Friday, January 30, 2009

Easing in

A gentle start to the semester. Settled on what I'm taking, finally, and am having a bit more frenzied running around to try to get my paperwork filed for Special Student status, which means I'd be allowed to take a couple courses at The College rather than only at The Extension School. Which would be nice. Not the end of the world if I don't get approved, either.

It's really nice to have more time at home and not be insanely flat-out. Littlest child has a new fitness toy: a large bouncy ball, which one could use for Pilates I guess. He likes this sort of thing, and needs exercise, so voila. Middle is growing up so fast that it takes me breath away sometimes. Oldest is taking 3 classes at HES this term, too; we'll see how all this goes.

Week 1 chem: flames! Quite nifty. Nothing like lighting a balloon filled with hydrogen to wake people up. Ostensible topic: speed of reactions. But it was also pretty cool. Ball of flame = possible reason that the science center lecture hall floors are made of concrete.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BSG, and math, and consoling myself

Have now watched the re-play of Battlestar Galactica so I could see the part I missed - ahh! Such fun. Interesting ideas to play with and fine acting and a rollicking good time had by all.

Have been in shock over crappy grade on one of my finals, but I've now done the math and I should still come out okay for the semester. I finally got around to checking how I did in the general chem course at UMass Lowell, and I got an A, huzzah huzzah. Not a shock, but still good to know. By the time the final rolled around for that one, I was in good shape on all the major calculations and molecular structures, too; as I leaf through the Harvard textbook, I may even be ahead.

Looking forward to new courses, and sad that the other ones are over with. Last night I ran into a fun classmate/labmate from bio who's in chem, too, so that's cool--we formed part of The Cool Lab Bench (snort)(= dorky cool, that's why, cough cough). Will see if classmate from UML turns up - that'd be pretty nifty (me & K, we who fume when we get *anything wrong*, heh). And maybe I'll see some classmates from neurodegen, too--one might do cell biology, since it's really expected for PhD programs and probably would be a good idea for med school prep, too.

So despite cutting down to only three classes, it looks like I'll have a huge amount of time at Harvard this term, even more than the fall, which is twisted and frustrating. In fact I'm pretty sure all my stuff is going to be in the Science Center. Hey, the Science Center has everything you need: workspaces, discreet buckets of chalk, a cafe, vending machines, labs, bathrooms, computers, library, and probably all my classes, again.

Cue biolins, I mean violins. (groan) How Does She Do It? (And without drugs! amazing!) Happy sigh - it's fun.

This was first week for the spring at the coop. I may manage a bit more organization with my random science this time. This week, I made a powerpoint presentation and everything. It is a fun toy! I found a background that's an electrophoresis gel! I now carry my laptop's adaptor plugs with me everywhere, just so I can project onto walls when the mood strikes. 'Cause that's how I roll.

Silly and tired, now. Take care, all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow. Again.

Well, so much for driving down to DC for the inauguration. It would have been really fun to hang out with my cousin, but we got about a foot snow starting Saturday night, and I would have needed to leave Sunday, and I couldn't even get out of my driveway until about 7 pm Sunday - grocery store was out of reach, never mind another city. Le sigh. Yes, I do have a shovel. But I just *knew* Plow Guy would arrive as I was finishing shoveling the entire driveway, and I really didn't want to do that again. It's a rather long driveway. Early evening heralded the arrival of... Plow Guy! Huzzah!

So then it started snowing even more. So of course I went to the movies.

So. On the drive into Cambridge, I slid to the side of the road twice and had some assorted other wobbles. If I weren't from here, and if there'd been much other traffic, it would have been scarier. Mais comme ca, it was eh. Glad I was driving for 40 minutes instead of 9 hours.

(Frost/Nixon is pretty good.)

Plow guy came in the wee hours to make my driveway super-excellent most marvelously passable! Plow Guy has redeemed himself! Yay, Plow Guy!

Oldest child has her last exam on Wed. night. I, carefree scholar, have merely a wrap-up lecture on Thursday and some fooling around with a bit of writing that I want to send my history of science professor ('cause she asked, that's why).

So happy Martin Luther King Day, all, and happy Day of Hope. I don't yet dare imagine what it'll be like to put the Bush years behind us as a country; not just yet. I don't want to jinx it. My middle daughter says she can't really remember a time before Dubya's presidency. I know there are millions of other kids like her, and I want to scream. For the nonce, I shall limit the screaming to the pillows, smile sagely, tell my children that it is a great day.

Oldest voted for this president. She and her friends look at us oldsters, we sitting in stunned horror at the last 8 years, and cock their heads, and they are figuring out how to figure out what to do with their lives. Perhaps it is a scrap of help that the president offered such a huge example of What Not To Do, in almost every possible way.

So. Hope, that wells up from the tsunami of joy as tomorrow approaches. I cannot remember the last time "tomorrow" meant something so good. And hope, from the more tangible lives of the extraordinary kids I know. I pass down the traditions of what I know. They take up everything, and make beauty.

Tomorrow. Yay.

Friday, January 16, 2009

And... exhale

(waves) Hello again.

Yes, Lucia, I'm still here. Or here again. Or something.

So as of tonight, my finals for the first semester are ALL DONE. Whoo hoo! It was beyond frantic trying to get everything done, but it is, now, not as brilliantly as I'd like, but completed (however half-assedly) and handed in and Finito. I made a powerpoint slide show and did a presentation and wrote a paper and took an exam, all today. (thud)

Ah. Yes, beer would be good. Or a nice cup of tea.

The Tempest was amazing! I'm so proud of the kids. They really did well. Quietly pleased for having handed down a bit of silly tradition: The Ann-Margret. This is a warm-up exercise, which involves a bum-waggling loose impersonation of Ann Margret singing "Viva Las Vegas." There is jumping up and down. It is most pleasing.

The final exam tonight was almost frighteningly not hard - I began to wonder if I'd missed something really basic. But probably not. I probably just did reasonably well. Seriously, though, APP gets turned into beta amyloid, and all you have to know is what the APP stands for - one of the questions was, what protein produces beta amyloid? And, well, APP stands for amyloid precursor protein. Um. Duh?

So hey! It's 2009! Ta da! Good night, all :)