Saturday, March 25, 2006

Statistics Test

I have a take-home exam in multivariate statistics this weekend. Yay!


I know I'm taking this class "for fun," but there ain't much fun about a test administered over a weekend. Oh well. I suppose I dug myself into this hole when I signed up for the class. The professor said it will only take two or three hours to complete. So if I crank on it now, then perhaps I'll be done by lunch? Yeah, done with about 50% of it. Everything always takes longer in a Ph.D. program.

At least the spring snow is finally melting.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'm Missing People & Places

Gram's Greenhouse
Originally uploaded by chesterley.

My apologies for the multiple edits on this post to those of you using blog aggregators. I've had trouble with posting pictures from Flickr this week...

My mind has been wandering a lot this week. Mourning the loss of my 98-year-old grandmother I expected to die is odd: On the one hand, I'm happy for the prospect that she's moved onto a better place without the aches and pains of a century-old body. On the other hand I do miss her, stubbornness and all.

One strange thing is that the mourning process for my grandmother also brings me to miss, of all things, her house. It's an International Style ranch house in the woods that has always sparked my interest in architecture. I really love it up there, and we would spend time there in the summer when I was a kid. Whenever I'd speak to my grandmother on the phone, she'd provide all the updates like, "the weather is doing this," or, "the deer came to visit the bird bath today," or even, "the storm blew over 5 trees, but thankfully none hit the house." I miss those updates on one of my favorite places in the world. I sit here in the Midwest wondering what's happening up at the house right now. I find it sad that the house is empty. I can hear the wind blowing through the trees, the chirping birds, an occasional car out at the road, and even a distant heavy wave hitting the beach down the road. It's odd that my grandmother isn't there to see and hear it all, and to report on the goings-on.

Funny how years of connection with an individual is leaving me attached to the place where that individual lived. Not sure yet what that means, but I'm finding it rather odd.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


It snowed at least three inches in Small College Town yesterday. Here is the vast, winding pathway to the front gates of Chesterley, showing our daffodils covered in snow. I posted just a couple of other pictures under the "spring?" tag in my Flickr site (to the right). Yes, I actually had to shovel the driveway yesterday morning: March 21. Oy. I miss living in the Southeast.

I'm having trouble finding academic focus this week, but I find comfort in the fact that I can still be productive at my job (which doesn't require the highest level of brain power all the time...just some of the time). Perhaps it's because I essentially lost my spring break to being with my grandmother. I could use a vacation! Perhaps my lack of "thought" is just part of the mourning process. Not sure. Sometimes I feel like it's strange to mourn the death of a 98-year-old, since her death was expected and anticipated for some time. However, I know it's never "strange" to mourn someone I will miss, so deep down I know this is natural and I will regain my ability to think once again sometime soon. Looks like the funeral will be in a couple of weeks, so it will be good to have that closure.

One more thing: light a couple of candles for Lemming this week as she finishes her dissertation!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

On Death

My 98-year-old grandmother died this morning. I feel fortunate that I was available to be with her all of last week. A week ago Friday my mother and I hurried across the country to be with her, as we were told her end was iminent. I think my grandmother surprised herself more than the rest of us by living an additional week. We moved her from the hospital to a beautiful hospice house last Wednesday afternoon. I traveled home this past Friday after we knew she was settled there. She died this morning. She led a long and very full life.

It's not a surprise to anyone that she waited for the family to leave before she died. She moved to her summer place in the woods years ago, away from a lifetime of friends and relatives, to live out the rest of her life in a peaceful environment. She enjoyed living alone, and it appears that when people die from natural causes, they hang on to take control over the time and place where they decide to take the next step.

Cheers to your long life, Gram. I hope your journey was a peaceful one.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I'm feeling a bit depressed, so don't read this if you don't want to learn more about it. Hey, it's my blog and if I want to be depressed, I have that right. So there. :-)

Too much interference in my head today. Probably because I'm coming out of a weekend that wasn't as productive as I had hoped. And now it's almost 4PM on Monday, and still I feel like I should be eating breakfast instead of having an afternoon cup o' java at Cafe right now.

I need to ignore the interference. I think my scholarly thoughts (if I do say so myself) get clouded by trying to set life priorities. I mean, I'm doing this degree to get myself and my career to a "higher level." Higher level of crap, perhaps? Who knows. But right now I'm just hoping I'll have a full-time job next year to be able to support the family and myself. Life will just go on: I'm not feeling like I'm waiting for a job to "get my life back," or anything like that. At the same time, am I a failure for wanting a full-time job? Did I fail this year because I've not yet finished up this proposal and can't seem to get over the hump posed by this pilot study?

I would like to have complete control over how I spend my time for one entire day this week. So far that ain't happening. At least spring break is next week; I think I'm going to take a day or two I can work.

I hate college.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Progress & Plans

This was a pretty good week. I made good progress on the @#$% pilot study, and I've even crafted a visual model of my theory. We'll see how DC likes it.

Today I'm planning an office/prison work attempt. I'm actually kind of excited. Perhaps the prospect of yard work, spring-cleaning, and house-sprucing have inspired me to feel like a homebody today. Not sure. Regardless, it's been a while since I've had a good work session here at home, so I'm going to attempt it.

Got some feedback from a local journal to which I've submitted a different paper, and I need to complete revisions by Friday. So that's on my list for this weekend. Also, DC is traveling in a week, and she always likes to have reading material with her when she flies. I MUST finish up the @#$% pilot study by Friday as well so I can get feedback from her prior to when I submit that to A Prestigious Journal. I figure I'll get rejected from that journal, but I hope the rejection comes with some helpful feedback. So, busy weekend: wish me luck here in the office/prison today.

Spring is Springing!

I can't believe the daffodils, tulips, & crocuses are already coming up in our rather messy front yard. Note the "gumballs" that fell out of our next door neighbor's tree in the wintertime. Thanks alot, neighbor! Anyhow, I must get started on the yard work routine again sometime soon. In celebration of the first weekend in March, I brought our lawn mower into the shop for its annual tuneup. I'm looking forward to spring! This year I'm determined to just do a little bit of work every couple of days instead of letting it pile up (literally) till the weekends. Half of the weekends it rains, so things can really pile up. If I can get into a schedule, then the yard will stay clean and I'll be less stressed about it. I love yard work, but it stresses me out if I don't feel like I have the time to do it. It's the grad student guilt factor, I suppose.