Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January, in review

I'm still pretending December didn't happen--though at some point I suppose it has to materialize--but January is not out of bounds!  So, a list of past January events:

The End of Vacation
My husband and I attended a New Year's party, back in the town where we got our undergraduate degrees.  We toured the central part of the campus, and got to see some of the renovations (actually, at that point, more like the deconstruction) being done to the student center.

At the party, I met some old friends and acquaintances, and made a new one--a 5-month old black German shepherd.  I played Wasabi, and was totally confused by Little Big Planet. I was gifted a replica Assassin's Creed 1 throwing knife (I'll have to sharpen it, and then get a yard with which to practice.  Or is it for display?)

The husband and I stayed at an hotel on the historical register.  It had been fully remodeled, of course, it was interesting how small it felt.  Cozy would be the proper term.  We were able to get a suite, which had a large bathroom with a claw-footed tub.  Across from the tub, on a shelf mounted above the toilet, was a TV.

I felt old for the first time.  (This could be its own post.  A confluence of events and realizations.)  I don't mean I noticed the difference of years between some then and now.  By this I mean I saw a line between who I was, or who I used to be--and who I was now.   It wasn't me "growing" older, some continuum, which I normally feel myself on.  It felt instead like a break.  And I realized that I could no longer act the way I've always acted, because I'm no longer the person I've always (thought) I've been.

I returned to University Town.  The flight in was on a puddle hopper.  The flight attendant repeated, probably 7 or 8 times (no exaggeration), that all cell phones had to be turned off.  "They interfere with radio communications, and the pilot hears a constant clicking in his headset.  He cannot hear the instructions from the control tower, and he will turn the plane around."

Once we landed, we were reminded to take everything with us off the plane.  "So far today, we have found 12 phones, 6 wallets--full of money--and one divorce decree."

A few days later, I got my eyes checked for new contact lenses.  My optometrist was wonderful.

Trip to Washington DC
School started with a bang.  The first day, not only did I have class, but I had a conference in DC.  It would be my first time in the city.

I went to class, then hurried to the engineering print department to pick up a poster.  It wasn't done, but was sitting on the work counter.  The person working on the poster had gone to lunch, and was preparing to trim it.  I said it didn't need to be trimmed, and took it.

About this time, I stopped in the bathroom, and in unzipping my coat, noticed that the scarf I had been wearing--something knitted by one of my mother-in-law's co-workers--had shed all over me.  The fringes that hung from the end of the scarf were now little threads.  I was wearing my suit pants, and it was not pretty.  I tossed the scarf in the trash on the way out.  

I then got in my car and drove to Washington DC for a conference--the meeting of the Transportation Research Board.  I did stop for gas, and picked up a sandwich, and a lint-roller.

Since I was going against traffic (I was arriving in the evening at rush hour, while everyone else was leaving), things weren't too bad until I got into the central part of the city.  I ended being in the wrong lane, driving past the hotel, but turning around wasn't too bad, and I still arrived before the poster presentation started.

When I got to the poster room, I found I was ill-prepared.  I had followed the guidelines I had found online.  These instructions were for poster presenters that were actually presenting at the conference--they were to be 4x8 ft, and there would be boards and tacks for us to use.  When I arrived, I found that the guidelines were different for us students--the posters were supposed to be 3x4 ft, and mounted.  There were only easels available.  I talked with the administrator there, and was directed to the hotel's shipping/receiving department.  I found some old posterboard there, and the lady (wonderful lady!) working there, helped me to tape pieces of posterboard together so that it would be big enough to mount the poster.

Very few people came to see our posters.  Most just walked by.  This gave me a chance to speak with some of the other students at the poster session.  All the other students there were civil engineers, and I enjoyed talking to them.

Return to School
After the poster session was over, I drove back north through Frederick, MD, where I stayed the night.  It was a really nice town.  I'd like to go back to visit.  I also need to go back to DC and actually tour it.  I was back in University Town in time for my evening class.

The next day went surprisingly smoothly.  I went to the bookstore for a course packet (actually, a photocopied version of a book serving as the course textbook) and didn't have to wait to check out.  I then went to class, and a good meeting with my advisor.  I then went to Staples to bind the course packet (which I had bought earlier), and once again, didn't have to wait--they took it bound it, and gave it back immediately.  I was so surprised.  Normally, I've had to come back in a day or two when asking for materials to be bound.

I felt bad about throwing the scarf away, and since I had a Kohl's gift card, I stopped there.  I picked up a scarf (and a pair of gloves) for 60% off.  From there I went shopping at both Wal-Mart (using coupons I had printed off online--neato, since I don't get a newspaper) and Sam's Club.

New Stuff
January seems to be the month that I like buy new things.  Last year, it was a dozen 5-piece china settings  which I justified because 1) I hadn't registered for fine china when I married, 2) by the modern anniversary calendar, the 2nd anniversary is the "China" anniversary, and 3) the particular pattern (Pointe D'esprit by Monique Lhuillier) was 70% off.

This year, the big purchase was a new computer.  A Dell Studio, with an Intel i7 quad core processor--definitely more than I need, but definitely nice to have.  And like the Dell it replaced, it was a refurb.  It's a bad picture---new one is the black one on the right.  It's actually quite shiny and not smudgy.

The other new things were smaller--a new pair of trail runners, a new hair dryer, new gloves (I purchased 3 pairs since the last post).  And with Christmas money, a new toaster (this one I can justify as a "need" since my old one broke), and a new insulated mug.

It's a Thermos, Element 5, vacuum insulated travel mug (purchased from Amazon) and I absolutely love it.  I put tea in at the start of all-nighter, and six hours later I was surprised to find that it was still warm.  It definitely does what it's advertised to do. It's my new favorite mug.  But that reminds me...I had to buy a new bottle brush to clean it.


Nojh said...

If you're going to practice knife throwing, I suggest you pick up some cheap ones to practice with first before you use your fancy ones.

Your new computer looks very shiny.