Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Like a normal adult... or something

So, I've been doing some thinking. Maybe it's time I tried treating this "grad school" thing like a job. 9-5 style. If I'm efficient I believe it'll give me enough time to get everything done (and if not, of course, adjustments will be made). I think most of my problem is lack of sustained focus, and telling myself I can just do it later. (Who doesn't face these challenges?)

Anyway for this coming semester, I am intending to try something new to me. I know other people have suggested it before (not least of all over at ProfHacker), but this are the guidelines I've drawn up for myself in a very rough draft.

I'm posting them here because some of you might find it interesting, but moreover, I want feedback-- what am I missing? Tips? Tricks? Thoughts?

Graduate School as a 9-5 Job

  • Get to the library no later than 9 or 9:15 every morning, or early morning classes on time.
  • Bring lunch almost every day. Now we have a fridge in Gilman. Bring water bottle/coffee mug. Good for the budget too. (I just bought the cutest bento box...)
  • Leave the library no later than 5 or 5:15.
  • Develop a system and stick to it to manage procrastination and off-task noodling.
  • Keep a comprehensive to-do list. Use springpad, add deadlines.
  • Keep a calendar.
  • Schedule in some break times.
  • Keep a timesheet? (Spreadsheet?)
  • Find a good place to work.
  • Keep tabs on work efficiently, Take notes.
  • Add readings and research materials to Zotero ASAP.
  • Find out which classes have papers and try to get them in/started before leaving at the end of the term.
  • Make sure notes will be helpful when you review them two years later (ahem).
  • turn off distractions while working. limit them to break time or evenings/weekends.

  • Keep netflix subscription. Actually watch things.
  • eat and cook real food
  • sleep on schedule and enough
  • have real weekends
  • go to New Haven, enjoy when AJ visits
  • watch football
  • papers done on time!?!
  • form good habits for comps/abd
  • drink with dinner!
Now your turn please. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


So, since the project 365 ended, I've been relishing the freedom to not have to photograph and blog about every single day, especially with days as boring as I've been having recently. But at least for the moment, I'd like to blog about a few changes I made in my every day routine recently.

After reading this article by a friend from school, I decided to check out my household products here: I did not like what I found. The lack of regulations or labeling requirements on these products is perplexing. If I get to know what I eat, why can't I know what I put on my underarms every day? Or what I clean my kitchen counter with? Want to know more? Look here.

So, I decided it was time to experiment a little bit.

  • I've also gone "no 'poo", which I think sounds gross but it really isn't. I've been washing my hair just as much, but now with baking soda and water instead of shampoo that's full of untested chemicals, many of which are endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, carcinogens, or reproductive inhibitors. Scary stuff. 
  • For the same reasons, I decided to see what I could do about my deodorant. My old antiperspirants are full of aluminum, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, among other chemicals which do other un-fun things. So I am currently using a powder of 1 part baking soda to 6 parts cornstarch which has been working pretty well, and I'm going to experiment making my own stick deodorant with coconut oil. 
  • The plan is once I run out of my "organic" soap*, to switch to handmade soaps which use natural ingredients like olive oil instead of chemicals.
  • I've been using more vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice as household cleaners, and I've vowed not to buy any more normal bleaches or chemical cleaners. 
Now, this isn't just about being "green" or "organic" or "hippie" or anything else. It's a combination of not wanting to get myself exposed to more risk factors than I have to be, not wanting to contribute to the huge amount of processing and plastics that go into (and out of) these products, and even saving a little money by spending a minute or two more doing these things myself. Plus, when I can, I can keep putting money into the local economy, if say, I splurged on a bar of local handmade soap at the farmer's market. 

I'm also not going to give up on some things. I like laundry detergent, for example. But can I choose more efficient laundry detergent, which works well in cold water and comes in a recycled bottle? When I can, I will. 

Anyway, I thought I'd share those thoughts with you. Doing something similar? Think I'm right? Think I'm wrong? Want to know how it's going? Let me know! 

*Because of the lack of regulation for personal care products, companies are allowed to use words like "organic" and "natural" without actually meeting any standards for the product or labeling the package with the ingredients inside. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Project 365: Day 365

Hard to believe this is it!! What a year. I'm really glad I took so many photos (at least when I had a camera to take them...) I managed to preserve a lot of memories and good times, mixed in with a bunch of average life and some snapshots of random things in my environment.
There was sometimes a mentality of "oh! I'll save that for later, I already got my photo for today." I never quite managed to shake that, though I did try, after a few times the earlier photo wasn't as good, or as clear as I'd hoped it would be. I've learned to carry my camera with me at all time (Be Prepared, as I learned in Girl Scouts), which has been great. I've managed to get a lot of impromptu things, and capture snapshots that wouldn't exist otherwise.
I also hope I've entertained you this year-and-some with my photos. I never claimed to be a professional or artistic photographer, and thanks for enduring my blurry, shaky, poorly composed, or outright boring work.  I think I did get a bit better with photos this year, though the improvement could have been greater.
As for the future, I think I'll keep blogging when and if I feel like it. Don't go away, keep me in your blog feeds or whatever, but I'm not going to promise another year's worth of posts!

The large pit right next to the NES study room, complete with very noisy machines, lots of dirt, and hot humid sweltering air. Perfect environment for trying to get papers written!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Project 365: Day 363

Picking the perfect plum.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Project 365: Day 362

For best effect, open each photo in a new tab to see the whole thing.

The view of "Pickett's Charge", one of the most famous parts of the battle of Gettysburg. Looking at this vista, you can really get a sense for the scale of the Civil War, as well as the multitude of moments when the observer looking back can't say anything but "Dear God, why?"

The view from Little Round Top.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Project 365: Day 361

The huntress lies in wait for her prey (me).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Project 365: Day 360

Oh look! It's a cat in a bag. :-D

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Project 365: Day 359

They say a photo is worth 1,000 words. This one sure is!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Project 365: Day 358

A scene from clicker training.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Project 365: Day 356

Dr. Cleo will see you now.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Project 365: Day 353

Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day at Wrigley Field! It was awesome, we got to play on the field, run the bases, explore the clubhouse, sit in the dugout and the press box!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Project 365: Day 351

A few of the Coke caps AJ's been brining me from work! Yay!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Project 365: Day 349

Apologies for the blurriness. Hope the amusement makes up for it! We had a very American 4th-- eating a lot of foreign food, shopping, and watching some fireworks from the football stadium.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Project 365: Day 348

AJ went riding. I got this awesome photo of him. Bwahahah.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Project 365: Day 347

Cleocatra likes to sleep with her paw thrown over her face to keep out the light. It's incredibly similar to what AJ does when he falls asleep....

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Project 365: Day 353

Cleocatra adjusting to her new digs. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Project 365: Day 352

Getting ready to adopt!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Project 365: Day 351

And just in case you couldn't tell:

Keep it classy, Baltimore.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Project 365: Day 350

The beautiful old mansion on the grounds of the MDSPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), where I am adopting a kitty!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Project 365: Day 349

We went to AVAM, which was awesome.
Can you find my boyfriend?

And me next to what I consider to be a model of the egg of creation.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Project 365: Day 348

AJ made me pancakes. They were good, even though they were healthy. (AJ made them, I said that already!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Project 365: Day 347

A local car, covered in stickers!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Project 365: Day 346

Gilman looks so pretty now!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Project 365: Day 345

How long does a list of rules in a bathroom need to be? I would posit a whole lot shorter than these; unless you're there for the long-haul, who's going to read them all?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Project 365: Day 344

Watching the Orioles lose to the Marlins.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Project 365: Day 343

It's possible I brought back some... friends... from Egypt. Ugh.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Project 365: Day 340

Workday lunch remnants.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Project 365: Day 339

Our first haul of CSA produce! It was largely greens (spinach, beet greens, kale, chard, lettuce, red lettuce, some other kind of lettuce) and beets and onions. For my first CSA recipe, see my cooking blog!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Project 365: Day 338

I'm going to cheat. Today's photos sucked. So I'm putting up one from tomorrow. Apologies.

Upholstery cleaning: the way to make used furniture rather more palatable!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Project 365: Day 337

mm, homemade baba ganoush! It was good, but it needed a bit of adjustment, so when I figure that out I will post it on the recipe blog.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Project 365: Day 335

We went to Wildlife Safari, an awesome drive-through zoo/safari experience in Oregon near AJ's house.

Bears!!! They were so close to us, and so incredibly cute. I wanted to take one home with me, but AJ said we weren't ready yet. Boo.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Project 365: Day 334

The Riggs clan, assembled for the memorial service of Bonnie Riggs.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Project 365: Day 332

A stormy evening sky over Roseburg.