Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Adventure

Happy (belated) Memorial Day! And what a day it was, a day full of adventure. It was like one of those movies where the main character has to machete her way through the jungle, climb through things, and be in the presence of fire. Seriously.

So my roommate Chris and I cleaned our patio in preparation for a Family Home Evening party. After a whole winter full of blizzards, it was no small task. Lots of scrubbing and sweeping. We took a little break from the scrubbing and sweeping to go to the Home Depot and buy plants. Chris bought flowers that require low light, and I bought a tomato plant and a pot of basil. My goal is to not kill them.

Once we planted the things, I decided it was a good time to unplant other things. There's a lot of English Ivy and some other type of viny thing in the backyard, but it turned out that there was also a brick path under all of the ivy. So I got out my amazing Swedish sharp scissors and chopped a tall kitchen bagful out of the way. I sort of felt like the girl in The Secret Garden.

Then Chris got us locked out of the house. Unfortunately there's no way to escape from our house using the fire escape, which means there's no way to get in, so we had to sneak in through Chris's bedroom window...and by "we," I mean "I." One of the many disadvantages to being travel-sized. There was no non-awkward way to get in there, and Chris isn't so good at the whole "boost" concept (at one point she was just pushing me into the side of the house), so now I have some bruises and sore muscles in the shorts area.

Finally, after much showering and some final tidying, we threw the partay. It was pretty awesome. There were lots of people and lots of foodstuffs that were grilled (hence the fire). Stay tuned for tales of more awesome parties to come.

In other news, I just killed a giant mosquito in my living room.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Shoe "Trauma"

Despite my having two X-chromosomes and a fully-functional set of ovaries, I hate shoe shopping. I think it's the most frustrating thing in the world, which is probably why I've had the same pair of black dress shoes for five years. This is what they looked like when I first bought them:
Sadly, they no longer look like this. The stuff is coming off the heel, and the sole is super thin. Unfortunately, Sears has discontinued the Apostrophe Marcella Heel in black. I looked at several department and shoe stores, frustration growing as I tried to explain, "All I want is a black heel with a strap!!!!!" No success--the women kept trying to sell me peep-toes and slutty patent-leather platforms (hello? I'm wearing these to church, not confession!); however, my hopes were piqued when I found these online:

I was very excited that I could buy almost the same shoe (the same brand, at the very least), and then they came in the mail today. The Apostrophe Marianne Mary-Janes are not the same! The heel is lower, the toe is rounder, the leather is duller...none of this would be a huge problem had the shoes not arrived looking like somebody had already worn them. So they're going back. My life is so hard.

Dear Sears, let this be the one redeeming thing you do to me after years of crappy customer service experiences in your store. If you bring back these shoes, I'll seriously buy three pairs.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Master of Science

I graduated today! I can attach M.S. after my name in all things now, though I'm still extremely inspired to get a PhD, if for nothing else but the hats. My mom said PhD regalia reminds her of Hogwarts.

Anyway, I was selected as one of the student speakers for graduation, and for those who weren't there, this is what I said:

"Good morning. I am honored to represent the first graduating class of the Boston University School of Medicine Program in Forensic Anthropology today. For the past two years, my classmates and I have had to figure out how to explain just what it is we do. The simplest definition of "forensic anthropology" I can offer is "the study of skeletal remains in a legal context." Comprehensive training in forensic anthropology exposes the student to skeletons, clandestine graves, and other things too ghastly and horrific to mention here...such as the Master's thesis. That said, I'll admit it was a challenge finding something from within my studies to relate to the future in order to provide an inspirational graduation message.

"In forensic anthropology (and forensic science in general), we learn about the importance of a multidisciplinary approach: one person's expertise is usually not enough. As scientists in a relatively specialized field, we must learn to rely on the strengths and training of others to provide us with all the evidence we need. Essentially, it takes a village to complete a case. This is something I've learned to apply as a student and as a member of the academic community. I am grateful for the academic environment at the Boston University School of Medicine, which exposes its students to vast resources, multiple specialties, and caring faculty and staff. We have never had to go through our journey alone. To all of the faculty members in the Forensic Anthropology Program, I thank you for your direction and your confidence; to my friends and classmates, I am grateful for the laughs and commiseration we've shared, and for the support you've provided these past two years.

"Though at school I put on the airs of a dyed-in-the-wool scientist, I have a confession to make: I love musical theatre. In the Broadway musical Wicked, Galinda the Good Witch observes, "There are bridges you cross you didn't know you've crossed until you've crossed ("Thank Goodness," lyrics by Stephen Schwartz). For most of us, we saw our Masters' programs as bridges: the two or three years spent between our undergraduate educations and the rest of our academic and professional lives. It's easy to get lost in the minutiae of coursework, exams, projects, and thesis writing as we trudge forward toward graduation and our future plans, but I encourage all of you, when you have a moment to breathe, to reflect on the past years. Try to remember what you knew (or didn't know) before you came here. In the eternal scheme of things, our time as Masters' students is but a small moment, but the effect of this time on us is staggering. When we look back, it is amazing to see how far we've come. Let us never forget to appreciate in this short time all that we have done, all that we have learned, and most importantly, all that we have become.

"As we stand at the juncture between the bridges that were our Masters' programs and the road ahead, I'd like to offer one last piece of advice gleaned from my forensic anthropology coursework: learn to adjust your strategy. As anthropologists in the field, we make neat and organized plans for a systematic search and excavation effort, but the world is messy, and more often than not, human or environmental factors force us to reevaluate the scene and adapt to a situation that is far from our ideal. The same applies to our lives: what we have planned for ourselves isn't always what the future has in store for us. Sometimes when we're reaching for what we want (or what we think we want), we fall, but where we land might not be so bad, and when we get back up, we may find that our "backup plan" is really what makes us happiest. Instead of stubbornly fighting against fate for what we thought we wanted, we can be flexible and let the road take us somewhere even better. Wherever your paths lead you, I wish you luck, hope, and good sense. Congratulations, Class of 2011!"

I pretty much gave the best speech ever, even the Dean was jealous.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Culinary Creations

So sometimes I'm pretty awesome in the kitchen. This is a picture of the lemon-raspberry cake I made at Easter time.

And then sometimes I bribe my ward choir with muffins, but instead of making a dozen blueberry muffins from a box like a normal person, I go crazy and make six dozen in three varieties: blueberry lemon, strawberry banana, and regular banana (I got so many bananas at Haymarket for a dollar, guys). Anyway, here's a picture of the muffins, to fully illustrate the plethora of muffins that happened today. Ignore the mess of mail on my table.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More Reasons I'm Morbid

Since school is basically over, I hopped over to the Charlestown branch of the Boston Public Library to check out some books for "light reading." Here's what I walked out with:
  1. The Lazarus Syndrome: Burial Alive and Other Horrors of the Undead
  2. Among the Cannibals: Adventures on the trail of Man's Darkest Ritual
  3. The Father of Forensics: The Groundbreaking Cases of Sir Bernard Spilsbury, and the Beginnings of Modern CSI
  4. The Casebook of Forensic Detection
  5. The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical Mystery (It's about Familial Fatal Insomnia, a prion disease--related to Mad Cow--that basically means you can't sleep until you die)
  6. Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England's Vampires
Maybe I have issues. And I'm sure the skull sitting on the bookshelf in my dining room isn't helping my case at all. (It's not a real skull, it's plastic, and I got it for helping the anatomy department sort out real skulls. And since it's plastic, I'm allowed to name it. His--it's a male skull--name is David Duchovny.) I should just tell people I have a deep interest in "Anthropology of the Creepy."

But I'm not as "goth" as people apparently think. Why, just yesterday I bought a yellow shirt. Yellow is cheerful, right?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Countdown to Graduation

Welcome to May, everyone! I never thought this day would come, but I'm graduating from my M.S. program this month, two weeks from Friday, to be precise. This isn't going to be about scary things like the future, but it's going to be a little ode to the past, sans poetry.

Things I'll miss about Boston University Medical Campus:
  1. Everything's in the Same Building. It's so nice on those days that it's a zillion degrees below zero and snowy and gross to not have to go outside when I'm at school.
  2. Chicken and Dumplings. Every Thursday, for only $3.75, I can get a giant bowl of the most delicious soup/stew ever. And it comes with this yummy flatbread. I think I might still have to go to the med school cafeteria sometimes even after I graduate.
  3. Free Food. There are so many seminars and meetings every day on campus and they always get over-catered. That's why I always carry Tupperware and plastic baggies.
  4. The Hot A.V. Guy. Oh my gosh...this guy has been setting up the projectors in my classes for two years, and I'm a little smitten. Of course, I've never spoken to him, and will never speak to him, but I have a crush on him and his shoes are awesome.
  5. My Pals. I get to keep a few of my pals in Boston a little while longer, but we won't have pal fun in school anymore. We have too many inside jokes to list here, and y'all wouldn't get them anyway.

We're awesome