Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend and Thesis Progress

My weekend was blah. I didn't feel like I got very much done which is never a good thing and Sunday was just a bad day. You know how some days are just urgh? It's not like anything particularly bad happened it's just that it wasn't a particularly good day. On the plus side, we finally had our secret santa gift exchange! I gave someone a shaker (which he said he wanted) and I got a small, pink, fluffy cute thing (I'm not really sure how to describe it).

Image from google images

Its going to be the thesisaurus! And hopefully make me feel less bad about my thesis because its so cute.

Anyway, on the thesis front things are ok.

I achieved most of my goals from last week:

Talk to my advisor about my thesis (I haven't actually talked to him about the actual written thing I need to hand in yet) - DONE
Come up with an overview plan (chapter titles) with my advisor/get them approved by him - not really done, but I think I know what I'm doing here
Run through my first draft of my first chapter and at least get something fully written (at the moment there are some blank spots that I need to fill in) - didn't really get this done
Write one more (compound) chapter - DONE

My goals for next week:
Review two chapters I've written (intro and first compound chapter -CoTa. Get at least one of them to the point where I can send them to my advisor)
Write two more compound chapters (NiTa and NiNb)

I really need to get going on things. I have:
63 days
1534 hours
92042 minutes
5522500 seconds

I also have a friend from high school visiting next week (yay!) and my aunt, cousin and grandmother visiting at the end of next week. That means I'm not going to have too much time next week to work on it, so I really need to be productive this week!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Boring Friday

My Friday was incredibly boring. I had one class this morning (Chemistry) and unintentionally spent the rest of the day in lab. I had a meeting to test the electronic properties of one of my compounds from 1-3, and I was planning to take the rest of the afternoon off, get to the gym and relax a little. Instead, I spent the rest of the afternoon (till 6) in lab... fun fun! On the plus side I was pretty productive, which was a good thing. I'm also going into lab tomorrow to take things out of the furnace :(.

Tomorrow also needs to be a super duper productive for thesis writing. Fingers crossed for that too (I want to get a chapter written tomorrow :S).

[I think this might have been the most boring blog post in the world. Sorry about that!]

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Classes and Vagina Monologues

Rivers belong where they can ramble,
Eagles belong where they can fly,
I've got to be where my spirit can run free,
Gotta find my corner of the sky

Every man has his daydream
Every man has his goal
People like the way dreams have of sticking to the soul

~Corner of the Sky lyrics from the musical Pippin

I still haven't chosen my classes for this semester, which is a source of some stress at the moment. I'm torn between wanting to take a great class that I'm going to love every minute of (I haven't found one that I feel this way about though) and one that's going to be easy enough that I have time to spend on my thesis (which I have a very very love-hate relationship with at the moment). I'm currently considering
  • Music vs. Words (English/Music): I was beyond excited about this class, but the first two lectures have been okay and then terrible (the terrible one was poetry analysis. So epically not my kind of thing).)
  • History of Science (History): I'm majoring in science, and so far this class has been okay. The professor is good but not outstanding and there are weekly reading responses and responses to other people's responses, which will make the class a little more difficult/time consuming.
  • Art of Structure (Civil Engineering): seems like an interesting class and has great reviews. It's basically about form and function of buildings (which I am sort of interested in).
I'm leaning towards the civil engineering course, but I'm going to go to one or two more lectures for each one.

I went to BodyPump today, which was awesome. I love it! I went with one of my friends though, and she really didn't love it. We're not super close (I know it sounds mean but she's a huge social climber and cares about the quantity rather than quality of friendships, which I can't stand). She's also a little (probably 20lbs) overweight and never goes to the gym. I don't know why she disliked the class so much (other than that it was hard...she's normally a 2mph biker at the gym?! I don't get that, I love hard gym classes!). I suspect that her reaction might have had something to do with her realization that I am much, much stronger than her/that she's in incredibly bad shape. (Which, to me, is obvious. It was super tough for me at first to start going to the gym regularly, and even now if I'm lazy and miss a week it's a little tough to get back into the habit.)

I achieved one of my thesis goals today: I talked to my advisor! And it was way less terrible than expected. I wasn't able to show him a plan with chapter titles, but I know what he's expecting now and I also have someone else's old thesis which I'm meant to be (stylistically) following. He's also happy to read chapter drafts (up until 2 weeks before its due), which is a good thing. I'm not going to bother him with chapter titles, but I still want to have a proper list of it all by the end of this week.
The one bad thing was that apparently I have to stick to the 5 page max rule for the intro, so I'm going to have to scrap almost all of my existing work :(. (But, I am much more comfortable with the material now, which is obviously a good thing!).

[This is bit is a bit TMI. And I'm also a straight, non-feminist female, which colours my view here a bit]
I went to see The Vagina Monologues this evening. I thought I was going to really enjoy it and....I didn't. I know I'm a bit of a prude, but some parts of it were a bit uncomfortable (which is of course the exact opposite of the goal of it). I disliked being encourage to shout "c*nt" in one of the skits (I get what they're trying to do, but still...) and I also didn't like the portrayal of men so much. I felt that in a lot of it men were portrayed as "bad" and for many women they're an integral part of the sex/learning about their bodies.
Another thing that was probably a bit more in keeping with the goal was the whole orgasm thing. For whatever reason I haven't yet, and I felt like a lot of the skits were a bit focussed on it. Obviously it's an important part of everything (and I'm working on getting there), but I think it's also important to remember that that's not the only good thing about sex (that said I would really like to be able to).

Anyway, that all got a bit heavy at the end! Overall my day was good! (And I remembered how much I loved Pippin today :D)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


So, I realised that I talk about lab on my blog a lot and I've never put up any pictures of it. So, I thought I'd put up a few pictures so you guys know where I spend half my life! I was there this afternoon and super late tonight (till past midnight :( ). I have a super annoying 10 hour reaction that I have to run, so I end up going in late and night and then early again the next morning.

Anyway, onto pictures!

X Ray machine with my compound x-raying. We use x ray diffraction to work out what we've just made!
Furnace room. (We make all our samples by cooking them...shake and bake chemistry!)

The furnace I'm using! (We do have some fun in lab with naming the furnaces!)
Photograph of lab as a whole

My super messy lab bench (complete with the huge white column down the middle and cupboard below that won't close)
Lab coats. So attractive! Blue/grey is such an unattractive colour on me.

My "fake" notebook. I have a proper (red) lab book, but I also have this one for some unknown reason.

The desk I work at (complete with computer, phone, tea!)

The BANE of my life. I don't use this blowtorch any more, but it was the thing that made me dread going into lab last year.

In other news I got my economics grade - A-. I'm pleased with it (I would have loved an A), but I'm pleased that I got an A range grade (instead of the B+ I was worried about).

PS I have my meeting my my lab professor tomorrow (at 3). I'm super nervous about it, so wish me luck!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Internet-less Adventures

I know the title to this post sounds strange but...the internet at my college stopped working from 11am - ~8pm tonight. At first I was a little freaked am I meant to survive without twitter/facebook/wikipedia/email/Friends episodes??, but after a few hours I realised that it was actually wonderful!

It's so rare that I get to be "disconnected" from the world. It happens a little at home (mostly because my UK phone doesn't receive emails), but now that I have internet in my room there it's so easy to just go on my computer.

It was relaxing not constantly getting bombarded with emails and feeling like I needed to be online working on things (but actually most likely procrastinating). And, one of the best parts of it was that no-one else had internet, so the rest of the world wasn't expecting me to be emailing them back etc. I certainly wouldn't like to never have internet/email, but it was sort of nice to be free from it for a few hours today.

In other news:

My first day of classes was fine (although there was a bit of upset when I realised that I'd started my last ever Chemistry class. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but the entire focus of my academic life for the last 12ish years has been science/Chemistry and it's sad and a bit scary to be coming to the end of that). I still haven't decided what my second class is going to be (I have to take a Chemistry class and my thesis counts as two classes, so I just need one more). I went to one today on Words and Song Lyrics that seems interesting but I'm worried that it might end up being a lot of poetry/lyrical analysis, which isn't really my thing.

I emailed my thesis advisor and set up a meeting for Thursday. I also started going through my introduction and added a new section to it (which is important, it's about how and why magnetism even exists).
My thesis is due in:
71 days (giving myself 5 days for binding at the end)
=~10 weeks = 1704 hours = 102,240 minutes = 6,134,400 seconds

I drunk a lot a lot of tea today. Which is a good thing. But also possibly a bad thing. I felt exhausted after my two hours of class today so took a looong nap (not good...I think I might be anaemic. I barely eat red meat at school and my multivitamin doesn't contain iron. Anyway, I've changed (temporarily) to one that does and I'm making a conscious effort to eat iron-rich foods - eggs, chickpeas, spinach etc). When I woke up from that I had a killer headache, which the boyfriend suggested might be from an electrolyte imbalance from drinking so much tea. Anyway, I put salt on my dinner (which I rarely do) and I'm going to stay aware of that and try to increase my salt intake, which should hopefully help.

I have a clear day tomorrow, which really means a whole day to work on my thesis. My plan is to spend the morning in my room, plowing on with the introduction (I also need to read the full thesis guide and come up with an outline/list of compounds before my Thursday meeting, so if I finish the first run through with the intro I'll move onto that). I'm planning to spend the afternoon in lab doing whatever I need to do there (and if there's not much to do there I'll go back to what I was doing in the morning! Or start writing my chapter for this week...)

How would you spend a few hours if your internet temporarily stopped working?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thesis Progress and Mung Bean Hummus

Good news: I finished the first draft of my first chapter of my thesis, which was my goal for this week! I may try to take a quick look through it before bed, but at least I've achieved my goal for this week! My goals for next week are:

Talk to my advisor about my thesis (I haven't actually talked to him about the actual written thing I need to hand in yet)
Come up with an overview plan (chapter titles) with my advisor/get them approved by him
Run through my first draft of my first chapter and at least get something fully written (at the moment there are some blank spots that I need to fill in)
Write one more (compound) chapter

My day has been verrrrry boring - really just writing my thesis. The major highlight was: Mung Bean Hummus!

I have loads of mung beans (and I'm trying to use things up/clear up my room) and I wanted to see if I could make a healthier version of hummus.

I used:

Mung Beans


Lemon juice


Canola oil (we didn't have any olive oil)

I mixed everything up with our blender. It turned out like:

(My old camera is terrible! Everything keeps coming out blurry :( )

It was pretty good. A little "thick", I think next time I'm going to put in more lemon juice (and more garlic - I love garlic in my food!)

In other big semester starts tomorrow!! I'm excited, sad (my last semester) and also nervous. I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'm sure I'm miles behind everyone else...

But I just found a new (photo) website that I really like: Piccsy. It has loads of cool, artsy photos (that I could never in a million years take). Some of my favourites:


☪In the Silences☪

rainbow escalator

Las siestas y tu.
(So true for me! I love naps)

PS As I said, none of these are mine. All credit to the photographers - they're amazing!

A new challenge...

Well, I got back to school fine and all but forgot one very important thing: my camera! I must have left it at my grandmother's house and I'm so bummed that I won't be able to share the gazillion pictures I took over the last few days. Luckily I have my old one at school, so once that's charged up I'll use that until I next go to my grandmothers.

(I did see an ad I really liked on the train back to school though, and snapped a picture on my phone:

It's really hard to read it (I was at the other end of the carriage and my phone has terrible photo resolution anyway), but it says:
"The loudmouth next to you would sound better with a British accent")

When I was with my grandmother we went to Whole Foods and I bought a bunch of snack-y stuff for school with the intention of a) making trail mix and b) having some dessert-like-things-that-aren't-dessert for lent (ie dried fruit). I'm glad I got all the food, but I realised when I got back to school that I have so much...stuff. Everywhere. I'm on a meal plan at school but I still have a box practically big enough for me to fit in full of food (under my bed). I have enough tea to last for about 3 years (I have 3 boxes with 60 tea bags each plus about 16 boxes (I'm not kidding) each with 20 tea bags plus a bunch of loose tea). I have enough protein powder for 6ish months (I'll be back to see my grandmother in 6 weeks). I have about 12 pairs of trousers (okay, 14, I just counted). I must have at least 15 pairs of shoes. Urgh. SO MUCH STUFF!

Anyway, I've always been a bit of a hoarder and there's no where near my college where I can buy "proper" food (it's all fast food places) (and I'm paranoid about running out of snacks)...but I barely eat the snacks I have (I snack...a lot, but mostly on the junk food/sweets I end up buying). I found a bag of pecans that went off in 2009 (luckily they were still fine) and I have things I'm sure I've had since freshman/first year. I'm graduating at the end of this year and I'd really like to not have to cart all this food etc to law school (I'm also really really bad at throwing stuff that's still "good" away).

So...for this month I'm challenging myself not to buy anything/spend money (other than essentials...things I need for school (notebooks and textbooks), "medicine" (the NuvaRing and the things my dermatologist has prescribed) and social events that I really can't get out of (I already promised to go to a Superbowl party this weekend at someone's house and we're getting those parents a small gift which I obviously need to contribute to). Anyway, in a weird way I'm looking forward to it! (And I'm also looking forward to working my way through all the food and tea I have here, in healthy moderation of course!) I'll let you all know how I get on!

February Goals

Thesis - I stopped tracking how many pages I've read, but I must be at around 30. I'm still working on the background section, but should have it done by the end of tomorrow.

Food - I got what I needed to make up the trail mix and made it up. Hopefully I'll have some pictures tomorrow, but it contains: cereal, granola, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt covered cranberries, crystalized ginger. I might also add some goldenberries or chocolate covered goji berries when the arrive!

Exercise - I didn't get a chance to hit the gym today, but I did go on my first run since my ankle injury yesterday, which was great! I'm a bit sore from it now though (which I can't believe).

Sleep - I slept through almost the whole of last night which is good for me! And no naps today so hopefully I'll sleep tonight.

Skin - yada yada, following her recommendations and not changing what I'm doing.

Resolutions - I wore my back support for the first time this month today! Yay!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Life Goals

So, the topic for my blog today is kind of a big idea.

Remember my boyfriend got that A- that he was so happy about? Well, he got an email today telling him that there'd been a mathematical error and he'd actually only gotten a B+. (Needless to say he was really upset yada yada, but in the end it was all resolved and they ended up changing it back to an A-, yay!). During my attempts to cheer him up we started talking about our goals for our lives over the next ten years, and we each choose three important things. Mine were...

1. To be graduate from law school successfully and get a good job in a related field.

2. To remain healthy, slim and strong.

3. To be in a happy, successful relationship (hopefully married and hopefully to my incredible boyfriend).

I also read a slightly morbid article called "How the Top Five Regrets of the Dying Can Aid the Living":

1.“I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

3. “I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.”

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

My thoughts:

1. I try to do this and one of my goals of this blog is to use it to reflect on what is important to me.

2. Haha, if only. That said, over the last year and a half I have tried to redress my work-life balance. I've tried to exercise more, I've made more time for my friends and the boyfriend and I are trying to make time for regular date-nights.

3. I try to do this. In some ways, I'm great at doing this. I'm good at telling my boyfriend and some other people how I feel. But, I do want to try to speak up a bit more about certain things (little things, like changing meeting times and locations). Often if you ask for things, you get them and generally there isn't much of a downside.

4. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. I do still stay in touch with one of my closest friends from high school (Kirst), but I'm not too close with most of the rest of them though. In part it's because I'm doing such different things from most of them (most of them are working now because their degrees were only three years. Mine's 4 and then I'm doing another 3 of law school).

5. I'm not sure I get this one? I don't try to restrict myself from being happy at all and I'm always on the lookout for more ways of making myself happy.

Well, that's all from me! Tomorrow you'll get lots of photos from my Connecticut trip!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm still at my grandmother's house, which is super nice. It's so relaxing, which is great.

Things I've done today...

Sleep, a lot. I don't know why I've been so tired (maybe because I haven't been sleeping well at school), but I took two realllly long naps today. I hope I'm going to sleep well tonight :S. Hopefully I can get back on a more reasonable sleeping schedule. I'm also thinking that I might try to get on more of an early to sleep early to wake up kind of schedule when I get back to school. What is everyone else's preferred sleep schedule?

Went to the dermatologist. As I said yesterday, I'm still not delighted with how my skin's looking with all the hyperpigmentation but the dermatologist seemed confident that they'll fade in a few months. She wants me to keep doing what I've been doing (duac in the morning, atralin once a week at night) and come back in six months. Hopefully, things will start to clear up soon.

Thesis...I at least started on my goal for this week. I wrote about 2.5 pages of the introduction and I'm going to spend time tomorrow thinking about what else to put in the introduction. At least I'm getting going on it!

I didn't get a chance to go to the gym today, or really do any exercise, but my eating was generally pretty good. I had salmon with onions and tomatoes for dinner which was super yummy! I also had sweet potato, which was so good. I haven't had it in a while and I really missed it :(

PS I'm really bummed - I bought my camera to Connecticut with me, but I didn't bring the cord so I can't upload all the photos I've taken. I promise lots of photos on Saturday or Sunday when I get back to school though!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Recap

January was an interesting month, with lots of highs and lows.

The Highs....

Exams and Grades

This was basically a month of exams, but at least I'm done now. I'm still waiting on one more grade (Econ), but my others were good, and I was really pleased with them. There's been a bit of stress because my boyfriends grades weren't as good as he was hoping they'd be (as always). He's a bit of a perfectionist and he's also not great at taking exams. Plus his writing style isn't...exactly the clearest. Anyway, it's been a bit stressful trying to make him feel better about that.


I'm not sure if this should be a high or low. It's a low in that I'm miles way from finishing (so so far).'s a high in that I've at least started and I've come up with a plan to set weekly goals for myself.

And the Lows...


My eating's far from great this month. I seriously seriously need to work on eating less sugar. In a really weird way I'm looking forward to lent when I'm giving up dessert because then I'll have a big incentive not to eat sugar.

On the plus side the boyfriend and I got to cook a lot during the last week, and we made a bunch of really yummy dinners including shrimp, tomato sauce and pasta, chili con carne and rice and pork with apple sauce and pasta. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take pictures because my camera was out of battery :(.


I haven't gotten in anywhere near as much exercise as I'd like over the last month. I did get in some great weights workouts at the end of the month because I went with my boyfriend.

Goals For Next Month

Set weekly goals
Feb 1-5: Write the background section and read 30 pages
Feb 6-12: Talk to my advisor, come up with an overview plan, [other things...]
Get a new sub-project (a few new compounds in the series I've already been working on)
Spend 2 days/week working in lab (probably Tuesday and Thursday)

Lent is starting during February, so I'll be giving up desserts when that starts.
Two of my closest female friends have a pact to only eat dessert once a week starting at the beginning of next semester, so I'm going to start off doing that with them.
Trail mix - I'm going to make up some "healthy" (as healthy as it can be) trail mix. I'm going to put in cereal, pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds, golden berries, chocolate covered goji berries, yoghurt covered cranberries and some nuts. Does anyone have any other suggestions for what to put in?

I'd like to get a regular exercise routine organized. I'm going to try to get one set up with my friends, because I'm far more likely to go when I'm going with others. I'd like to get a mix of cardio (~twice a week) and weights (~twice a week) and maybe pilates once a week.

I'd like to try to sort out what's happened to my sleep schedule. I want to try to make whatever changes I need to make so that I'm not tired during the day and feeling like I could nod off at any moment.

My skin is looking at bit better, but still not anywhere near as good as I want it to be. The main problem now is the darkened pigmentation on my chin, which kinda looks like scars. I'm going to the dermatologist tomorrow, so one of my goals for this month is to follow whatever advice she gives me to reduce the pigmentation.

I've looked back at my resolutions for this month and I've haven't done too much on them. I'd like to continue working on my posture (with my back support - 30 minutes/day, working up to an hour or so/day), improving my clothes choices (I'm going to try to take photographs of my outfits twice a week) and epilating (more than I've been doing).