Friday, May 28, 2010


I am so tired. We're in Birmingham with all of our stuff. So, so much stuff. I knew we had a lot, but there's just so much. It's so hard to get rid of, too--I know what it would take to replace. But we have to go through things--again--and decide what we REALLY need and what we can do without, and hope it's okay that we're leaving an enormous pile of boxes in Derrick's parents' basement.

I am so tired.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A day without my daughter

This morning I left before my daughter woke up. Then, I came home after my daughter went to bed. In between I had a wonderful day doing lab work--doing something that makes me feel fulfilled and happy in a way few other things do.

Which is probably why I'm so anxious about moving to San Diego. I won't have a job there, unless I happen to get a grant (a grant I haven't applied for, or even really started writing yet). Even if I do get a grant, there will be some months in there where I won't have a job and won't have a babysitter even if there's work I'd like to do. Whatever happens, moving to San Diego is going to mean giving up academics for a while, and particularly giving up lab work. I'm sad about that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Biker girl

Sylvia really likes to bike. And wander around nearly naked in her cool new biking helmet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A good excuse

Every Friday a few of my friends with young kids get together for a play date. I've always wanted to go, but, since I work, I've never had time. I don't have time now, but this morning went anyway because Derrick had an appointment with a doctor and I was 'stuck' with Sylvia. (Derrick dislocated his pinky on his birthday and though it's mostly healed, he doesn't have his full range of motion back)

The planned activity (which impresses me since I never plan activities for my child) was decorating 'cars' (cardboard boxes) and then watching the movie "Cars" while sitting in the cardboard cars. Since we're moving soon, we have plenty of cardboard boxes laying around (though I didn't bother to decorate them.

I had a lot of fun and took a few pictures of the fun. Here's a picture of Sylvia falling into her box:

A couple of my friends watching:

Heather used to watch Sylvia, and the two still share a special bond.

This guy was amazingly smiley for a two month old!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We got home yesterday, after something like 6,000 miles of driving in two and a half weeks. It's great to be home, even if this will only be home for another week (or less). The best part--not driving. Cross-country trips are fun, but they're a lot more fun with adults rather than 1 3/4-year-olds.

Sylvia did pretty well, all things considered. By the end she entertained herself in the car (which is a miracle that has graciously extended into the rest of life!) and was a little nicer to her parents (kind of). She uh, did tell us she was done at least a dozen times a day. The first day was the best--she signed and spoke done!, then go! with an improvised sign indicating steering a car. We definitely got the picture. The cool thing about the timing of this trip is that it apparently coincided with a verbal explosion for my daughter--something I'm glad to have watched. I think she picked up at least a word a day--some of them (as you might expect, given her parents) a bit on the weird side. We purchased a little magnetic drawing board ($2 at Michael's) and worked on letters with her. She's now proficient at identifying A, B, M, O, T, and delta.

Yes, my husband is attempting to teach her Greek letters along with Roman. He uses them daily, so obviously they'll be of great use to her as well (I truly hope that's actually the case). We joke about raising our child to be nerdy, warping her into the kind of girl who will eschew makeup and clothes in favor of books and math; we may not have to work very hard (though only time will tell--she's still got a lot of growing up to do, and she does love her clothes!)

I loved my daughter as a baby, but she's so much fun now that she's a little older--more independent, more inquisitive, more charming. There must be some set of genes that imbues children with the instinct for charm. I don't know where else my child would get the mannerisms that melt the hearts of so many adults she encounters. She's a great kid, and I'm lucky to be her mom.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bobbing along

We have a place to live. It's going to be about an hour bike ride for Derrick every day, but it's a price we can afford, has two bedrooms and a garage, and even has a bit of a yard out front.

I'm ambivalent about moving back to California. I loved going to school here, but going to school means you're pretty insulated from many of the difficulties of living in California--traffic and housing being two prominent ones. The weather's gorgeous, the scenery spectacular, and it's all very expensive. 'Cause everyone wants to live here, right? I mean, California is the land of golden opportunity, so who wouldn't want to pay through the nose for the privilege of living (even in an impoverished state) in this wonderfulness?

And yet, at the same time it truly is a wonderful, beautiful place, and there are a lot of opportunities here that just don't exist in most places. This isn't where I want to land permanently, but it will be a nice place to spend the next couple of years. I'm sad to leave my comfortable life here in Indiana, and particularly sad about leaving the friends I've made here. I love my next door neighbor and her family--they've been family while we've been here and I hope that friendship continues long after we've moved. I'm sure I'll find new friends (after the six months it takes me to get warmed up and comfy)--but I will miss the ones I leave here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fer sure

So, Derrick and I were driving through the Mojave desert and I, cautious driver that I am, was only going about 5 over the speed limit. The road through the Mojave is much less traveled than I-15, especially on a Sunday. It's not completely deserted, though--at one point two vehicles came up behind me, obviously wanting to go about the same speed they'd be able to do on I-15. After they blew past me I said, "Wow, I'm like totally holding up traffic."

Derrick's comment: "Kristine's only been in California for a few hours and she's already got a Valley girl accent."

I'm a little ambivalent about this move for a variety of reasons, but it's pretty much our only realistic option at the moment. I'd get more into it, but it's late, we've driven a long time, and I want to go to bed. So, in the mean time, enjoy some pictures from our drive through the Mojave.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dr. Hasterok

To no one's great surprise, Derrick successfully defended his dissertation. The defense was really pretty fun--definitely more of a formality, and everyone in the room knew it. One of Derrick's labmates passed out seminar bingo for us all to play. Amazingly, Derrick had a laptop malfunction! Three times, actually. His laptop spontaneously decided to reboot in the middle of his presentation. The whole thing was pretty fast--Derrick started at about 1 and was done by 3.

I dragged Derrick away from the congratulations of his labmates to relieve Melissa of Sylvia and then my Mom and Melissa went back to Grantsville to feed the dogs. Derrick's decided to make wine bottle stoppers for all his committee members, so my Dad, Derrick, Sylvia, and I went to Woodcraft to pick up the hardward Derrick needs. Sylvia had a blast, I think mostly because she loves being with her Grandpa (who she calls by a name that's strangely similar to 'bubbles'). She giggles and plays and cuddles with him, I think in much the same way we kids used to.

We joined my Mom and Melissa for dinner at Rodizio grill. Sylvia fell asleep on the way to Trolley Square, which was not the best news. Yesterday she fell asleep on the way to dinner at Bombay house after refusing to take a nap all afternoon at Mimi's. Yesterday she woke up when we moved her and was clingy all through dinner; tonight she slept through the move into the restaurant, but not through the drums the waiters use to announce birthdays. By the end of dinner she was rather punchy, spending several minutes throwing herself backward in her Dad's arms.

Today was a great day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


This morning Derrick was wearing his "MIT--because not everyone can go to Caltech" shirt, which has "MIT" on the front and the rest of that message on the back. Sylvia, after pouncing on her father's head until he emerged from his covers, pointed to the M and said, "emm," then pointed to the T and said, "tee." The two of us try very hard to be realistic about our daughter's acheivements, but I admit, I was very impressed, thinking maybe all the Dr. Suess ABC's was sinking in. Derrick was obviously excited, too. Then she pointed back to the M and said, "fie" (five). So close, kid. So close.