Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Hopefully my students (who have an assignment due at midnight) won't run into trouble and wonder why I'm not answering my e-mail.
Sleep: only seven and a half hours until I can sleep.
Okay, rant over, time to do final class prep...
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
There has been a peculiar sequence of signs in the window of this house near where I live. I'd love to know the story behind them. The one I made up in my head involves the real owner being absent for some reason, and someone else (family? con artists?) swooping in and trying to sell it out from under him. The house had been ramshackle for quite a while. Recently there were rapid renovations, like the house was being flipped. Then a "For Sale" sign went up. Not too long later, it came down, and the signs started appearing. "No Trespassing". "No more renovations." "Home is NOT for sale BY OWNER." "I do not know XXX." Printouts of property title information. *Fascinating.* (I wish I had taken photos of some of the kookier signs.)
It may be nothing more exciting than the new owner being a recluse, and taking those flyers that real estate agents are always sending around the wrong way. (And that the "I don't know XXX" sign had to do with him still getting the former owner's mail.)
Rug Hooking WIP
I'm getting closer to done. I'll need to order more of each colour, though. (Yes, I'm putting the loops too close together, but I don't want to pull everything out, and I didn't want to change density half way through either. This is a "learning experience.") I have six strips of the tweed left.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Compliments are really nice... especially after my disaster of a term the first time I taught several years ago, and how I'm being swallowed by work this term. (Yep, another late night again tonight, and the pile of dishes is once again towering. *sigh*)
(Uh, yeah... I'm catching up on some of my pre-Christmas "Found on Flickr" posts I've been saving. I'm getting just enough time between students to post the occasional one, but not concentrate on other work that needs doing.)
Student: "There were computers with only DOS?"
Student: "Why would you buy a computer with only DOS?"
Me: "That's all there was. DOS existed for a long time before Windows."
Student: "People should get degrees for using DOS! It's so hard!"
I didn't tell him about the punch card days. A time of computers before keyboards and monitors... that would really blow his mind.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Knitting Instructions on Punch Cards
I'm just full of chuckles today! Flipping through a knitting book my friend gave me (it used to belong to her mother), I found knitting instructions copied out on punch cards. (Jacquard would be proud!) The woman has good taste, too... those are stitch patterns from Barbara Walker's "A Treasury of Knitting".
My brother and I also found many uses for punch cards as a kid. We would draw on them, staple a bunch together to make note pads...
What sort of "not the intended purpose" things did you do with punch cards?
I can see leashing a child around busy roads or in a store... but our neighbourhood is pretty quiet. I found the sight amusing, for some reason.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I'll find out in a few minutes how it tastes. (I suspect it's just fine, although perhaps a bit denser than usual.)
Rug Hooking Progress
La, la, la, la... what marking?
(This is where I've spent my sanity time this past week.)
Note: It appears I'm a strip and a half short of the cream, and I am *completely* out of the black, without even starting the outermost border. For the cream I suspect I just packed my stitches closer together than I was supposed to... but I suspect a miscalculation to be that much too short for the black. :( I'm going to check out ordering a few more strips once I've done the rest.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This morning I woke up to snow. I think my first thought upon happening to glance out the window was something incoherent like "did someone paint all the trim white overnight?" I then changed that thought to the joke "who spilled the white-out?"
In addition to creating assignments, I need to wash dishes tonight... I've used my regular dishes, and am nearly through my back-up dishes. I'm also on my last clean water bottle, and it's one that does weird things to my mouth because it's metal. I probably won't wash everything, just enough to get me through a few more days. (Time spent washing dishes is time not spent working on impending deadline work tasks or sleep.)
Please, I need to sleep! :(
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The stars aligned, and I finally started the rug hooking kit I bought a year or two ago. (Previously, I either didn't know where my stretcher frame was, or felt guilty about starting a new project before something else was finished. Tonight I knew where the stretcher frame was, and didn't care about how many projects I have ongoing.)
Observation: Rug hooking is just as fun and addictive as I thought it would be. This will be a trivet for me, but I'd like to make more trivets, etc, for the family cabin. :)
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
If I can't connect at all after rebooting, this will be bad for my ability to make progress on my marking pile... but will result in more sleep. (I'm conflicted about which option I hope happens...)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Basically I painted in some of the green... poppy buds, stems, and a leaf. I also wiped off some of the chalk to see how it looks, and touched up some of the brown lines where I didn't leave enough.
I'm hoping to get this done in time for the art show.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Baked chocolate chip banana nut muffins, putting the rest of the nuts and buttermilk in the freezer before they spoiled. (Yay for not wasting food! I'm such a slacker...) I even started the muffins before the dishes, so everything except the muffin tins made it into the wash... and the muffin tins could have, but I was pooped with washing dishes by the time the muffins had cooled.
Baked bread to replace what had been in the freezer so long it was freezer-burned. (I *will* make hummus so that I can actually eat this batch.) The bread dishes (except for the bread pan) made it into the wash too.
Cleaned silver spoons and silver necklaces, using the magic "aluminum foil, baking soda, and boiling water" method. It's an awesome method. I tried with hot tap water at first, but it didn't work nearly as well as the boiling water, even after leaving it sit while I had a shower.
Killed lots of flies, as mentioned previously. You know, reading about venus fly traps, over-feeding isn't a good thing. I suppose three-dozen flies at once probably would be too much? Until I find a place to buy a venus fly trap, it's a bit of a moot point, anyway. (And if I bought a sundew too, it would only be one and a half dozen each...)
I don't like squishing bugs... too messy, and requires one kleenex per fly. Instead, I catch them by their wings or legs (they're pretty stupid after waking up from hibernation), pull one wing off, and put them in the toilet for the next time I happen to flush. After putting several dozen in the toilet this morning, though, I flushed without waiting for a call of nature. :P
There's still a bunch buzzing around, but they were hanging out where I couldn't reach them, and I had enough carnage for one morning. So I washed my hands well, and went on to the next task. The remaining murder and mayhem can wait for later.
On a different note, I just had the following WV leaving a comment somewhere else: grabled. I believe that's "garbled" garbled, which is highly appropriate. ;)
Yesterday I went to WW to buy some more Sheeples roving for the thrummed mittens I'm making. I was completely out of the fawn colour, and wasn't going to have enough of any of the colours in the multi-pack in order to complete two mittens, even if I abandoned the striping pattern. I found a multi-pack with enough of most of the colours I was running low on, but it had barely any fawn. I don't think the other packages had any fawn. I guess I'll have to switch striping patterns for the next mitten. :(
I also stopped in at Ram Wools to pet the shop puppy, but, just my luck, the shop puppy wasn't in. I chatted with the employees I know, and petted the yarns instead. There were two or three that almost came home with me in sweater quantities... but I need to finish some of the sweaters I have a home first. I keep saying that, but then buy more yarn anyway. Yesterday I succeeded, but only because two of the three I knew would be there later, and the third required me finding a supply of a coordinating yarn that has been discontinued... I might google and return, though, assuming they still have it in sufficient supply: it was in the clearance section, and marked down to a quite nice price. Depending on how much is left on my next visit, I may buy it anyway... it's pretty, and nice stuff.
I was going to poke my nose in at the thrift store nearby, but it was 5:00, and they're only open until 4:00. (Perhaps I'll make my next trip to Ram Wools earlier in the day.) Instead, I crossed the road and bought myself a few treats at Deluca's. Mmmmm! I found Sage Derby cheese (love it, but rarely find it), and also bought an olive bun for a trip-home snack and some spanakopita for dinner. And a lemon... they're cheaper there than I've seen elsewhere. Looks like their parmesan is a pretty good deal too, but I have enough right now.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
The snow has nearly completely melted from the apartment's front lawn... the tiny bit left is where snow from shovelling was heaped. (Soon the ground will thaw, allowing me to continue digging the flower beds... should my teaching allow me the time.)
Flies have awoken from their hibernation, and are buzzing against the windows. (Or, at night, against lightbulbs.) At the moment I have six in the kitchen window (after killing two already this morning), and I think another two in my office window... although, at the moment, they're in their less-easy-to-spot walking/resting mode.
Does anyone know where in Winnipeg I can buy a venus fly trap and other carnivorous plants? I'd like to make some terrariums, changing the fly nuisance into an amusement. (Move flies from window to terrarium, watch to see what happens...)
Other sign of spring: I'm about half-way through making a pair of thrummed mittens for an elderly neighbour. (Somehow I'm always finishing these in spring, and working on them inevitably creates unusually warm weather.)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Yesterday another pedestrian got splatted in Osborne Village. With traffic at a complete standstill, and me not far from the bridge to downtown, I decided to get off the bus and walk. I happened to notice the Medea Gallery was open as I went past, and I've been meaning to visit there, so I did. :) It was quite nice. I chatted with the artist on duty, who happened to be someone I had met at Art Rocks (I bought several of her glass pieces there). I was very tempted by a small painting and a really cool fridge magnet (made from an old fork that was bent to resemble an insect), but I decided that I had already spent enough money that day.
What did I spend money on? New glasses! I won't actually get them for a bit, since I need to get my eyes checked, and the next opening that didn't conflict with my work wasn't until March 30th, but I picked out the frames with the help of H. Ouch, glasses sure are expensive! Between frames, lenses, choosing the thinner lens option, and the eye exam, it came to over about half what my biweekly paycheques seem to be this term. I'll be able to claim some of it on this year's supplemental spending account, and some more on next year's supplemental spending account, but what is left over after clearing out this year's account will more than wipe out next year's account. I guess I'll be paying my own prescription deductible and dentist appointments. *sigh* They are nice glasses, though, and it's nice being able to have a friend there to help me pick them out. I'm toying with the idea of taking my prescription to one of the discount places to perhaps get some prescription sunglasses, though. (It partially depends on whether my "granny sunglasses" will still fit over my new frames. If they don't, I'll have to get a pair, if they do, it depends on whether I feel like shelling out for prescription sunglasses.)
My current pair of glasses is already three years old, and I still didn't feel like they're "me". Hopefully I'll like my new glasses much better.
Yay! It's lunch time! (Off to spend more money on lunch, because I'm still not organized enough to get it all packed at home. *sigh*)
I had a weird dream last night. In the dream I went down to NC to finish my degree. My parents helped me move down, and I was able to rent a place in the same neighbourhood as before. The department had changed some... it was bigger, grad students only had study carrels in a vast open area instead of shared offices, and there was weird stuff happening with the elevators again. (Weird things tend to happen to the elevators in my dreams.) I found a friend of mine there who, in real life, has moved on, but in the dream was still there as well. She and her husband had a condo nearby, and took me over to see it. On the way over, I kept finding pebbles in my mouth, and was using my finger to sweep around my mouth to get them all out. After spitting out quite a number, I discovered that the pebbles were actually my teeth breaking up and falling out. My friend gave me a baggie to keep them in, in the hopes that a dentist could fix things. But they kept falling out, and the teeth bits were very thin and brittle... it was like they were just the hard outer coating, and all of the insides had dissolved. I was near toothless by the end of the dream. Other parts of the dream included kids in Halloween costumes (on the way to the condo, and then at the condo), very poorly carpeted stairs at the condo (the carpet was basically not tacked down), and a very bizarre bathroom in the condo whose water pipes started spraying everywhere. Due to the problem with my teeth, I was staying with my friends at the condo, and trying to see if I could cancel my lease so I could go back home... my dental coverage hadn't started yet in the US.
I could use a nap right about now.
Monday, March 08, 2010
Here's crossing my fingers that I don't break my install completely. :P
I've got eight minutes to kill while I wait for the current install to finish, so here's some rambling about what I want, and what I've done so far.
First I upgraded TeXShop... twice. (My version was old enough that it took two upgrades to bring it up to the present day.) However, the question still didn't compile.
H uses TikZ to draw stuff. This appears to be the package that's breaking things. So I installed a newer version of TikZ. TikZ said something about wanting a certain version of xcolor, so that came next. Still no go.
I googled the error message, and it turns out my PDFLaTeX is too old. So I downloaded that. However, it's install instructions really recommended not installing just PDFLaTeX, so I downloaded MacTeX. MacTex is big, so it took a while to download, then a while to expand, and just now a while to install. (I got the boing while typing this paragraph. The install started before I started this post. It's now 3:45 AM.)
Well, I'm off now to see what the install did.
I suppose I should consider myself lucky that I'm still working (at 1:30 am, and plenty more to go) rather than trying to sleep. Frankly? I'd still rather be sleeping, whether actual or attempting.
Whee... back to my exam. (It's hard to judge what to ask on the final given that I haven't gotten their midterm back yet!)
Sunday, March 07, 2010
• Chicken soup.
• Reading three old assignments (to start brainstorming for remaining three assignments for my course).
• Marked part of an assignment. (If I had to estimate... um... maybe 1/3 done? It's hard to tell, because I've marked 2/4 questions on all assignments, plus started the next question, but those first two were short questions to mark.)
Why did I have to get sick now?!? If only I hadn't spent that time napping...
To do Sunday (bare minimum):
• Finish marking assignment.
• Create final exam.
Also needs doing ASAP:
• Mark another assignment.
• Create three assignments for one course (one is overdue... I want to get all three out so students can be flexible with choosing when to do them, since they're going to be cramped into the end of term).
• Create one assignment for other course.
• Prep for Monday's class.
• Wash dishes.
Will be added to to-do list soon:
• Mark exercise.
• Mark midterm.
• Create midterm for other course.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Do you suppose a rapid onset will mean a quick cold and a rapid recovery? I sure hope so!
Good thing I'm making chicken soup. :P
Cast of characters:
(Extras to be introduced later.)
Rinse, peel, toss together:
(mushrooms will come later), add water to cover, and wait:
I *think* the heavenly scent has already started, but my sinuses aren't cooperating.
Speaking of which, update on the humidity situation:
Last night I got a small towel (ie not a bath sheet) sopping wet, and hung it from my extra shower curtain rod over the centre of the tub that I use for drip-drying certain items. Then I boiled a pot of pasta. After dinner, I rinsed the pasta pot, filled it with clean water, and set it to a low boil until it went down by an inch. (After turning it off, I moved the steaming pot to my bedroom, to get some steam there.)
I can't remember if it was 24% or 28% humidity that I got the levels up to... however, this morning it's back down to 20% (pre-shower). The sopping wet towel is bone dry. I'm off to have my shower now, and will re-wet the towel then (in addition to rain-washing the two houseplants... it will be *quite* cramped in there!)
I had a brief period of clear-breathing last night, about an hour after taking a decongestant. Since then, it's been pretty much all mouth breathing. *sigh* I think spring allergy season is once again upon us. (And it's looking like my NC-allergy-overload-induced resistance is wearing off.) I guess I need to close that last window all the way. :(
Poor little rubber tree. Between the dry air and my slacker watering, the leaves were incredibly brittle. I cracked a number of them, and even accidentally broke off three. :( Hang in there, little rubber tree!
My hibiscus and ficus are also looking on the dusty side, but since the hibiscus has quite bumpy leaves, and the ficus has a lot (and both are small enough to fit), I'm going to let them share my morning shower, to allow a "fake rain" to clean them off:
The question is, will *I* fit too? I'm about to find out.
Friday, March 05, 2010
One more hour before I can go home, and then at least an hour to get home...
(PS: Click through to get biggy view. It's worth it.)
Lately it's been 23 C in my apartment, even with two windows open. I propped my kitchen window open with a cork, and my bedroom window open with a pen. They're on opposite sides of the apartment, so I figured I'd get a cross-draft that would cool the apartment. (If it is cooling the apartment, which I believe it is, I'd hate to see the temperature with the windows closed!)
However, with the windows open, the apartment air has gotten *really* dry. My digital thermometer in the hall was reading 20% last night, and it's affecting my throat. Even though the outside air is damp from the melting snow, once that air is heated up to 23 C, the humidity plummets.
To combat the dry air, last night I closed the kitchen window, and lowered my bedroom window to cork level. I then opened just the inner pane on every single window except the bathroom, in an attempt to prevent over-heating. I then watered all my (drooping) plants, boiled a kettle in my bedroom for a few minutes, and half filled my tub with the hottest water the tap would produce. The thermometer still read 20% humidity, although it increased to 25% after my extended shower this morning.
This morning, in addition to my irritated throat, I also woke up with wicked head congestion. (Is it all the dry air's fault, or am I coming down with something too?)
To try to ease my throat, I've been sucking on spoonfuls of honey, and drinking lemon-ginger tea with honey. I even sucked on a sore throat lozenge last night, although I don't *think* it's viral/bacterial.
Last time I called my landlord, he suggested trying the adjustment levers on the registers (I hadn't, because I had found them useless before), and said that my caretaker has been having trouble keeping warm since his stroke last fall. He said to call back if using the levers didn't help, but I don't really want my caretaker to be cold.
I think tonight for dinner I should boil some pasta and steam some broccoli (assuming the broccoli I bought two weeks ago hasn't gone gross). If I'm lucky, perhaps I'll manage to find time to mop my apartment floors this weekend. If anyone else has suggestions, I'm all ears. :P
Monday, March 01, 2010
Poppies in progress
Yay for getting to go painting tonight! Yay for poppies! Yay for what's looking like it will be an awesome painting when its done! (To me, at least, which is what counts, of course!)
I'd like to finish it in time for the spring art show... that depends, of course, on how killer the term is with teaching, etc. But I think I can manage it. Maybe.