Monday, 26 October 2009


So Steph had to call and tell me what is going on with my family, as per the blog. Possibly something wrong there. I go through phases where I forget to check. I am so jealous of all those going to Scotland... if only silly old Ontario had Fall as well as Spring Reading Week! But alas. I am just counting down the time until Christmas. And my birthday! Although that will likely suck, because... Guelph. But maybe something nice will happen.

Sophie came to visit last weekend and I was SO VERY VERY excited to see her. Love having visitors (and have tested out the futon and know it is comfy, so sort of feel like I have a guest bedroom to offer) (even if only one duvet cover! But don't worry, the duvet cover is always offered to the guest). We had a lovely time doing not very much except chatting - it has been a LONG time. Katie the Newfie came over Saturday night for a bit of an impromptu girls night/craft night (she is attempting to knit a toque and I am making a sock monkey for Del's friend Pauline's baby Chloe) and on Sunday we just sort of wandered around Guelph. Discovered that what I thought was a bakery was a gorgeous upscale-food shop like the one that was down the road from me in Edinburgh. We had some 75% dark chocolate and I got chai masala and some smoked garlic (I am a sucker for spices in lovely tins). Sophie bought me something called Mayan Hot Chocolate: ingredients cocoa liquour, organic sugar, cocoa powder, chili peppers, ginger, orange peel, Madagascar vanilla and "a unique blend of spices". It is amazing! It may or may not be the same thing I had at the Hillside festival, but I love it. Too bad it's so bloody expensive... but since Sophie totally rocks, now I have some :)

Work's going well. I had a look at my data on Friday and it is looking good! very happy about that. This week I have to collect the rest of it (sigh) and then start on a write-up, I guess. I feel like this is a really big deal on one hand, but on the other need to keep thinking about the next thing...

My supervisor also went to a conference last week, so I took his class. I only had to talk to them for ten minutes or so and then meet with groups individually, so wasn't too scary. Felt like it was good experience, though. Oh, and it also wasn't too scary because I had to give a presentation to my Neuroscience class (that I am taking, not teaching) the week before, and TOTALLY STUFFED UP* the powerpoint - so after surviving that, ten minutes of talking to a bunch of fourth-years did not seem scary.

Apart from that, have been very much a homebody lately. It is boring, but on the other hand I am richer and thinner from the lack of alcohol (though the late-night visits to the Salsateria have persisted). I've been to a few gigs, though, because a friend hooked me up with his former roommate Melissa, on the basis that we both hate Guelph. She is doing an internship here and is a big ol' music geek (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) and keeps her ear to the ground about shows and then drags me along. It has been excellent. Last week we saw Ohbijou as well as the Hidden Cameras, because Melissa knows a band member. Yay for getting to hang with the band after the gig! makes me feel special.

Anyway, have done my yoga and had my tea, so off to bed before 11pm hits. Good lord, I am turning into Steph...

*[I made a beautiful, gorgeous powerpoint, emailed it to myself, saved it on my USB drive {or so I thought... dun dun dun} and then went to give the presentation. Two slides in, I realised that half of the slides were wrong - and suddenly came to understand that when I had backed it up to the desktop, I forgot to re-save on the drive... so all my three hours of careful edits were no longer there. However, I had already started talking and it was a bit late to ask to start fiddling about with my email... so I just gave the talk anyway, and had to draw my diagrams that should have been on the slides in living colour on the whiteboard, from memory. Ridiculous. I thought I screwed up bigtime, but after the talk was over, one of the profs told me it was impressive that I didn't need my slides to explain and could do it all from memory... so maybe I pulled it off!]

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Cheap like borscht

I just made some seriously rockin' borscht. This recipe is pretty confusing to follow, but the end result is YUM (and a lovely shade of red). The beets, carrot, potatoes and dill are all out of the garden!

Unfortunately, I am home making borscht on a Saturday night instead of at Nuit Blanche in TO like I should be because I am ill. I'm not as ill as yesterday, so was tempted to go, but it struck me as possibly a bad idea to stay up till 6am in the rain (first Greyhound back is at that time - I have no crash space in TO) while still recovering. I find it odd that no matter what I catch, the main symptom is a massive fever. It's usually one to two days of no ability to thermoregulate whatsoever, and then another day or two of feeling really burnt out and exhausted. I guess it must kill the germs, though - or something.

So, as expected, it's an incredibly busy semester. I am taking a Neuroscience course that is pretty full-on - lots to learn and lots of work. I am TAing two courses, one of which requires the kids to update Wikipedia on a cognitive neuroscience topic as one of their assignments (so I am responsible for first learning to do this, then teaching them to do it!) I managed to end up joining both the TA Administrative Council and the executive of the WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) club, both of which have millions of meetings. And of course I'm writing a review paper and attempting to get some research done. And maybe exercise once in a while (joined an intramural soccer team!)

I think it could be quite a fun semester, as long as I can figure out some way to get everything done. There's always extra stuff too - scholarship applications, helping out the honours students, going to lectures and seminars. It's mostly all stuff I like, but when the pressure is on nothing is fun. Need to figure out how to fit everything in such that the pressure is hardly ever on.

Not being sick would be a good start. Oh well.

Had an excellent trip out to Killarney Park right before the semester started. I went with Mark the neighbour and Reggie, who is German (and therefore did all hiking and portaging in a bikini - and wore less than that the rest of the time). The lakes were amazing. I forget sometimes that Ontario is not all cities... There are only a few campsites per lake, so most of the time there was no one else around at all.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some pictures.

So beautiful. The portaging was hard-core but enjoyable, and it was so nice to be outside for four days straight. Well worth missing the first week of class, I would say! I am definitely going back.