The every day life

Over breakfast, I listen to my exercise science friend talking about the people who have survived the most extreme core temperature drops. A two-year-old who was found outside with a core temperature of 57 degrees is apparently the record. My friend is going over an article for class that she thinks they might be quizzed on, and tells me the stages that a human goes through: when they stop shivering, when they start hallucinating, when “paradoxical undressing” sets in and the victim tears off their clothing to offset the sudden feeling of extreme heat that comes over them.

I had a class cancelled today, and this has made for a relaxing morning, where I can cook myself a hot breakfast and enjoy some tea and science. But hey, I’m no social science major, so I can’t get too used to it. Being a math majoring Spanish minoring part-time working student means no free days during my week. It has its perks, though. When you practically live in Thompson Hall you get to know the ins and outs, chilling with the other math lounge inhabiters, running across a gaggle of courtyard b-ballers, recognizing the faces of each and every coffee-soaked, laptop-tanned Opp devotee. Having class four times a week with a group of less than ten students certainly leads to some class community, too. Last semester in advanced calculus, we established a tradition of bringing in treats to share every Friday. The second semester of the class is even smaller, which means fewer people in the rotation, but also more treats to go around. We’ve been blessed with a non-allergic, non-picky group of people, so dairy’s in, wheat’s in, chocolate chip cookies are a go, peanut butter anything is acceptable, banana bread has made a few well-received appearances, and the crowning reward to the semester was getting to eat zoo animal shaped waffles during the final exam. Ah yes, from pie on March 14th to cupcakes in linear algebra (for when the whole class could take a test without making some previously established common mistake), being a math major is delicious. So far I’ve made only sweet treats for my classmates, but maybe it’s time to branch out. I’m thinking quiche, hum bao, hand-crepes, deviled eggs, shrimp canapés… and maybe it’s time to stop thinking and start making lunch to celebrate this rare chunk of free time in my life.

A Week of Death Plague

Yesterday, thank god, was the first day I  managed to leave my bed without severe regrets in a week.

It started on Monday with a horribly scratchy throat, and by the time I finished class on Tuesday (classes on Tuesday end at 11:00 AM) all I was capable of doing was crawling back into bed and refusing to leave.

On Wednesday, the university sent out an email about the flu. It, apparently, was hitting campus hard, and we were strongly advised to not go to class, really, do not go, until our symptoms had died. It is kind of difficult to miss class because

a) I actually enjoy class and

b) I am spending an awful lot of money for the privilege of going to class and

c) all my classes have participation grades that are partly based on attendance which leads me to

d) I am a giant baby nerd who cries when she gets bad grades.

But, alas, when one is incapable of standing without the world lazily spinning in gentle ovals around you and one’s throat has decided to restrict passage of air and other necessities, and one’s hands—and body—shake like the long-awaited California earthquake has finally hit, albeit highly localized—basically, my roommate threatened to duct tape me to my bed if I even thought about getting out of it.

Ergo, here follows a list of the things I did when sick:

  1. Went through the denial stage of illness and went to class.
  2. Regretted it.
  3. Got into bed.
  4. Did not get out of bed.
  5. Complained frequently.
  6. Refused food.
  7. Except orange juice.
  8. And some chocolate but that’s because. You know. Chocolate.
  9. Watched two and a half seasons of The Legend of Korra.
  10. Remembered that The Legend of Korra is actually an awesome TV show.
  11. Got really emotional because of The Legend of Korra.
  12. Aggressively refused to do homework.
  13. Regretted that too.
  14. Attempted to make everyone else miserable with me, because misery loves company.
  15. Actually did not regret that part.
  16. Drank more orange juice.
  17. Complained some more.
  18. Got my roommate mildly sick. #sorrynotsorry.
  19. Contemplated things I should be doing.
  20. Rolled over in my bed and did not do any of said things I had to do.

I finally dragged my sorry carcass out of bed on Friday, because I was tired of being sick and I had a Very Important Thing on Saturday and basically I had no choice but to recover. It was unpleasant.

Although—I did have an interesting discussion in my last class of the day, International Law in a Political Context, about international law vaccinations, and why you should get them, and remember when we weren’t allowed to go to school without the measles vaccinations, and this is how polio was eradicated does anyone actually want to have polio and did everyone get their flu shot this year?

I actually did, but, as everyone knows, the flu mutates.

I did actually survive the week, and on Saturday I put on both my contact lenses and then mascara and headed off to my Very Important Thing, and pretended to be totally recovered. I was not, but it’s the attitude that helps.

I just tend to get sick of being sick; it gets in the way of my schedule and my planned blog posts and my life and my eating habits. So I have decided that, while that was a wild ride, I am not going to get sick again this semester.

If I do, I will remain in step one: denial.

Stuffed Hearts

February can be a long, dull, gray month. The holidays are over but the sun hasn’t decided to come out yet. There’s mud everywhere and way too many smashed worms on the sidewalk. There’s an explosion of pink hearts around the fourteenth, but if you’re single that doesn’t really help much. All it does is remind us that, yeah, we’re still single. To all you happy couples out there I have only one word of advice: chocolate. But as for the rest of us, we may need a little something more to get us through our February malaise.

I recommend community service. Last night I participated in a Phi Eta Sigma event where we sewed little hearts and made valentines for children in need. They’re intended as comfort objects for children who are ill or who have recently lost a loved one.

When I was first born I was very sick. I had accidentally inhaled my meconium  (feces) in the womb and I had the umbilical cord knotted around my neck. I came out gray. One of the nurses was kind enough to make a little picture of me for my mom. I still have that picture today. It hangs on my wall, surrounded by my karate trophies. Mom has told me many times how happy that image makes her, how it reminds her of the healthy strong woman I’ve become. Before we move this summer, she’s going to get a picture of it to take with her to our new home. Being able to do something similar for a child in need is very rewarding for me.

I’m not the world’s best sewer. The last time I sewed was in elementary school, under the supervision of a crabby old woman named Winky Cherry. I was more interested in getting each project done fast than doing it well (I was in elementary school). I switched to knitting in fourth grade and haven’t looked back since. As a result I had to get well…creative with some of my stitches. But everything held together and in the end I had two little puffball hearts to give to children as comfort objects. Personally, my favorite comfort object is my cat. But stuffed hearts are good to—for one thing there’s a lot less kneading involved.

It felt really good to be able to do something for someone else so I definitely recommend it to all you fellow singles out there. And you know what, I recommend it to all you starry-eyed couples too.


Three or four times a day, a plane will fly over the University of Puget Sound. Professors will pause mid-sentence as they teach, waiting for the noise to fade, while students walking below will take out their earphones and search the sky. Sometimes they will see the plane, low over the campus; other times the clouds will hide the jet from sight. But no matter the type of plane or the time of the day, one thing never changes—the silence that follows.

I leave the library, head back to my dorm. It’s overcast, but the sunlight still peeks around the edges of the clouds. I think about what homework I have left to do. No, don’t think of that. I think that I haven’t posted on the blog in a while. Two weeks? That’s a while. I think, What can I write about?

Today the Finnegans Wake reading group recommences—that is, after a break for winter vacation. I remember just as I enter my dorm. It meets in ten minutes. So I say bye to my room and head back out. I’m convinced that Joyce is someone I will never understand. Reading his work is like trying to get to the center of a giant lollipop, lick by lick. And when you get there, you find a giant cricket; you prod it with your tongue to see if there’s something more, and then you vomit. Or else you’re just not getting it. We get through about a page each time we meet.

Then that’s over and I think I can go back to my room. But I remember that I have to meet with a group for a project that cannot wait, and that I’m late. I sigh, or groan, or do both at once, and fast-walk to the library, because what is life if you’re not tracing and retracing your steps? Out of the library, into the library. I take the steps by two and find the room they’ve set up in. I forgot my laptop.

But this isn’t a record of a twenty-year-old’s angst.


A plane crashes in Taipei.


I’m outside in the drizzle, talking to a friend I haven’t talked to in a while. He’s telling me about the snow on the East Coast, how cold it is right now. A plane flies low overhead; I am deafened to my friend. I raise my voice to speak, but I’m not getting through. I wait it out, try to walk in the opposite direction.

The plane passes and everything is silent. I sigh and tell him I’ll talk to him soon, I have to go now. A lamplight turns on above me. The sun sets behind a mountain; it has just risen in Taipei.

Back at my dorm, a suitemate of mine is eating a lollipop. He sucks it for a while, then bites, cracking it in two. He throws the stem in the garbage can. Want to go to the library tonight? he asks.

Maybe I’m just not getting it.

Fun fact: the Puget Sound crew team is 52 years old.

Novice year 4 first win

My high school novice team won our first race of the season. But as a former coach used to say, novice races aren’t won by skill, but by the boat that manages to go in the straightest line.

I started rowing when I was a freshman in high school.  My sister had joined the team the year before (because there were cute guys), and I joined because she joined.  I probably weighed about 105 pounds when I started, and the first 2k test that I ever pulled was over ten minutes.  (For context, a decent female high school rower would have a 2k time in the low 8 minutes or below.)  I decided that I would row for a couple of years, but quit before my senior year so I could concentrate on other things, like piano.

Well, sophomore year I found myself in the lightweight 4+ boat, which had won the state championships the year before and of which I was in awe.  It was fun to do well in races and see the improvement that I had made from the year before, so I decided that I couldn’t possibly quit on my high school teammates but that there was no way I was going to row in college – I couldn’t handle the pressure, and besides, I didn’t think I was good enough.

Junior year, I started looking at colleges, and always eventually found myself on their athletics websites, looking for crew teams.  Whenever I could, I would fill out one of the online “prospective student-athlete” forms, but didn’t expect anything to come of it.

Senior year, the head crew coach for Franklin & Marshall College contacted me, and that was when the idea of rowing in college became possible to me.  We scheduled a meeting, during which he asked where else I was applying.  I mentioned Puget Sound sort of as an aside – it was so much farther away than the rest of my schools, I hadn’t even visited, no one from my area had really heard of it, but somehow it was still on my list.

“Oh,” he said, “Puget Sound has the best DIII team on the West Coast.”

Fast forward a few years, and the spring championship season of my final year of representing the University of Puget Sound on the water is beginning.  (Racing schedule is here!) I don’t know what will happen this season, but I am proud to be a part of the legacy that is Logger Crew.

Where do I Know you?

This past Wednesday I saw someone I knew while I was going to the library to print out my response paper and we started a conversation. During that conversation, we discovered that neither one of us remembered where we had met each other. We still haven’t figured it out yet.

UPS is a small school so you will run into faces you recognize. You will not necessarily remember, the names, majors, or places attached to those faces. If you’re lucky you might recall some random fact about the person i.e. that they once worked a lousy housekeeping job at a hotel somewhere. Tonight I had the following conversation.

“I know we’ve met but I can’t remember where. Can you tell me?”

“I’m in your memoir class and I’m a friend of Laura’s. We’ve eaten lunch together.”

“Oh. Wow.”

“Don’t feel bad though, I didn’t specifically introduce myself. I’m just really good at remembering faces.”

“Do you have any tricks for that?”

“No, I’m just good at it.”

While this is nice for her, it doesn’t do much for the rest of us. My theory is that our minds are so stuffed full of academics that there’s no room for little details like people’s names, or by the end of final’s week, our own names. My thesis, internship, and connections presentation are all fighting each other for space in my brain. Things like other people’s majors don’t stand a chance.

When I forget who someone is I smile and ask where we’ve met before. This usually works pretty well. Most of us here at UPS are friendly. We’re not going to freak out if someone forgets a name. We’ll just watch you blush while we reintroduce ourselves. We may even tell you something new that helps you remember us next time.

So the upshot is; if you forget names you’re not alone. I do it too, more often than I would like. Also, if I forgot your name at some point, I’m sorry. Consider this my blush.

PS: I finally found out where I met the girl in the library. It was at logjam last semester. So there is hope.

How Do They Do It?

When I was applying to college I was always curious about how much time studying and clubs would take up my daily life and if I would ever get enough free time. Or if it was alot of free time and I could frolic about campus. There’s the suggestion that for every hour you are in class there are 2-3 hours of work that you do outside of class. It’s not true for all of my classes.

Thought you would want a look at what my average week looks like. Though this isn’t standard for every student it gives a clearer picture. As I have mentioned before my planner is my life. So, I have everything in there.

On the left side, I have deadlines and weekly agenda. There is space for random notes and things and my daily checklist for the week.

On the right side, I have my actual schedule/calendar and a space for me to write my daily itinerary. I am only taking three classes this semester so my schedule is light. I color code things. Red is for school things for example.

I need to have that daily itinerary to actually see how much time I have to budget for certain things. It helps keep me in check. When I register for classes, creating example itineraries for each potential class schedule (I know I am crazy), I can tell if I am putting too much on my plate. I have an odd mindset where if there is an available time slot, I will fill it up with something thinking I have time for it and not thinking about the work for whatever activity.

I spend anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours on a class. When I took French it was thirty minutes since I pick up languages really easily. In my reading classes it takes an hour to two hours depending on the reading. And problem sets and computer science homework can take anywhere from two to four hours. NOT EVERYDAY OF COURSE. I pick my classes so I can TRY to have an A/B schedule.

Hope this makes the college schedule alot less vague!