Sunday, March 26, 2006


Wow, I hadn't realized what a long time it's been since my last post! School has been pretty busy this past week, which has kept me off-line most of the time. (School has also kept me away from my knitting, too--there have been days this past week where I haven't knit a single stitch. Sad, I know.) I have a paper due on Monday, so I spent most of last week working diligently on that. I also have two more papers due in the next two weeks or so, so I expect posting to be pretty sparse in the near future, too. But I did manage to get my Monday paper in good shape, so I took a break to come down and visit GPG for the weekend. You have to take a break from work every now and then to recharge, right?

Anyway, GPG and I had a great time yesterday visiting the NEW BABY GIRAFFE at the Houston zoo. He was born on March 15, 2006, and he is very, very cute. Here is a picture of the baby giraffe with his mom so you can see just how teeny tiny he is:

Isn't that pretty little? The funny thing is that, even though he's so small compared to a grown giraffe, he's probably about as tall as GPG. And he is definitely taller than I am.

The giraffe seemed pretty independent for a baby who's only 10 days old. He didn't seem to have any qualms wandering away from his mom in the enclosure and looking at all the spectators:

Here is a close-up. He was a little unsteady on his feet. Pretty wobbly. I think he looks a little knock-kneed here:

And here he is getting some attention from his mom:

GPG really likes this picture because of the way the mom's body and neck frame the baby. I think it's a good photo, too:

And, if you look closely, you can see the mom's tongue in the picture below as she goes in to lick her baby. She gave him a once-over to clean him up a bit:

As a bonus, the zoo also let out the baby orangutangs!

I guess they aren't really so "baby" anymore; one is about 5 years old and the other is maybe . . . 2? I'm not sure, but they aren't newborns. Still, they are small enough to be very cute. One was playing with a flannel blanket and a big empty water bottle:

The baby giraffe and the orangutangs were the best part of the trip.

But, while we were there, we also did catch a sight of a Giant Rabbit:

And that rabbit was seriously giant. It was bigger than some dogs! And it was really soft, too; some zoo personnel had it out on a leash so that zoo visitors could pet it. It reminded me of the Were-Rabbit from the Wallace and Gromit movie that came out last year.

Anyway, that was our trip to the zoo. We had a really good time.

And, just for fun, I wanted to include a picture of the dinner we made yesterday. We grilled hamburgers, but because the store only had one real-size hamburger bun, GPG picked out a parmesan dinner roll for his hamburger. We always make GPG's hamburger patty a little larger than mine, so the patties looked pretty funny on our disproportionate buns:

Can you tell which one is mine and which one is his?

Anyway, that was our Saturday. Today GPG is off autocrossing and I am supposed to be cleaning up my Monday paper and preparing for the next paper, which is due next Tuesday. So I'll sign off here. But hopefully I'll be able to post again a little later this week.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Free at last, free at last; Almighty God, I am free at last!

At least, until next week.

No more journal monkey duty! What a relief. We monkeyed for four days straight this week and cite-checked ten articles. And now we have the last day of the week off. It's the perfect time to . . . catch up on all the work I didn't do this week. Right?

At least I can say that doing homework will be a welcome break from cite-checking. My world has turned upside down.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Birthday pictures

I had planned on posting these pictures a long time ago, but this week of journal monkeying has really worn me out. Checking cites for four days in a row completely fries your brain. I had actually hoped to get some real school work done this week, but I'm lucky if I can just get through the journal work and tumble myself into bed at the end of the day.

Anyway, these are pictures that GPG took from this past Sunday, which was my birthday. We had a really nice weekend together, but of course after all this cite-checking, the weekend feels like a loooooong time ago.

Here I am opening up the first present:

It was . . .

An oven thermometer!

I had asked for an oven thermometer because I'm pretty sure that my oven doesn't heat up to the indicated temperature. I also got a regular thermometer that you stick into things to figure out their internal temperature. I hope to make more things, like roasts, chicken, and yeast breads, whose recipes originally called for temperature checks and which I therefore decided not to make due to lack of a thermometer.

GPG's sister was also very kind and sent a present, all the way from Germany:

It was a book! To help me practice my German. Very exciting, although of course it will take me an eternity to read it. It's called Der Sunshine-Chip.

And, the main present of the whole day:


I told a law school friend of mine that GPG had given me a waffle maker for my birthday, and this friend thought that was an awfully weird gift to give. But GPG knows me well! I love waffles! And I have been eyeing various waffle makers for quite a while. So I'm very happy with the present. We plan on trying it out this weekend.

Here's a picture of all the gifts:

And, as a present to myself, I got this Asics tank top from the Fleet Feet in Houston:

You can never have too many tank tops. I already have another one of these in green, and it's great. So I decided to get another, especially since 1) it was on sale, and 2) it's already getting pretty hot here in Texas.

Lastly, I also bought some new knitting needles:

I needed size 6's for the brioche stitch hat pattern in Weekend Knitting. (I'm planning on making some matching hats for me and GPG.) The pattern only calls for a US6 circular, but I went ahead and bought the DPNs as well in order to meet the credit charge minimum requirement of the store.

That's a run-through of the birthday weekend. Journal duties call. More later!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Weekend with GPG

I'm technically on Spring Break at the moment, but unfortunately for the journal I'm working on, there is no such thing. This week I'll be spending every day, 9 to 5, at the law school being a journal monkey. It's only Tuesday and I'm pretty tired of it.

However, I did spend a nice weekend with GPG in Houston, and I did manage to take some pictures. Finally, I have some proof that I've been knitting!

What is it? I'm not telling; it's a secret. It's the Violinist's wedding present. So no more hints before it's done.

One of the main things GPG and I did this weekend was trim our bonsai trees. The Yaupon shrub we bought first has been growing quite a bit. Here is GPG giving it yet another hair cut:

He looks like a very intent barber, doesn't he?

Here is a picture of my Bougainvillea. It was not getting a lot of sunlight at my apartment in Austin, so I've foisted it on GPG. He has a balcony where it will get plenty of sunshine. I also think GPG is probably better about watering the bonsais than I am.

See how yellow-ish the leaves are? It's probably better to leave it in GPG's care.

And here is GPG's balcony with the three trees. The Ficus doesn't seem to be doing much, but hopefully it will grow more now that it's getting warmer.

What else did we do this weekend? Mostly rest and try to recuperate from a long week. Oh, and we ate a lot. More weekend pictures to come!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quick update

1. This editing thing is not all it's cracked up to be. I got my first article to edit on Monday, and even though it was only 20 pages, it was a real bear to wrestle with. I don't even want to know what it's like to get a full-length article next year.

2. Congratulations to the Aspiring Ecologist for finishing her written exams! She is one step closer to getting her Ph.D. Yowza. I can't imagine doing something like that. I guess that's why I bailed out of grad school and went to law school instead. Three cheers for the Aspiring Ecologist, and many well wishes for the oral exams coming up!

3. Hooray, the IRS accepted my income tax return! I should get a nice refund in my bank account soon. Yee haw!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Send that refund on over, baby

I just filed my taxes, and it was an unexpectedly smooth process. For the past three years, I've had to file Wisconsin state income tax, which is something of a pain; I've also had problems with tax software, whether it's TurboTax or Tax Cut or whatever. And last year, because I accidentally left a 1099-DIV off my return, I had to file an amended tax return, which is no fun at all.

This year, though, filing taxes was not so bad. It helped that I am finally free of Wisconsin's clutches (although, of course, this year I'll be heading straight into California's warm embrace). I also finally got to benefit from having streamlined and consolidated my finances in previous years, which meant less 1099 forms to enter. All in all, the process took me about an hour and a half, which included some frustration with the "Update" function, which did not actually work. I ended up having to download the latest patches from TurboTax's site directly.

Now a nice fat refund should wing its way to me eventually. What will I do with it? Well, originally I had planned to use it to beef up my work wardrobe, which is pretty scant in both the actual "office" clothing category as well as the more casual, but still necessarily dressy "office function" category. (GPG thinks my clothing for the latter is too sensible and not fun enough.) But now I think a more practical and immediate use will be putting the money into a Roth IRA. Much less exciting than going clothes shopping . . . but there aren't any major sales now anyway, right? Right.

I'm so boring.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Radio silence

I freely admit that I've been pretty lax in posting. It's been a crazy week, what with a self-imposed deadline to prepare a paper draft (in anticipation of a firm deadline before the end of the month), classes, and new editorial duties for the journal I work on at school. Really, the editorial thing and the paper thing have been the craziest of the crazies, and I don't expect anything to improve between now and the end of the semester.

Sorry about the lack of content. I'll try to post when I can.