Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yet another reason

To not use excel. So, I plotted this nifty data set:

Then, I asked excel to perform a simple linear regression and spit back the resultant coefficients. Then, using the proffered slope (-0.4257) and intercept (-177.7) I modeled my data, basically by taking my X values (depth) and plugging them into a linear equation. Which, surprisingly enough, didn't give me a linear plot:

Just a tad confused, I then asked excel to do a linear regression in the plot (something I quite frequently do) and again, spit out the regression coefficients. Notice the regression coefficients here (-37.04 for the slope and -138.38 for the intercept) are rather wildly different than the original coefficients excel provided.

Notice that although that line matches my (non-linear) model quite well, those coefficients produce wildly wrong estimates of my data when I actually crunch the numbers--not quite what I was looking for on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. I think I'll be sticking to matlab, thankyouverymuch.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


It's great to have Sylvia and Derrick home. Yesterday was a three-bowl day, between making lemon chess pie for the stake RS conference (so yummy) and bread for Derrick ('cause I was just a little excited to get my husband and daughter back). By three bowl day, I mean I used three mixing bowls in my cooking adventures, which, since I only have two bowls means I washed one and dirtied it twice.

I think Sylvia's grown an inch in the two weeks since I've seen her. She's been pretty clingy, too--while I was gone this morning making the weekly ward bulletin she apparently said ma-ma-ma a lot, which she didn't do in Birmingham. Perhaps what I've been interpreting as not really mama is, in fact, her proto-mama sound and really does have the meaning we adults would like to ascribe to it.

The only bad thing about having her back is that yet again I don't pay much attention to what anybody says at church. But really, to have my daughter again, I can deal with that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Derrick and I both had to take the GRE to get into grad school. We both took it once, he with no preparation beforehand, me with a short course and a few practice tests under my belt. I outscored Derrick by quite a lot. Part of it, I am sure, resulted from my greater preparation, but part of it, I am also sure, resulted from me just being better at the test. In some sense, smarter.

As I type that last sentence, I feel my heart palpitating like I'm saying something wrong, or illicit; like I'm lying. Objectively (as far as a test is an objective measurement of intelligence), I do appear to have a higher IQ (though I must add fudge words like "appear" to my statement--I must have an out). What's so bad about saying it? Why are my palms sweaty and my chest tight, my head ringing and my body brimming with that sense of stillness and nausea I associate with bad things about to happen (like an imminent talk, or a poor grade, or a rejection)? Smarter doesn't mean better, just better at one thing. I have no problem saying I sing better, or I make better pie crust and bread and cookies; no problem admitting I write better (though he is closing the gap as my mind is sucked further into Mommying and away from writing).

Apparently, my inability to consider myself smarter than my husband isn't unique. We do it all the time. All of us do it all the time. To our friends, parents, children, spouses, and to ourselves. It's no wonder our world is still dominated by men when we consider them better, even when evidence suggests there is no discernible difference between genders. It's no wonder we women are more comfortable with men in charge of us--we trust them to be more intelligent, even when the evidence suggests otherwise. I wonder if this difference in perception is part of why we women are so hard on each other (and on ourselves) and so much easier on the men around us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Miss you

So, last week Derrick and Sylvia went to Birmingham and I went to Chicago to work. I ended up staying until Saturday, working really pretty hard to, in the end, only get about 25 samples prepped. Part of my slowness was an understandable learning curve; part was that the prep procedure just takes longer than I was expecting.

I thought Derrick would come home about the same time I did, but he decided he'd rather stay in Birmingham to get more done. Then he stayed a day longer. And another day. And now, it's looking like he's going to stay through the week because his mom is getting an award Friday, all of which means I'm going to be away from Sylvia for nearly two weeks--easily the longest time I've been away from her since she was born. Man, this is hard. I miss her.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Yesterday, while visiting a friend, I noticed Sylvia doesn't react to the crying of another child. She's very responsive to smiles and laughter, but completely unresponsive to crying and screaming (except occasionally when she copies, but usually if she copies a behavior, it's in a funny (though maybe only to her) way). I didn't realize that true empathy isn't something that develops even in the first year. Apparently kids develop charming behavior long before developing true empathy. Just goes to show charming adults is more important to the survival of children than feeling empathy for others.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A step in the right direction

As I mentioned before, Sylvia's started standing up on her own. Today, during Relief Society, she had quite a bit of fun starting from a sitting position, standing, and then sitting right back down again. I must admit, her antics were rather distracting from the video on the stonecutter who carved, "Holiness to the Lord" on the Salt Lake Temple that I was supposed to be watching. Anyway, one of the times she stood she actually took a couple of steps. Not real walking, but she's definitely on her way!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Buush Teess

Sylvia's getting more communicative with her signs, which is pretty cool (mostly). This evening, while I was visiting with a friend, Sylvia was rather adamant in her signing for milk, something I would have preferred to ignore given my fatigue and her inability to nurse longer than 30 seconds at a time. But since she signed, very clearly, I did nurse her and she nursed for a couple of minutes and went back to playing. She's also pretty good at more, and very good at pointing to things she wants.

As for speaking she doesn't have mama or dada down yet. She makes the noises, but not consistently in reference to either of us. I'm guessing that's not much of a surprise since Derrick and I don't refer to one another as mama and dada, so it may still be a while before she knows what to call us (or we realize what she is calling us). Nevertheless, tonight, after Derrick asked if she wanted to brush her teeth, Sylvia said, "buush teess, teess." Probably just an imitation of the sounds he was making, but still way cool.

(Of course, my father in law reminds me her first word was "snack" because of her cry, "nak, nak!")

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stand in the place where you are

For the past couple of weeks Sylvia's been standing on her own for a few seconds--as long as she doesn't realize she's on her own. Today, though, when I got home from work she stood up from a sitting position, without grabbing anything to pull herself up. It won't be long now and she'll be toddling around, terrorizing the neighborhood!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fashion statement

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Yeah, she's figured out how to take off her shirt. Sort of.

If you look really closely, you can see her eighth tooth poking up through her gums.