures are in order.

This is Evan on top of Mt. Rattlesnake on Sunday morning:
As my dad says, Rattlesnake really is the best in terms of the view you get for the amount of climbing you do.


Here is the view from the boat coming back from the Loon Island picnic last Tuesday:

And here's a short video of Jonny (my brother), Nathan (my cousin), and Brooke (a girl who also goes to Squam Lake the same week we do) in the wacky canoe races, demonstrating a rather successful switch:
video

I've resumed crocheting a bit recently, mostly (well, exclusively) making lacy book marks that I suppose I'll have to try to sell, because there are quite a lot of them. And they're pretty! In my knitting, I've been mostly working on hats. I've come to a bit of a standstill on the pi shawl, now that I'm pretty much at the edge. I know I want to include beads and some sort of a pretty border, but choosing which one is difficult.

I'm also trying to psyche myself up for a big push on Etsy. I've been making hats and scarves for months now, waiting to get a little closer to the cooler weather and the holidays before posting them. And I think I'm about there. I also want to publicize a bit, probably by (1) buying one of Etsy's promotion spots for a day, (2) posting fliers, and (3) maybe making promotional bookmarks, which I read about in an article from Etsy. I think that's a great idea, but I'm blanking on a design. I'm thinking card stock rectangles with stamps and a ribbon or tassel. Somehow I want to get information about my shop on there... maybe I'll print up little info blurbs separately and glue them onto the card stock... Yeah, I'm still at the drawing board on this one.

I'm delaying the Etsy push, however, until I'm at least mostly moved in to my new apartment. Well, I should say, Evan's and my apartment. Yes, we're moving in together. Exciting. Over the last couple days I've been coming to the unpleasant realization that I really do have entirely too much stuff. I'm not filtering as I pack, but I plan to keep a Good Will box handy as I unpack. Evan has been an angel, generously using his dwindling vacation time to haul my stuff from my current apartment. I owe him a tremendous back rub at the end of this week.

Oh, and this weekend is the Knit and Crochet Show in Buffalo! Can't wait! I'm taking classes on creative knit/crochet (stash bust!) and improvisational lace knitting, both offered by Myra Wood (what a beautiful name). The problem is that my car needs an oil change, which I would like to get done before I drive back and forth to Buffalo, but that only leaves a couple days.