Friday, March 26, 2010

Moving Back to North America

My committee members have agreed on a date for a dissertation defense! At least, it looks that way at the moment. It may well change, since it’s for the end of June, which is a long way away. But how exciting! A dissertation defense date! Scary. I’m guessing that I’m halfway through my last chapter, what with the amount of rewriting I usually have to do. Not bad, eh? And I found an online bookstore that gives educational pricing of software, so I was able to buy the bibliography software that I really really really need.

Yesterday I sent off the Introduction of my latest manuscript to my sister and to a couple friends for editing. It’s time to call in the troops to help me finish this insanity. Hooray! As for what to do when I’m done, I think I’ll talk to some profs at UBC about possible projects, postdoc or other something. Hopefully I’ll find something I can do part-time that’s fun. First priority, though, is getting the dissertation finalized, which will take some time after the defense, I imagine. And taking care of TM – we have to find a school and all that. Then there’s another paper from some of our ex-postdoc’s data that needs to be written. So I probably have enough work to last me for another year or so before I start getting really antsy. And then there’s a really old dataset from my BS that could be written up…

TM and I are ensconced in the Mojave desert, in my parents’ old trailer, where they lived while they were building their desert house. The heating works, thank goodness, and the water pump also works, hooray. It also has lights, and a stove and microwave if I wanted, which I don’t, since we eat in the house. It’s great to have a quiet place to work in the morning while waiting for TM to wake up, and to retire to in the evening when it’s TM’s bedtime. And spring in the desert is fun – the plants are starting to wake up. Of course the little tufty grass, whatever it is, has already come up, and I hate it, since I assume it’s not native and it looks like a fire hazard (I could be wrong). I look forward to seeing more natives peeping up soon.

Kit is doing well. It took him about a week to start eating regularly, and 2wks to start eating normally. Part of the trouble was finding a cat litter he liked. Now he happily guards the trailer during the day, when we’re at the house, and he alternately sleeps and jumps on our pillows during the night.

The movers are in India, packing up our apt. Q and his mom are managing that horrifying mess, and aren’t I simply thrilled that I’m not there! Yes indeed. I’m thrilled. Since TM’s twin cousin comes over every day (same age), they both play and keep each other occupied while I wrestle with data and writing. If I didn’t have TM’s cousin, I don’t know what I’d do. Actually, yes I do, I would be playing with and entertaining a 4-yr old all day instead of working half of that time. Thank heaven for many blessings.

Oh – I forgot – my little AT&T GoPhone won’t call India. Lucky me. I feel really bad for not keeping in touch with my friends over there! I’m going to make an extra effort to try to set up skype so I can at least call them (no video, long latency times with our internet connection here). If I weren’t so busy with work and TM and family, I’d really miss them a lot.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

moving to Canada via LA

March 3, 2010, and it’s time to really start packing. I’m taking TM and KitKat to LA to stay with my folks while Q packs and moves our stuff from Bangalore to Canada. Of course we have packers, thank goodness, he doesn’t actually have to pack. But it’ll be a lot easier without little people around. It’ll be fun to stay with the folks for awhile. Hopefully only a few weeks, ‘cause TM and I will really be missing Q. It’s gonna be really cold for KitKat… I hope he does okay. He’ll just have to snuggle, I guess. Not really a snuggle-able cat, actually kinda prickly, but hey.

We had to get all kinds of papers for KitKat – thank goodness the movers handled most of it. Bought a kennel that’s big enough to include a little box with some cat litter, and we’ll just check him in as baggage on our flights. Going through Singapore. Got the last load of laundry done yesterday…today I’ll pack. TM’s still going to school, ‘cause what else would she do while Mommy’s slightly insane? Fingers are crossed for an easy trip. I signed TM up for child’s meals, and hopefully she likes them. But I asked for no dairy… we’ll see how that goes. If she gets some sausages, she’ll probably be thrilled.

No dairy – I mentioned that in my last email… no dairy and no soy for TM. She hasn’t needed medication for asthma since I stopped. It’s been 6 weeks – next week will make a record for time-without-bronchodilators! I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but it seems promising. It’s wonderful to have a kid who isn’t sick one out of four weeks. It may be closely related to reflux... on that assumption, I tried her with feta cheese and cream cheese, and she doesn’t complain of stomach ache. Usually if she eats cheese or milk (like in our neighbor’s lasagna the other day), she soon complains of a stomach ache. The lasagna was wonderful, by the way. Anyway, cream cheese (ridiculously expensive here) and feta cheese (also ridiculous) don’t seem to affect her. Nice. Still, she doesn’t get enough calcium in her diet, and I keep forgetting to give her tums. So I’m looking forward to living in the land of almond milk and rice milk and calcium-supplemented orange juice (which of course if it’s reflux, she can’t drink much, but some seems okay).

As for work, ha ha ha, one of my committee memebers pointed out that FST is very closely related to diversity, and it’s confounding my results. So now I’m calculating a new similarity-type index, that’s not so confounded by diversity. The problem is, though the authors have a web interface, they won’t batch-produce a population pairwise comparison matrix. So I’ve been plugging in 2 pops at a time. I have about 300 comparisons to do, and it’s taking a loooong time. Been getting up around 5-6am and doing some work prior to the moving madness that happens in daytime.

Speaking of moving madness again, oh yeesh, I promised my neighbor to show her basic sewing. Yikes. We need to make a bag and a simple cape. Oh dear. Hopefully we can get that done today! But I have to go to the doctor, too… oh bother. Well, I’ll hope.

Oh – I taught a Young Women’s lesson on Sunday, and it was really funny. We were supposed to be discussing being peacemakers, and getting a discussion going in that class can be a little difficult. So I put down the manual and said that we were going to learn how to punch. Heh heh heh. So I spent some time showing them a good punch and having some of them practice, and also showed them a single hand hold from jiu-jitsu. So much fun. Ha ha ha. During a peacemaker class. Ha ha ha. Oops. Well, I told them that if they really understood how they were hurting someone, they wouldn’t do it. Because people are basically compassionate. At least, that was my premise. Heh.

I think I’ll go get some of those analyses done before TM gets up. Or maybe I’ll start some bread in the breadmaker.