Monday, February 28, 2011

Supergirl

There's a song on the "Princess Diaries" soundtrack called "Supergirl" by an artist named Krystal something. I've been thinking about one of the lyrics a lot lately:

"I'm Supergirl, and I'm here to save the world, but I wanna know, who's gonna save me?"

I was originally planning a blog post about my trip to Chicago and all of the awesome networking that happened here and how I got into BU's PhD program and I'm really happy about that...but then I got home from Chicago, and twenty minutes later, the water heater exploded. Well, it didn't actually explode, but all of the water on the inside of it decided that it no longer wanted to be in it. And then the boiler thought that it would join in all the fun and shoot water out of the radiators all over the house. Luckily I know how to turn off all of the things, and how to call the plumber, and how to turn the fans onto the wet carpet, but it's kind of a curse. Don't get me wrong, my roommates are wonderful, and they're so happy to help in any way that they can, but sometimes, well, actually most of the time, I feel like I'm the only one doing all of the fixing.

Again, don't misunderstand me, I'm so grateful that I'm independent and know how to do the repairs and the housekeeping and deal with the plumbing-folk, but sometimes I wish that I didn't have to. I really wish that one day, I'll have somebody who will just say, "don't worry, I'll take care of it," even if "taking care of it" just means being the one who calls the plumber and stays home to let him in. I also hope that this person is a husband...and just a warning to all the future husbands out there: if I have to be the one to call the plumber when we're married, I'm cheating on you with him.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thoughts from the Glenoid Fossa

I love when my shoulders pop. I'm sure some people hate it, but I really like it. What I don't like, however, is when my shoulder pops accidentally--when I just happen to turn or reach for something and my shoulder pops on its own. When that happens, I feel like I'm caught off-guard, cheated out of the opportunity to enjoy my shoulder popping.

We really can't control the release of air from our synovial joints, nor can we control what happens in our lives. However, we can try to be aware of what's going on with ourselves--to enjoy the good things that are happening to us while they're happening to us.

I heard somebody say today that some percentage of people spend most of their time thinking about something other than what they're doing. There's probably an actual statistic out there somewhere that will make this blog post sound much more legitimate, but maybe we do spend more time daydreaming than doing. And while we're daydreaming, we're caught off-guard by things that are real.

Pretty powerful stuff to come from one almost-satisfying shoulder pop.

The Power of "Going To"

We're all busy. Our lives are crazy and involved, and not with just one thing. We'd like to think that our lives revolve around school or work or family, but that's not the case. Just because one aspect of our lives is intense doesn't mean all of the other aspects of our lives fade into the background.

Lately, especially as I've been working on my thesis, I've thought about this. It would be so easy to focus entirely on my schoolwork and neglect all of my other responsibilities, but unfortunately I can't do that. The kitchen still gets dirty, the laundry still piles up, the church choir still has to practice, and I still have to go to the gym. It never ends.

I've really come to enjoy the TV show, "The Middle" on ABC. If you haven't watched it, it's about Frankie Heck, a mother of three who works at a car dealership. It's not only entertaining, but also one of the few shows on primetime TV that's actually entirely clean and wholesome. Anyhow, there was an episode in which Frankie was making an excuse to a co-worker that she can't be good at her job because she has all of her home and family responsibilities to tend to as well. The co-worker responded by saying that her attitude was all wrong, and she should feel empowered because she has all these responsibilities.

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago on a Saturday when I woke up early to go to the library to work on my thesis. As I was eating breakfast, I noticed that the kitchen really needed cleaned. I thought, "I can't clean the kitchen, I have to work on my thesis." But then I thought, "you know what, I can do both things."

This made me develop a new mantra for life: everything would be more manageable if we replaced the phrase "I have to" with "I'm going to." So instead of saying...

"I have to get up early; I have to clean the kitchen; I have to go to the library; I have to finish my thesis; I have to write my talk for Sacrament meeting; and then I have to go home and make dinner. It's going to be awful!"

You'd end up with something more like,

"I'm going to get up early; I'm going to clean the kitchen; I'm going to go to the library; I'm going to finish my thesis; and then I'm going to write this talk and go home and make dinner, and it's going to be awesome!"

All of a sudden, just by replacing a simple phase, you're getting a pep-talk instead of a punishment; instead of feeling like you're drowning, you feel like a superhero. Not a bad way to look at it. Not at all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Love of My Life

I've been away from the blogging world lately. It's been quite a while since my last substantial post. The past two posts were little tiny blurbs, and you might have been able to tell that my heart wasn't really in them. So why am I devoting time to a post now? I just got out of a relationship...

...with my thesis.

It's been a rocky relationship, full of ups and downs. Late nights of passionate fury in the library followed by the overwhelming desire to rip my hair out and cry. But now, it's finally (almost) over. Sure there'll be some fleeting reunions and revisions, but the first draft is finished and it's no longer the most earth-shattering thing in my life.

Now, as would any girl who just dumped/got dumped by her beau, I'm going to spend the next several paragraphs talking about my thesis. I'll try to make it interesting.

The title of my thesis is "Application of Anthropological Aging Techniques to Three-Dimensional Reconstructions of Clinical CT Scans of the Adult Pelvis" (I know it's an awkward title, but I can't help it--academia loves the prepositional phrase). Confused? I'll try to break it down. Forensic anthropologists can tell how old a person is/was by looking at features on the pelvis. However, if there are still fleshy bits attached or the person is still alive, one can't access the bones. With computer software, anthropologists can build a 3D skeleton from CT scan data. The focus of my study is to see if anthropologists can see the features on the 3D image to give an accurate age estimate as well as if they were looking at the actual bone. In case you were wondering, it works about 80% of the time, which is decent for a pilot study.

The bittersweet thing about writing a thesis is that you're spending all of this time to write an 85-ish page book that essentially, only two people (your committee) are going to read. This means that either I can put no charm or personality into it (because, why bother?) or I can make it dangerously entertaining for any poor soul who does decide to read it in the future. A few examples...

In any research about the pelvis, who can resist the phrase, "the thrust of this research..."?

"The findings based on So-and-so et al.'s (YEAR) method were promising, however, Such-and-such et al. (YEAR) stated that So-and-so et al.'s method essentially sucked, and so these results probably don't really mean all that much."

"The age ranges in this graph are approximate, as they are based upon the whiskers of box-and-whisker plots presented in So-and-so et al.'s YEAR paper. Why So-and-so et al. (YEAR) thought that box-and-whisker plots were a good idea and was apparently too busy to publish the actual age ranges instead of making me sit here with a ruler trying to figure out if the line is closer to halfway between 20 and 40 or 1/3 of the way between 20 and 40 is beyond me."

And I'm so tempted to include this footnote that would be the best academic double entendre ever...maybe after it's approved and nobody has to read it again.

At any rate, my thesis has been an interesting experience. I think I've grown a lot from it. There's a sense of accomplishment that comes from creating and completing something that's so enormous--seriously, it's going to be close to 100 pages when it's finally done and revised. It was awesome, but having it be over is even more amazing. Now that the weight of this gigantic looming thing is off my shoulders, I'm in a much better mood all of the time, even so much that for a few days, my face hurt from all the smiling.
Not bad for a lady on the rebound.

Monday, February 7, 2011

90/10

To all of those people that follow the doctrine of "Hitch" when it comes to kissing:

That 90/10 crap is absurd. We girls shouldn't have to "close the gap." You want a signal that I want you to kiss me? I'm not punching you in the face. There's your signal.

Man up. Go the distance.