Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I didn't think I looked addicted...

Did my first day of testing at the addictions treatment facility yesterday. It went remarkably well, in that I had one person booked and three actually agreed to be tested. They are super disorganised there, but also super friendly and helpful (which I think I prefer). Anyway, it is a pretty boring experiment involving pressing buttons on a computer, but at least it is short. I set up the laptop for them and gave them chocolate afterwards - that seemed to go over well. And nobody was phased by being asked pointed questions about their drugs of choice. They were all lovely about sitting through the experiment and happy to help, and also curious about what the point was. Much better than bored/hungover undergrads any day!

The best part, though, was when I showed up to the Admissions building to try and get someone to show me the room where I could test, and some woman asked if I was checking in.

In other news, Oliver gave me a giant box of asparagus from a yield trial (where they just need to weigh the produce and then get rid of it). It has taken over my fridge. I have made asparagus quiche, asparagus soup, asparagus fried rice, and asparagus tacos (not really recommended, though), plus have barbequed them a couple of times with butter, PLUS have had a lot of normal steamed asparagus. Am running out of ways to use it before it all goes bad! I used to hate asparagus as a kid - good thing that changed before now.

Friday, 22 May 2009


Don't worry, my leg didn't fall off. Only the skin on my ankle did (after two weeks of two kinds of antibiotics). Now I have nice pink new skin there and all is good.

Had a pretty busy couple of weeks getting a studentship application in. They are a LOT of work and I don't feel it's very likely I'll get this one, so a crappy return on investment. However, when your supervisor says "apply for this", you can't really say "No, it's probably a bad ROI." I suppose it's good experience, blah blah blah, writing up research proposals and all that. No fun, though.

So I killed myself working on that all last week, handed it in*, and promptly got completely ill and stayed that way for the whole long weekend.

Unfortunately, we also put a good bit of our giant garden in that weekend, and I felt compelled to get out there and do some work despite being diseased. Don't think that helped me heal too quickly. Garden looks great, though. It is actually in two bits - our grand plan for MY garden fell by the wayside when the landlady's husband's daughter and her boyfriend moved into the bottom of my house. They seemed very nice, so the first thing I asked them was, "You guys don't like gardening, do you?" The answer, sadly, was an enthusiastic "YEAH! We can't wait to get out there and get a garden in! We can share the space, right?" Sigh.

So, it was time to rethink. We didn't want to halve our grand garden plans (considering there are five of us in on this, and a tiny garden = not much yield per person). So I cut a deal with the Boys Next Door, who have a massive yard and had just let it all go to weeds. Oliver and I dug a 1050sq ft garden on their side of the fence in return for cutting them in on the food produced. So then the garden looked great but the yard was a mess. This guilted the Boys N. D. into mowing the weeds, getting rid of the garbage, and making a gorgeous fire pit plus two benches. Now their yard looks amazing, we have our garden (half in their yard and half in mine), and the unemployed downstairs neighbour is spending all his time landscaping our yard, so now it looks great too. Moral of the story: always make nice with the neighbours.

So far we have planted potatoes, rocket (arugula), lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, tomatillos (which Del thought would be a cross between a tomato and an armadillo), and huckleberries, which are mysterious to all of us but someone gave to Oliver. This weekend we will do the big plant, although I'm not sure when we will fit it in. I have a conference on fMRI all weekend (organised by my supervisor, so no skipping), a party tonight, and the Boys N. D. are hosting the Beer Olympics tomorrow afternoon at their place. Probably a bit difficult to plant a garden in the midst of people performing the Keg Put and the 100 Litre Dash.

*not without drama - my supervisor did not give me his letter of reference until 2.30 due to printer issues, and the post office closed at 3.00. Although I was only sending it across campus, the instructions declared that the envelope had to be postmarked by 5pm on the deadline. So I ended up sprinting across campus clutching an envelope in one hand and all my attachments in the other, bursting into the post office two minutes before it shut, and frantically scribbling the envelope while the post office lady (who was keen to get started on her long weekend) stood over me ranting about how the mail guy would be there AT 3PM and I better hurry. I only hope it was somewhat legible...