Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Back to school

Well, it's my second day back at school. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time convincing myself I'm not still on spring break. :} I've been to almost all of my classes (I have one more this evening), and they all feel like they'll be pretty fun, so that's good. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about my soccer class. I was looking forward to learning how to play soccer - rules, skills, that sort of thing - and we're not getting any of that. It's just kicking the ball around, having fun and getting exercise, and the only rules are things like no high balls and you can only touch the ball three times before passing. That would be fine if everybody were on pretty much the same level, but a number of people in the class have played soccer for a long time, and there's a core group that apparently takes this class every quarter, so it's a little intimidating. I got totally worn out in the first 15 minutes yesterday, and realized that I may be in pretty good shape for some things, like yoga, but that doesn't mean I'm in good shape for soccer! So we'll see how that goes in the next week or so.

I picked up my final project paper for my archaeology class yesterday - the one I was worried about because I didn't have time to proofread it.... I got 100%!! I was astounded, but very happy. My professor wanted me to enter the project into the Student Research Symposium, but unfortunately the deadline for abstracts was yesterday, so it's a little late. That and I have class all day on the day of the symposium, so I wouldn't even be able to be there to present my poster, so it would be kind of silly. But it was gratifying to have her ask.

The rest of my spring break that I haven't written about was pretty low-key, but nice. I saw Diarios de Motocicleta on Friday - an excellent movie, and good practice for my Spanish. Sunday I drove down to Salem for Easter dinner with Jim and Siri Kirpal. It was lovely to see them again, and I came home with jars of jam and pickles and 23 new CDs of family slides and photos! Hooray for Jim, who has been hard at work archiving all of our wonderful family material.

Time to head to class now, and then after class I have a meeting for my naturalist training class - we have a field trip this weekend where we get to learn to track animals and make bird calls and all sorts of fun things. Goody goody. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Visits and Adventures

Well, I am thoroughly enjoying my spring vacation so far. I drove down to Corvallis on Monday to spend the day with DeMara. We went to thrift stores, ate sushi (well, I did), and watched chick flicks. It was a very fun, girly time. Happy Birthday, DeMara! I came back on Tuesday and spent a completely indulgent afternoon in Powells. It's so easy to get absorbed in the books and lose all track of time -- I was astonished to leave the store and find that it was dark outside, and that I'd been there for almost 5 hours! And enjoyed every minute of it. I do love that bookstore. :)

Yesterday my friend Paul and I drove to the coast and went for a hike out to the end of Cape Lookout, a 2-mile spit of land sticking out into the ocean that's a popular spot for whale watching. It was a lovely little hike through the woods -- with lots of detours to inspect cool trees and side-trails, of course -- and we did get to see several gray whales. They were really close to the cliff, and we were about 430 feet up, so we were pretty much looking straight down on them, and could often follow them underwater by their silhouettes. It was very neat. After that hike we went to the main Cape Lookout State Park and wandered along the beach for a while skipping sand dollars. I got to practice my shellfish taxonomy, and taught Paul the genus names of several shells that I learned in my faunal analysis class last quarter -- it's so neat to be able to actually use what I learn! We each found a comlete sand dollar to take home, and followed Paul's rule of taking one piece of trash for every shell or cool thing taken from the beach. It was really hard to find trash, though, since there have been major beach cleanup projects this last week! But that's a good thing. :) The weather was extremely cooperative yesterday as well -- it only ever rained when we were in the car, and always stopped conveniently when we got out. :) All in all, it was a very fun day. I came home to find Anne and Ameena dyeing Easter eggs, but was too tired to participate -- they're serious about their Easter eggs. :)

I don't have too much more planned for the break. A walk with Hugo tomorrow morning, watching "Motorcycle Diaries" tomorrow night, dinner with Jim and Siri Kirpal on Easter, and finishing my taxes at some point. But there's plenty of time in there for more fun adventures, so you never know!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Happy Equinox!

Portland is deciding to ring in the spring with a blustery, rainy day – finally! We’ve had the driest winter in a long time, and everybody is worried about drought. It’s been grey and drizzly the last couple of days, but it’s finally doing some real raining today, so I’m happy about that. Of course, I’m hoping the weather will be a bit nicer tomorrow morning for my drive down to Corvallis – I’m going to visit DeMara! I was going to go to Salem first to have lunch with Jim and Siri Kirpal, but their water heater broke yesterday and leaked all over their basement, so tomorrow is going to be occupied in getting it replaced – not the ideal day for a lunch guest. So I’m heading down to Corvallis early to hit some thrift shops and catch up with DeMara and celebrate her birthday. Fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2005


I just handed in my final paper for my archaeology class, so I'm all done for the quarter! Hooray! I'm a little worried, because I was so crunched for time at the end that I didn't actually have time to proofread the whole thing before printing it off and turning it in. But I tend to do most of my editing as I go along, so I'm hoping it's okay. :P And now I have a glorious week-and-almost-a-half to celebrate springtime and freedom from classes! I'm going to read good books, do lots of yoga, go hiking in beautiful places, and probably take my showers in the locker room at school most of the time, because Anne is going to start ripping out the shower at home this weekend to fix a leak. It's kind of a bummer, since I'll have to come to school when I wouldn't normally, but I think I'll use it as a motivation to get out my bathing suit and use the pool a few times while I'm there.

In other happy news, my hair is now long enough to tuck behind my ears and stay there! I'm so excited, I'm going to get it cut over spring break. :) Not a whole lot, though, and not the part that's tucked behind my ears -- just a trim to the back, which is getting rather shaggy.

Happy almost-spring!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Cows and Curry and Contras, Oh My!

What a lovely weekend I had with Graham last weekend. It was a short visit, but very fun. I showed him around PSU and took him into the archaeology lab where I spend most of my time these days working on my final shell project and memorizing bones. It was fun to show all the bones and shells and things to a new person -- Graham was especially fascinated by the cow pelvis, which I pointed out made a great mask -- if you can get over the idea that you're putting your head inside a cow's pelvis. :) We wandered around downtown for a while, took a stroll by the river, and had an altogetherly lovely time. On Saturday afternoon we went to New Seasons for their curry tasting, and tried some delicious (and some very spicy!) curries. I love New Seasons -- they have a different tasting every weekend, and if you time it right you can make a meal out of it. :) The megaband contra dance was highly enjoyable on Saturday night; I have somehow managed to miss this particular annual dance each time it has occurred since I've lived here, so it was fun to finally go. Graham and I had a couple of wonderful waltzes -- I hogged him for both the waltzes, but they were really fun, so I don't think he minded. On Sunday we walked our tired feet to the Farmer's Market and tasted our way through all the produce stands, which is always a treat. Then we went to the Dollar Shoppe (a high-class establishment, not to be confused with the Dollar Store or the Dollar Tree) because Graham had heard so much about it. And then he had to go home. :( All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and I'm not even feeling too terribly behind in my work. Of course, I've still got a couple days of hard slogging ahead of me, but I think I've got most of the data problems figured out now, and I just have to work on writing it up. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 12, 2005


In case you couldn't tell, Graham has been helping me give my blog a makeover. What do you think? It's still something of a work in progress, but it's fun to make some changes. Hooray! Now we're going to go eat lunch at New Seasons -- they're having a curry tasting this afternoon, so we should be able to fill up pretty well. Yum! :)

Friday, March 11, 2005

No More Sleep Debt!

I think I've finally paid off a sleep debt I didn't know I had. I've been sleeping about 9 hours a night for the past two months or so, and up until this last week was still waking up tired (though I did automatically wake up at the same time every morning -- but conditioning is different). But this week I've been waking up about 15-20 minutes before my alarm, even when I get to bed up to an hour later than usual, so I think I've finally paid off my sleep debt. I think the theory now is that, if I keep going to bed at the same time every night, I'll start waking up at a more natural time when my body has had enough sleep, and I can use that to figure out what my ideal sleep requirements are. I never actually took the Sleep and Dreams class at Stanford, but I did keep a sleep journal one quarter, and I seem to remember that's how it works. Anyway, it's good to be caught up and waking up refreshed.

I've also enjoyed my morning exercise. I've established a fairly good routine of doing at least half an hour of stretching, yoga, or working out, or a combination of two or three, every morning before breakfast. It helps me wake up, warm up, and feel good about starting the day. It feels really good when I can get an hour in, with maybe a jog on the weekends, but I'm pretty happy with what I can get on any given morning. I'm also intending to ride my bike to school more often, but that seems a little more difficult to actually motivate myself to do. Plus, I like the walk to the bus stop. :)

The weather has been extremely summery here -- beautiful and sunny and hot! It's kind of hard to believe it's still early March, and not June. It's supposed to cool down a bit this weekend, but we should still have lovely weather for Graham's visit. Hooray for brothers coming to visit! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

One down...

My first (and only real) final exam is done! Hooray! It was actually pretty easy -- he had given us 5 essay questions to prepare for (we only had to write on one of them) and he gave us our choice of all five, so everybody got to pick the one they were most comfortable with. Much nicer than the midterm, where he didn't give us a choice. So that was pretty easy, and best of all, that class is over! Now I can concentrate on my shell project. I have a feeling my project report will be a tad longer than the required 8 pages... maybe more like 15. We'll see. My professor said she thought my project would be a good candidate for presenting at the Student Research Symposium next quarter, where students (undergrads and grads) present their ongoing or completed research projects in poster form for the campus and general community. I thought that was nice, but I'm not sure if I'll do it or not. Again, we'll see.

I celebrated my finished final with a two-hour lunch in the sunshine with my friend Cate, which was highly enjoyable. She's headed to Costa Rica for spring break with her "Geology of Costa Rica" class, so we were talking about Costa Rica a lot. It was fun to recall some of the fun adventures I had there with Graham and Quena -- what a lovely trip that was.

Anyway, I've been in the lab ever since lunch time, so it's time to go home, and do some more work there! :} Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Garden Archaeology

No, I have not been performing excavations in the backyard. But I think I have found what I want to do this summer. I’ve been debating about the relative merits of continuing full-time school during the summer term and getting a job and actually making some money this summer. I was heavily leaning toward the latter, but then I was reminded about the archaeology field school at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. It’s a 40 hour/week fieldwork class at Fort Vancouver, and this year they’re excavating the gardens – how cool is that? I had thought about doing it last summer, but they were working on the powder magazine, which was completely uninteresting to me. But it would be cool to do archaeology in an old garden site. The flyer says: “Excavations will search for remnants of the garden well, garden paths and beds, and collect samples for analysis of plant remains.” Fun!

Another cool thing about the field school is that it would fulfill all of my remaining anthropology elective requirements – 12 credits of upper-division electives. After the summer I would only have one more required anthro class to take! (That’s not to say I’d graduate immediately, since I still have some University Studies classes to take care of, and there are other interesting classes I want to take.) That would be very cool indeed. And they’re cheap credits, too – somehow the tuition is lower than regular tuition, which is great. Of course, there would be extra costs for transportation, but I’m sure people set up carpools, and it’s just over the river, so it shouldn’t be too bad. And it would only take the first six weeks of summer (starting the Tuesday after spring finals), so I’d still have nearly two months at the end of the summer to try to get some paid employment in.

I have a final tomorrow morning (thank goodness that class will finally be over!), and then I get to concentrate on the final project for my faunal class. It seems like every time I go in to my professor’s office hours with a question I come out with more things to think about and more things I want to include in my report. It’s kind of frustrating because it feels like it’s never going to end, but it’s good stuff to think about, and it’s a good kind of challenge. But I get a break from working on that when Graham comes up to visit this weekend – hooray! Let’s hope this beautiful weather holds up for just a few more days. :)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Happy Days

It all started when I happened upon a four-leafed clover on my way to the bus stop yesterday morning. I was just walking along in the sunshine, looking at all the lovely life growing on the side of the road, and there it was, peeking out at me from the middle of a great big bunch of ordinary clovers. I love the wonderful little things in life that surprise you by popping out when you least expect them. And that was only the first thing that “made my day” yesterday – I got back a homework assignment with a grade of 98/100, and I did really well on the second-to-last bone quiz in my faunal analysis class. I think I’ve finally got the radius and ulna! :P

Today has been a wonderful day as well, by all accounts. No four-leafed clover this morning, but I didn’t need one. I got back another assignment and found I’d gotten an A+! I guess it sometimes helps to choose your professor’s theory to analyze a case study. :P After class I met my friend Paul for lunch, and we spent a glorious hour and a half talking and basking in the sunshine on the roof of the Urban Studies building – a spot that fortunately remains relatively undiscovered so far. It was such a lovely afternoon that neither of us wanted to go back inside and face the work that was waiting for us, so we had a rather long lunch, but it was highly enjoyable and very worth it. I did get a couple of hours’ work in on my final project for my faunal analysis class (read: I spent two hours identifying itsy bitsy shell fragments) before the First Thursday archaeology talk. These talks are usually very interesting and informative, but this one was basically just a slideshow of cool photos – in 3-D! We got to sit in a dark room with those dorky 3-D glasses on and watch a 3-D slideshow of archaeology photos. It was very cool. My favorite picture was one in which there were seagulls flying around in the foreground and background – that looked so neat in 3-D!

Anyway, I’ve had a fabulous couple of days. And all of this following a wonderful weekend with Mom – what a lucky girl I am. : )