Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CY2014 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year, Little Osteophytes!*  I'm not going to a huge "year in review" like I've done in previous years, but I thought I should at least update you on my Goals for 2014.
The goals:
  1. I did not attend my high school reunion because 1) I realized that I have unrealistic expectations for reunions because of years of watching TV and movies, 2) the reunion was held the weekend after Labor Day weekend and it didn't make sense buying a plane ticket for such a short time, especially when 3) I didn't actually like high school all that much.
  2. I did avoid Facebook for a short time in the summer when a lot of people were being jerks about stuff.  I also did some liberal un-following.
  3. If by "go to California" you mean "win a research award that will fund a trip to a meeting in California in 2015," then Check.  (Notice how I inserted a brag about how I won a research award in there?)
  4. My 12 Dates/Year quota was the only one I actually did well.  Stay tuned for a post (that I've already drafted) all about how I was a dating fiend in 2014.
  5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  I was probably high on Diet Coke when I came up with the crazy idea that I would ever stop drinking Diet Coke.
  6. I had one fancy dinner party in 2014.  But it was pretty rad and also partly responsible for much of my 2014 dating success.  Dinner parties are tricky though, when one has roommates one feels obligated to invite and wants to make an even table without making it seem like an awkward apartment date.  
I don't think there is anything super cool that happened in 2014 that I have not already blogged about, so here are some goals for 2015:
  1. Pass my qualifying exams.
  2. Come up with one realistic and one silly backup plan for if I do not pass my qualifying exams.
  3. Regain my self-confidence and learn to drive before my PA State ID expires in July.
  4. Be legitimately okay about turning 30, regardless of the status of my uterus.  Also start wearing neck cream when I turn 30.
  5. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and go to the gym at least one time per week and take a vitamin every day and drink lots of water.**
  6. Throw some fancy dinner parties.

Be happy and safe, everyone.

*Lady Gaga has Monsters, I have Osteophytes...unless someone can think of a better name for all of my adoring fans.
**I realize that this is four goals in one, but "maintain a healthy lifestyle" was too non-specific.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Vest

Whenever I'm home, I go through old photos from my childhood and I found a bunch from my tween-teen years in which I was experimenting with some interesting fashion choices.  Shortly afterwards I watched an old Garth and Kat sketch on SNL, and I realized I may have been more of a trendsetter than I thought as a kid, because far before the Wiig-Armisen era, I was rocking the dorky vest.

Here are some highlights:

This was a pretty benign one that my mom made.  Note how studious it made me look.  Also note my pixie cut, inspired by Halle Berry (however Halle Berry probably never got mistaken for a boy at the 5th grade Halloween Party).

This was just me dressed up for a normal day at church, as far as I know, and not a "Relief Society Presidents of History" costume contest.  I still have the necklace.

This was high school.  I can tell because of the retainer and because I have two distinguishable eyebrows.  My mom made this vest because it was the early 2000's and Asian-inspired things were very in style.

This was one of my more unfortunate hairstyles.  But I think I pulled off the turtleneck-tucked-into-belted-jeans look quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

I was really obsessed with "Goosebumps" books, so when I saw this fabric at the fabric store, I was like, "Mom, you clearly must make me a vest."  Note how my belt matches my shirt, and note my awesome thumb-in-my-belt pose.  Also I think I made this necklace.  Also I'm sure I went to school in this outfit.  None of the other kids were as fashion-forward as I was, and therefore were too intimidated to ever hang out with me.  One time they even put me in a locker as to not be blinded by my stylishness.

I saved the best for last (or vest for last-ha!).  This was also in middle school when Old Navy Performance Fleece was a thing.  We must have been really poor when I was growing up because apparently Old Navy was too expensive for us and my mom bought me this knockoff at Sam's Club.  Discount substitutes notwithstanding, I knew how to be cool.

Is it weird that this reminds me of Anthony Michael Hall in "Sixteen Candles"?
So, Fred, Kirsten, just know that I'm onto you for stealing my look.  It's totally okay, I won't sue or anything, but if you would like to send me thank-you notes or cash or something, that would be cool.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Special Dating Post: Finding Your Holiday Romance

Merry Christmas, gentle readers!  If you're anything like me, you're probably finding yourself single this holiday season.  If you are me, you're finding yourself single this holiday season and spending all of your Christmas vacation watching made-for-TV holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel and ABC Family.  But, because I am brilliant, during this time I figured out exactly how to find true love just in time for Christmas (or New Year's Eve, at the very latest), and while it may be too late for me, I would love to impart this wisdom upon you, gentle readers.  Here are four strategies:
  1. The Lie.  Heading home for the holidays?  Family giving you a hard time because in addition to their disapproval of your career choice, you're still single?  Just hire a fake significant other to come home with you--nobody will suspect a thing (which is good, because the truth would just about kill your great grandmother).  Your faux-beau could be an actor, an acquaintance, or just someone that walked into your place of employment one day.  It doesn't matter whether you like each other; it doesn't matter if they're not single in real life; it doesn't even matter if you kidnapped them at gunpoint; once you reveal personal secrets to each other and once you're forced to kiss under the mistletoe in front of everyone, the sparks will fly and you will go from "fakin'" to "taken."*  
  2. The Relocation.  No luck finding love in the big city?  Just find yourself in a tiny town for the holiday.  Extra points if it's against your will, and even more points if it's a town that's inexplicably obsessed with Christmas.  Your true love will be pretty easy to find in said small town, because he/she will literally be the only other person your age.  When you first find yourself attracted to this single-parent/widower/veterinarian/volunteer-hockey-coach, be careful, because (as their not-apparently-related older acquaintance will tell you), nobody ever thought he/she would move on after nonspecific-tragic-event.  But in the end (and after you use your big-city know-how to save the town from some crisis), you will be in love, not only with single-parent/widower/veterinarian/volunteer-hockey-coach, but also with small town life, and most importantly, with Christmas.  
  3. The Switch.  Don't like your life?  Take somebody else's!  Swap houses with a complete stranger (bonus points if it's a city-mouse/country-mouse situation--see #2).  This is probably one of the more high-reward tactics:  not only will you end up with someone from stranger's hometown, stranger will end up with one of the many people with whom you're having no luck romantically!  Two lovebirds, one stone.  
  4. Magic.  Sometimes a case is so hopeless that earthly forces are insufficient.  In these cases, thank goodness for magical Christmas ornaments and older men who may or may not be Santa Claus.  They will manipulate the world so that you'll have a chance to relive that bad date over and over until you get it right, or they'll keep letting you run into that handsome stranger until he realizes how wrong-for-him his snooty rich girlfriend actually is.  At the end, you will give a kiss to your new honey, and a knowing wink to a light in the sky that is definitely your guardian angel and not an airplane.
Gentle readers, there is one week until Christmas.  I have full faith that, by using one or more of these tactics, you will be engaged by 2015.  Good luck!

*I am so, so sorry for that rhyme.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vampire Slaying, PhD

I posted the following on Facebook one day:
I think that if Buffy had been in grad school instead of high school, she would have been a lot more complacent about all those apocalypses.
This got me thinking, what would happen if Buffy had been in grad school?  Here are some classic BtVS moments, re-imagined to be more appropriate to the grad school life:

Silver Linings...

I won't have to go into lab tomorrow!
(From "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date")
The "I Hate My Life and Every Decision I've Ever Made" Phase

Pretty much sums it up.
(From "Becoming, Part 2")
The Complicated Student/Adviser Relationship

From "Lover's Walk"
Departmental Seminar Refreshments

From "Restless"
And Finally, The Dissertation Defense

From "Showtime"
These are all I can think of for now.  There will probably be follow-up posts once my next Buffy-binge-watching session inspires me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reasons Why November Wasn't the Absolute Worst

I could write about how November was pretty sucky, in my true "depressing blog" fashion.  And it was kind of crappy.  The month started out with the epiphany that I'm kind of terrible and nobody will ever love me (not that I deserve it, anyway) and I'll never be as fulfilled as the pregnant ladies in diaper commercials or as musically talented as my roommate and my hair will never stop having split ends.

But really (and especially compared to last November...ugh) it actually wasn't such a terrible month after all.  Here's why:

I was freaking domestic as all heck, for one thing.  I made all manner of Thanksgiving food and a wreath!  Here are pictures:
Sweet Potato Casserole...toeing the line between side dish and dessert.
Cranberry Meringue and Cranberry-Pear-Pecan Pies
The wreath.  Not edible.
There were also two varieties of from-scratch cranberry sauce (not pictured).  The cranberry sauce may have inspired me to take up canning, despite my fear of giving my friends botulism.

I think the wreath was my favorite thing to make, despite it's not being able to be eaten.  Craft therapy isn't just for people in mental institutions, I guess.  Also I did this with people.  Two friends came over and we had craft night and ate soup and rolls and pie and watched the Grumpy Cat Christmas Movie on Lifetime (simultaneously better and worse than it sounds).

I did other things with people in November, too.  Despite my protestations that I was not worthy of love and friendship, people still insisted on hanging out with me (stupid people).  My old roommate came over one night and we ate green curry and watched the second Muppet movie (better than I'd expected it to be).  Another friend and I started a tradition (as in, we've done this twice) of making breakfast* while watching the previous evening's episode of "Grimm."

Culture!  I saw two plays on non-dates with a friend this month.  The first was Awake and Sing, which was really good.  The second was a college-level production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which was not spectacular, but it had sentimental value on account of the time I played Lucy in our fifth grade production.  Also before both plays, friend and I ate burgers, which is less "cultured" but still delicious.

Thanksgiving also happened.  Through a last-minute twist of fate involving cranberries, I got talked into going to a friend's family's house for Thanksgiving dinner, and it was lovely.  I played with an adorable three-year-old and got my nurturing quota in for the year.  Not to fear, however--I still managed to get most of my "by-myself Thanksgiving" traditions done on the surrounding days.  Such as watching the "Buffy" Thanksgiving Episode.

One day.
Probably one of the most not-crappy things about November was that I got the results back from my grant application.  Not the knowing-whether-it's-funded results, yet, but the scores.  And the scores were not terrible!  They were in fact quite good!  So much so that if I did get funded, it wouldn't be too surprising!  That I will find out in January, however, so I am crossing my fingers.

So yeah...not bad...not bad at all.  And it's December now, and I've decided to get into the Christmas spirit if it kills me.

*This could be a good time to share the anecdote about how I unwittingly bought a nine-dollar loaf of Brioche at Whole Foods...but it's not that exciting of a story.  I unwittingly bought a nine-dollar loaf of Brioche of Whole Foods.  The French Toast I made therewith didn't even moderately rock my world.