Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Cat's Best Friend

Originally uploaded by mnkgrl

Here is Pass with his true love, the radiator. He loves to turn his head over so he can cook his brains better. That pipe in the corner also conveys heat, and his other favorite thing to do is put his head between the heating pipe and the wall to cook his head. He often skips lunch because of this important head cooking.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Originally uploaded by mnkgrl

R and I didn't do too much for Easter. We did have a breakfast feast of fake sausage, blueberry pancakes and fried eggs. Later in the day (after I worked on my diss some) we went for a walk in the park. It was beautiful and sunny and lots of people were out. You can see more pictures on my flickr page.


22. Single Wife by Nina Solomon
I randomly picked this book up at the library the other day. It is a strange book. It follows a woman whose husband tends to disappear for days on end. This time, he leaves for longer than ever, and the wife keeps up a charade that he is around, apparently convincing most of her family and friends. There is stuff about independence and marriage, and how much of yourself you give up in a partnership. I ended up enjoying the book, but I felt like it held me at arm's length a bit, and I am not sure I know exactly what went on. It was an interesting read, though. I have thought about it a lot since I read it, so that must mean something.

23. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
This is a really really powerful book. It is a series of letters by a woman who is the mother of a boy who perpetrated a Columbine-like school shooting. It is a really engrossing and disturbing book. I thought it was really brave and interesting, but am hesitant to recommend it as it is very disturbing and deals with such difficult subject matter. I also found Shriver's writing style overblown from time to time. This is the main problem I had with her book, The Post-Birthday World, which I did not like. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a much better book than The Post-Birthday World.

24. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
I really enjoyed this book, about all the different things that can happen to you after you're dead. I thought Roach had just the right tone in dealing with the subject matter, a little irreverent, yet respectful at the same time. This book would be a quick read, except that I could not read it while eating which is when I do most of my leisure reading. It is really not graphic, and I am not a squeamish person (ask anyone who's had to hear me talk about monkey poop at dinner), but I still couldn't quite stomach reading this over lunch. So this is a good book, but you might want to approach it cautiously if you are easily grossed out and have an active imagination.

25. Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan
I just read this book through and did not do the cure. That said, I liked the accessibility of this book and that it made me feel I could still make my place nice even though I am poor and rent a small apartment. It also inspired me to clean, take better care of my plant, and to try to live more purposefully in my next apartment (it is too late for this one and we're moving this summer anyway).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


What dog breed are you? I'm a Labrador Retriever! Find out at


So R and I are going to move this summer. We are sad about leaving NYC, and would've liked more time here, but maybe we will return one day. We don't know where we are moving yet, as it is based on R's schooling (that's right, he's being schooled!). A decision will be made by April 15 though.

Anyway, what I am most looking forward to on this next move is that we will likely be there for a multitude of years. This depends somewhat on me being able to get a job in the area, so lots of knocking on wood, etc. But R will be going into a long program, so at least he will be in that for many years. I have been feeling a little unsettled, frustrated and disgruntled lately. I realized a lot of it is due to the kind of impermanence of my life. Like I am a student, but I am over that. I am ready to not be a student. Very often lately, I have been thinking of things I would like to do and then say to myself, "not until after I graduate." So now I have a list of a zillion things to do after I graduate, and no sure date on when that is. Although it will come one day! I don't like to live my life in the future like this. Usually, I am pretty good at living in the present, but my present of analyzing data and writing writing writing is not fun for me. I am trying to do a little more of the stuff on my after graduation list, but also since realizing what was at the root of my dissatisfaction, I feel better about it.

Friday, March 14, 2008


19. Why Mermaids Sing by CS Harris
Mom, this is a mystery! It is set in 1800's England and I quite enjoyed it, so much so that I am going to get the earlier two books in the series from the library. Basically, Sebastian St. Cyr is a nobleman and former spy who gets involved in helping a magistrate figure out who is killing young men around London. I am not sure anyone could have really figured out who did it, due to the clues in the book, but I never figure out who did it anyway so I don't mind. I really liked the historical setting and it was a fun read.

20. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a year of food life by Barbara Kingsolver
Another book about eating locally. I loooove Barbara Kingsolver, and in a lot of ways this book was really interesting and inspiring. In some ways, though, it was also preachy and impossible for regular people to emulate. For a year, Kingsolver and her family plan to eat only food they grow themselves or that is grown in their immediate area. They are able to do this partially because they live on a farm in Virginia. I love Kingsolver's writings, and her descriptions of what they grow and the meals they make are really lovely. This book did re-energize my desire to go to the farmer's market more and eat more local food, and think about how many resources went into getting my bananas here from Hawaii or Central America, and if it was really worth it. However, I would have liked a few more real solutions for people who live places with a shorter growing season AND in urban areas without even enough sun for a window box.

21. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I think this is technically a Young Adult novel. It is about a kind of awkward boy, with some social issues who finds his way into a group of older friends at his high school. It is a kind of coming of age book, very honest and real, I thought. Highly recommended.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

why does the internet hate my dissertation?

So for three days now, whenever I get on to the Web of Science (database of science-y articles) and search for anything about predation, the internet freezes. This happens at home, and at two different libraries at Columbia. Why do you hate my dissertation, internets?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


While technically correct, isn't it funny to describe non-ovulating female baboons as "impregnable"?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Yarn loving peeps,
I am now on Ravelry. You can find me by entering the url of this blog.

It is going to re-inspire my crocheting!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


15. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
I'm glad I read this classic of science fiction, but I am not sure I can say I really enjoyed it. Basically, a scientist (in the field of psychological history) in the far future predicts the downfall of this huge empire that is running everything. He also figures out how to lessen the "dark ages" between this fall and the rise of a new empire, so he set up a foundation to keep scientific knowledge alive and to carry out this plan of lessening this time between empires. It is an interesting idea, but as a social scientist I am skeptical of the idea that the future is so predictable, and would like to have heard more about that. Also, I am struck by how much, although these are set in the far future, you can still see how much the time period in which they were written -- the 1940's and 1950's -- informs them. Also, there are no women at all anywhere in this book.

16. Hack by Melissa Plaut
This is the true story of a woman who doesn't really know what to do with her life, so on her 29th birthday she starts driving a cab in NYC. It is super interesting to get kind of an insider's view of what being a cabbie is like, and there are some really interesting stories here. The writer had a blog first, and the book is written in a more informal, bloggy writing style which I didn't always like, but it was an interesting book overall.

17. Choice edited by Karen Bender
This is one of the most powerful books I have read in awhile. It is a collection of essays by various women about different reproductive choices. It was so honest, and striking how many women did not have choices about how/when to have children or not. It was really amazing, and I think is helpful in moving the abortion debate past yes/no and seeing the real people's lives ALL reproductive choices impact. Very good book.

18. Radio On by Sarah Vowell
In this book, Sarah Vowell, a regular contributor to This American Life, listens to the radio for a year and records what she hears, and what it makes her think about. Vowell did this project in 1995, and it is funny how dated some of it seems now. Anyway, this was an interesting book, unlike anything else I have ever read. Sometimes I thought I wouldn't really like Vowell, but it was kind of nice to meander through someone's thoughts as related to the radio for awhile. It did make me want to listen to music more.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Me today

OK, this is how I feel today. But I can't stop for a little dumb. I'm off to grade midterms, then I think I'll do a little data analysis.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Everything's coming up roses

Well, that title might be a little too cheery, but lately I've felt like everything is falling into place for me. On Tuesday I went to the place I teach early and just sat there in my little cube working all morning/early afternoon, surrounding by the voices of economists. While I was working I literally felt a kind of click, and it was like everything in my dissertation just came together and made sense and was awesome. Seriously. And I started really enjoying working on it. It was so strange. Since then, my serious procrastination issues have departed, and I have been able to get a lot of writing hours in. In fact, here it is Saturday and I am at the library. I got here a little after 11:00 and have been here for nearly 7 hours. woo! Go me! Yay woohoo!

Also this week I've gotten back into my running and this morning I ran two eight minute runs. Monday is the first 20 minute run, which is a little scary, but I haven't actually struggled to finish any of my runs in a while. It is more I feel kinda tired and want to stop, but I'm not gasping for air or feeling like my legs are going to fall off or anything, which is how I have felt during running in the past. I've also been doing other exercises like pushups and stuff on two days a week when I am not running. So that is cool. Maybe I can fit back into two of my pairs of pants soon so I don't need to go shopping.