kareina: (me)
Mom took us kids to Alaska for a two week vacation, and we never left. Well, eventually, but not for a long time.

We had been living in Texas for about three years, and during that time our dad retired from the military, then, after some time also living in Texas, where we got to see him every weekend, he moved to Alaska and started working as a laborer on the Pipeline. A couple of years later mom decided that it was time to take us kids north for a visit, as she had never been to Alaska and always wanted to go. I remember being told at the time that children flying alone had to pay full price, but if accompanied by a parent they got half price. If so then it makes even more sense that we all three went.

Our first stop was in the Fairbanks area, where dad's youngest brother, Lenny, his wife, and their three children were living. Dad picked us up at the airport and we went to his brother's place, where we stayed for some days. Those cousins were all three younger than Beth (who was 6 at the time, and I was 9), but all were old enough to enjoy playing with, and we enjoyed the stay there. They had a vegetable garden, and the carrots and raspberries were ripe, and I remember delighting in eating them straight from the plant. I had never had the chance to do that before. They also kept goats. I will never forget my first, unexpected, taste of goat's milk. After being tucked into bed that first night I was thirsty, and for some reason asked for a cup of milk instead of a glass of water. Mom brought me one, but it was very strangely sweet. I don't think I finished it. In addition to having fun at their house we also went to the tourist attraction Alaska Land, which was full of historical stuff and people in gold rush era costumes, and to Santa Claus House in North Pole.

After we left the Fairbanks area we took the drive south, through some truly beautiful mountains, (I especially loved Rainbow Mountain), with a stop at Paxson Lodge (which seems to have closed a few years ago) to the home of Unlce Joe, another of my dad's brothers, at mile 151 of the Richardson Highway, about three miles north of Sourdough Lodge, (which burned down some years ago). Uncle Joe's cabin was a picture-perfect old style log cabin, in the forest on the shores of a pretty lake, with an outhouse, a proper cashe (like this one), and a few more outbuildings. We stayed there a day or two, and Beth and I had ever so much fun playing in the woods and reading Joe's book on rocks and minerals (this was the start of the path that led to my becoming a geologist).

Then we went one mile further down the road to the home of uncle Bubzy (yet another of Dad's brothers) and aunt Ciel. They lived in a house that was a little bit bigger than Joe's cabin, which is a good thing, as they had five sons. Steve and Ray are two and three years older than I, Karl is between Beth and I in age, and Jon and Joe are one and two years younger than Beth. Arriving at this cabin was like coming home. Their lake was even prettier than Joe's to my eye, and this house was full of toys and people to play with. All of the boys were delightful, but Jon earned a special place in my heart that very first night. The boy's room was a very small room, just big enough to hold two sets of bunk-beds set at right angles too one another, and a trundle bed under one of the sets of bunks. That first night we stayed there I got to sleep in the trundle bed, mostly slid under the bunk above, but pulled a little bit out so I could breath. Jon had the bunk above me, with his head on the opposite end to mine, and I remember holding his hand and smiling at one another till we fell asleep, still holding hands.

The next day mom, aunt Ciel, and aunt Josie (dad's sister who lived nearby at the time) took off on a road trip to Anchorage, leaving us kids with our dads. We kids had a fabulous time together while our moms were away and the time flew by till they returned a couple of days later, and mom announced "I got a job, we are moving". Much to my delight, she decided to leave us with our cousins while she returned to Texas, sold the house, sold the car, bought a pick up truck, filled it with what it would hold and sold the rest at a garage sale, then drove it north. By the time she returned for us, a week or so later, I had been completely assimilated--my cousin's house felt like my home, and I didn't want to leave. However, mom insisted, and we did, in fact, move to Anchorage, a four hour drive to the south. I am glad that we did, because Anchorage had one thing that Bubzy's cabin lacked: Mountains! But it was sad to leave the boys behind.

Luckily, Mom remained good friends with Ciel and Bubz, so we made it up to their cabin several times a year, sometimes just for a weekend, sometimes for longer periods, and, until I found the SCA, it was always my first choice of a place to go if we had time and budget for a road trip. Even after I found the SCA I still got back up there at every opportunity. The nicest display of northern lights I have ever seen I saw standing in the middle of their lake one winter night, when I had gone out to use the outhouse, and stayed out to appreciate the show.

Before Donnan and I moved to Arizona by way of the SCA-20 year Anniversary event in Texas, I insisted that we take the detour up the Richardson highway to visit my cousins before doubling back to the highway going to Canada and then south. I haven't made it back to Alaska since 2009, when I didn't get to visit the cabin again, but I did get to see all five boys and their various wives and children. Years may elapse between each visit, but the connection is still there. Lately I have been chatting with Jon fairly often on line, and am trying to convince him that he wants to visit Sweden. I don't know if I will manage, but the conversations sure have been bringing up the old memories. It surprised me when I did the math and realize just how long it has been since we did that "vacation" back in 1976...
kareina: (me)
My stuff was delivered yesterday around 17:30--they just dropped the pallets off at the door and we unwrapped the plastic from around them and brought the stuff into the house. A bunch of our friends, some truly wonderful guys who live a short walk away, came over and helped us carry stuff inside. We fed them some cookies, and they hurried on their way. The evening was then spent happily organizing stuff in preparation for unpacking. [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive got the server cabinet moved to the other side of the closet in which it resides, so now we can access the clothes hanging rod in that closet and have a space to store the garb. I assembled my paperback shelves and we got them attached to the wall and ready to fill. If one counts the shelves I have now unpacked 12 of the 50 items that have been shipped. I would have loved to do more, but we needed to get to sleep at a reasonable hour, since today is a day that [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive has to start his work day with a four hour drive, which meant that he had to get up at 04:00 so that he would get to the site at a reasonable hour. Therefore I managed to restrain myself and *not* start unpacking any of the boxes of kitchen stuff.

The plan for today is to focus on finishing the editing job which is due tonight (I managed to complete the first pass before the stuff arrived, so now it is just a matter of reading it a couple more times and tweaking it a bit to read even better) and, if there is still time get the kitchen stuff unpacked and washed and arranged in an organized manner on the table and counter, so that once he gets home he can see what needs to be fit into the cupboards and we can work out together where things will live, and if there are now duplicate items if we want to get rid the extras, store them, or if they will be used and so kept. I also have Swedish class to attend. But I may need a nap first--getting up at 04:00 when one didn't go to bed till nearly midnight isn't the best thing to keep one's energy levels up...
kareina: (Default)
On Friday I turned four, for the fifth time.

The first time I turned four was 1970, and I were living in Germany with both of my parents and my baby sister, who had been born in August--I can still remember looking down at my pyjamas (cream with a repeated purple pattern) and saying "But I don't *feel* any different"--I know that the build up to my birthday had been intense and full of anticipation. While the pile of loot lived up to (exceeded?) expectations, I had been expecting four to feel different from three..

The second time I turned four was 1980, I was living in the house on Lovejoy Drive in Anchorage (with a wonderful view of the Chugach Mountain Range out out living room window) with my mother and sister--dad and his girlfriend lived across town in an apartment. The year before I had made the conscious decision to enter my second childhood on my 13th birthday, because I didn't approve of teenagers, and didn't wish to be one.

The third time I turned four was 1990, living in Anchorage again, and I was preparing to move to Eugene Oregon because I had decided to major in geology, and that wasn't an option at UAA, so it was necessary to either leave state or move to Fairbanks. Since it was time to end things with the monogamist I'd tried dating, but couldn't cope with his jealousy issues, I opted to leave state, and many happy adventures in An Tir and many new friends were the result.

The fourth time I turned four was in 2000, I was living in California with the Bard of the West and taking classes in massage therapy, and finding vocational school so easy after having done a Master of Science in Geology.

Now it is 2010, and I am preparing to leave Italy after 1.5 years of my first post-doctoral research project, seeking gainful employment in my field somewhere on Earth, and looking forward to my trip to Sweden next month to visit friends and enjoy some real winter (that lasts longer than a couple of days) for the first time since I left Anchorage a decade ago.

Other folk might think it odd to count my age from 0 to 12 the first time, and then from 3 to 12 each decade thereafter, but it works for me, and it means never having to be a toddler, a teenager, or an old person.


This year's birthday was quite fun--the morning started with a view of the Alps from my apartment, since the rain we'd been having finally cleared. Then I got to spend the day doing analyses with the electron microprobe. I like playing with expensive analytical equipment, and there is just something powerful feeling about using a machine that requires four separate monitors on one computer and another on another just to operate it. Add my notebook computer into the mix (to store photos of the sample with analysis location points marked) and it can be a challenge to reach for the correct mouse to accomplish each task. In the evening I enjoyed yet another long skpye conversation with a friend in Sweden and went for a walk to enjoy the cool night air.

Because I was busy all day Friday I extended my birthday celebration onto Saturday, when I baked a yummy cake and a loaf of bread. The cake was frosted with cream and the bread just baked when my friend and her mom arrived for a visit. We had a very nice visit, plenty of food, and her mom even gave me a short singing lesson before they left. I then came in to uni, thinking I should process the data I'd generated on Friday, on the off chance that any of it wasn't usable I could return to the lab and try again before my samples are taken out of the probe on Monday morning. However, I got distracted visiting with friends on line and had a lovely evening instead of working. I did make time to submit a quick job application, since the deadline for that one was today, but that was all I accomplished beyond just enjoying the day. (Don't get me wrong, there is much value in enjoying days, and it is pretty high on my list of things to do, but I am aware of the fact that month's end is approaching, and that I need to be done with work and packing and out of here on time to make my flight to Sweden on 1 January.)

This morning I actually spent a couple of hours at home and got a couple of loads of laundry done and a couple of boxes packed. Alas, my old computer wouldn't say on when I tried it, so I am reduced to writing the box inventory with pen and paper, to be typed up later. Therefore I should post this, type up the inventory so far (11 boxes, all of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's stuff (9 of books, two of the kitchen stuff he wanted, or I didn't want)), process yesterday's data, and perhaps even reply to personal mail.
kareina: (me)
Tuesday I received the examiner's report. Wednesday they delivered my boxes. These two facts alone would be enough to keep me very, very busy. Add to that experiments to upload, microprobe time, a conference next month to prepare for...

I saw the first bad news about the box delivery while the delivery guys were still there--we unwrapped all of the odd-shaped items from the huge sheets of bubble wrap, and set the resultant giant bag of bubble wrap away with the delivery guys. This means that I found out straight away that when the movers in Tassie "packed" my trike all they did was wrap a single large sheet of bubble wrap around it--they made no attempt to box it or do anything to protect it from pressure. As a result one of the wheels is seriously bent and the trike is totally un-rideable. I am particularly annoyed by this because I packed everything else myself, taking care to protect everything that could possibly be damaged. I had intended to put the folded trike into a large box, and then put my bean-bag chair into the same box to keep it from shifting around during transit. However, I didn't find a large enough box in the Uni box-store room, and ran out of time to go to a store and purchase a large box. When the shipping guys arrived I told them that I had wanted to put it into a box but ran out of time to do so, and they assured me that they were good at packing bikes and odd shaped things, and they would be fine with it. I still had things to pack in the back room, so I left them to it, and didn't see the results of their failed attempt at packing till it arrived.

On Wednesday I was a little surprised when the shippers said that that was the last of it and the truck was empty, but the pile looked more or less large enough. Today I finally managed to get the last of the large boxes unpacked so that there was enough room to move the pile of smaller boxes around so that we could see the numbers and compare them to our inventory. As it turns out there are seven items missing. Consulting the inventory the missing boxes and suitcase contains things like all of my best linen, wool, and silk for sewing projects, my highschool and university diplomas, a variety of good books, including some of the Harry Potter books, some of the books my mother wrote containing her memories, the music books I bought to learn to play my hammer dulcimer.

I've sent the list to the shipping companies who had control of my things in transit. I really, really hope they can find them!

This weekend I need to finish getting pdfs of my thesis ready for printing so that they can be at the printers in Tassie when they open on Monday, open and polish the capsules from my second experiment, get the data from today's microprobe session into the correct format for use in Mathmatica (and hope that we can figure out why the program isn't yet properly dealing with the routines my colleagues have written on my computer, when the same files work fine on theirs soon), get the boxes unpacked and the stuff organized. Does anyone have an extra five days I can borrow so that I can get it all done before Monday?
kareina: (me)
Tuesday I received the examiner's report. Wednesday they delivered my boxes. These two facts alone would be enough to keep me very, very busy. Add to that experiments to upload, microprobe time, a conference next month to prepare for...

I saw the first bad news about the box delivery while the delivery guys were still there--we unwrapped all of the odd-shaped items from the huge sheets of bubble wrap, and set the resultant giant bag of bubble wrap away with the delivery guys. This means that I found out straight away that when the movers in Tassie "packed" my trike all they did was wrap a single large sheet of bubble wrap around it--they made no attempt to box it or do anything to protect it from pressure. As a result one of the wheels is seriously bent and the trike is totally un-rideable. I am particularly annoyed by this because I packed everything else myself, taking care to protect everything that could possibly be damaged. I had intended to put the folded trike into a large box, and then put my bean-bag chair into the same box to keep it from shifting around during transit. However, I didn't find a large enough box in the Uni box-store room, and ran out of time to go to a store and purchase a large box. When the shipping guys arrived I told them that I had wanted to put it into a box but ran out of time to do so, and they assured me that they were good at packing bikes and odd shaped things, and they would be fine with it. I still had things to pack in the back room, so I left them to it, and didn't see the results of their failed attempt at packing till it arrived.

On Wednesday I was a little surprised when the shippers said that that was the last of it and the truck was empty, but the pile looked more or less large enough. Today I finally managed to get the last of the large boxes unpacked so that there was enough room to move the pile of smaller boxes around so that we could see the numbers and compare them to our inventory. As it turns out there are seven items missing. Consulting the inventory the missing boxes and suitcase contains things like all of my best linen, wool, and silk for sewing projects, my highschool and university diplomas, a variety of good books, including some of the Harry Potter books, some of the books my mother wrote containing her memories, the music books I bought to learn to play my hammer dulcimer.

I've sent the list to the shipping companies who had control of my things in transit. I really, really hope they can find them!

This weekend I need to finish getting pdfs of my thesis ready for printing so that they can be at the printers in Tassie when they open on Monday, open and polish the capsules from my second experiment, get the data from today's microprobe session into the correct format for use in Mathmatica (and hope that we can figure out why the program isn't yet properly dealing with the routines my colleagues have written on my computer, when the same files work fine on theirs soon), get the boxes unpacked and the stuff organized. Does anyone have an extra five days I can borrow so that I can get it all done before Monday?

21 weeks

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:49 pm
kareina: (me)
21 weeks ago today my boxes of stuff were picked up by the moving company. They told me that it would take 10 to 12 weeks to get them to Milan. Last week their UK counterpart told me that I should get them on Wednesday of this week.

21 weeks ago tomorrow I printed my thesis and left it with my advisor to be bound and submitted. Today my advisor tells me he's surprised that I've not yet heard back from the examiners, that it has been a few weeks since their report was turned in. He also told me that he's not permitted to give me any details till I see the report for myself. He later checked with the department head, who says that he filed his report on 29 Oct, so I should get official word soon.

21 weeks ago Wednesday I boarded a plane for my brief holiday between being a PhD student and starting the life of a post-doc.

17 weeks ago Wednesday I arrived in Milan.

since then I've:

* dealt with a ton of paperwork required when one re-locates to Italy

* found a place to live, across the street from my office, and acquired what I hope will be sufficent shelves to store my stuff when it arrives

* done *lots* of reading on the things I need to know to run experiments

* ran two experiments and have a third ready to start

* had one microprobe session to analyse the results of the experiment, and have the next one scheduled

* started learning to use the program mathmaticia to process the data generated by the microprobe

* attended a conference in Scotland

* had an abstract accepted to present a poster at a major conference in San Francisco in December (and received a travel grant to attend said conference)

* organized a regular SCA dance practice, attended Drachenwald Crown tournament, and made new friends locally who either have been or are interested in being part of the SCA

* made myself a nice linen skirt, a decent wool tunic (and started embroidering it), am making good progress on a nice silk/wool blend tunic, taken in a couple of shirts and a dress to make them fit better

* Enrolled in an Italian Language course, and had mostly kept on top of the homework, even if I've had to miss a couple of lessons due to work

* done one draft of a paper for publication from my research, and discovered that it needs major revision, and some additional modelling

* started trying to learn the additional skills I'll need to accomplish that modeling

* edited for grammar one paper written by a colleague in India, and did some work on figures for that paper and for another for which I'm a co-author

* shared information on things I'm learning on my geology blog

* continued to maintain my daily yoga, and most-days walking or dancing for exercise

* learned where to purchase the things I need to maintain the healthy diet I enjoy

* made it to the Alps three times for minor adventures

* hosted a couple of old friends, and some new friends (met through couch surfing)

* helped friends with their costuming

* attended a couple of BBQs and a couple of parties

* managed to read a few books for fun

Yet, for all that, I still feel like I'm behind and there is so much more to do! Before I fly out for that conference and my Alaska holiday in December I need to:

* run one more experiment

* process all of the data from the experiments and create a beautiful poster full of exciting information obtained there from

* do whatever the examiner's report says needs to happen to complete my degree

* unpack my boxes and put everything away

* finish the winter coat I started ages ago, and shipped in a "close to done state" so that I'll have something to wear when I go to Alaska

* build a spice cabinet so I'll have some place to put my spice jars

* keep doing my Italian homework and attending class

* take in my bileaut to fit so that I can bring it to wear at 12th night, decide what sewing project to take with me when I travel, and make certain it is ready for stitching without scissors on the flight

* try to find time to do the modelling I want to do for that paper, and see if I can actually write the paper, or, perhaps, start writing the other one we discussed doing.

21 weeks

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:49 pm
kareina: (me)
21 weeks ago today my boxes of stuff were picked up by the moving company. They told me that it would take 10 to 12 weeks to get them to Milan. Last week their UK counterpart told me that I should get them on Wednesday of this week.

21 weeks ago tomorrow I printed my thesis and left it with my advisor to be bound and submitted. Today my advisor tells me he's surprised that I've not yet heard back from the examiners, that it has been a few weeks since their report was turned in. He also told me that he's not permitted to give me any details till I see the report for myself. He later checked with the department head, who says that he filed his report on 29 Oct, so I should get official word soon.

21 weeks ago Wednesday I boarded a plane for my brief holiday between being a PhD student and starting the life of a post-doc.

17 weeks ago Wednesday I arrived in Milan.

since then I've:

* dealt with a ton of paperwork required when one re-locates to Italy

* found a place to live, across the street from my office, and acquired what I hope will be sufficent shelves to store my stuff when it arrives

* done *lots* of reading on the things I need to know to run experiments

* ran two experiments and have a third ready to start

* had one microprobe session to analyse the results of the experiment, and have the next one scheduled

* started learning to use the program mathmaticia to process the data generated by the microprobe

* attended a conference in Scotland

* had an abstract accepted to present a poster at a major conference in San Francisco in December (and received a travel grant to attend said conference)

* organized a regular SCA dance practice, attended Drachenwald Crown tournament, and made new friends locally who either have been or are interested in being part of the SCA

* made myself a nice linen skirt, a decent wool tunic (and started embroidering it), am making good progress on a nice silk/wool blend tunic, taken in a couple of shirts and a dress to make them fit better

* Enrolled in an Italian Language course, and had mostly kept on top of the homework, even if I've had to miss a couple of lessons due to work

* done one draft of a paper for publication from my research, and discovered that it needs major revision, and some additional modelling

* started trying to learn the additional skills I'll need to accomplish that modeling

* edited for grammar one paper written by a colleague in India, and did some work on figures for that paper and for another for which I'm a co-author

* shared information on things I'm learning on my geology blog

* continued to maintain my daily yoga, and most-days walking or dancing for exercise

* learned where to purchase the things I need to maintain the healthy diet I enjoy

* made it to the Alps three times for minor adventures

* hosted a couple of old friends, and some new friends (met through couch surfing)

* helped friends with their costuming

* attended a couple of BBQs and a couple of parties

* managed to read a few books for fun

Yet, for all that, I still feel like I'm behind and there is so much more to do! Before I fly out for that conference and my Alaska holiday in December I need to:

* run one more experiment

* process all of the data from the experiments and create a beautiful poster full of exciting information obtained there from

* do whatever the examiner's report says needs to happen to complete my degree

* unpack my boxes and put everything away

* finish the winter coat I started ages ago, and shipped in a "close to done state" so that I'll have something to wear when I go to Alaska

* build a spice cabinet so I'll have some place to put my spice jars

* keep doing my Italian homework and attending class

* take in my bileaut to fit so that I can bring it to wear at 12th night, decide what sewing project to take with me when I travel, and make certain it is ready for stitching without scissors on the flight

* try to find time to do the modelling I want to do for that paper, and see if I can actually write the paper, or, perhaps, start writing the other one we discussed doing.
kareina: (Default)
When I first looked at the apartment I wound up renting we noticed that it lacked things like a toilet seat and towel rack, and the free-standing wooden closet had broken hinges, no door knobs, and missing shelves. When I did the meeting with the owner to sign the rental contract I gave my colleagues (who came along because they speak Italian and I don't) a list of things the apartment needed. After the meeting one of them told me that I was to do the repairs and get the things I needed and give the owner the receipts for everything, and that he would pay for it. And so it was done. Yesterday was the day the owner decided that he wanted to pick up the extra, cash-only, portion of the rent (the part which is above and beyond the amount specified in the contract, but brings the total in line with the price advertised on the web page). So I left an envelope in the letter-box with a printout of all items purchased, the receipts for the purchases, and the remaining cash. Today I get an e-mail from the other of the two colleagues who attended the initial meeting with me. The owner called him to explain that he didn't authorize anything save the toilet seat, and that I can take the rest of the stuff with me when I go, he wants his money.

I replied pointing out that it would be foolish to take away the new hinges, door knobs and shelves cut to fit the cupboard, to say nothing of the bathroom towel rack, and asked if he really wants me to undo the repairs I've made to his property, since the next tenant will have the same complaints as to the condition of things. I also pointed out that since I'd been instructed that the owner would pay for things I'd done my budgeting accordingly, and if he really would rather have the repairs undone and the cash in hand he will need to wait till I receive my next pay check at the end of November, but since he gets the cash two months at a time, and what I gave him was November and December's cash, it shouldn't be a problem for him. I haven't heard back from that one yet.

In the same batch of e-mails was a letter from the shipping company saying that they don't want to deliver on Monday the 9th as they said they would, that the'd rather make it Wednesday the 11th. Sigh. Monday marks 21 full weeks since the company picked these boxes up in Tasmania. I was told at the time that it would likely take 10 to 12 weeks to get here. I do not want the additional two day delay. I want my winter clothes and warm blankets. I want my kitchen toys. I want my books. My costumes. My project. I want my stuff! Now. Yesterday.

Ok, enough wining!

Yesterday's dance practice was fun. We didn't have many people, but one of them was a new guy. He tells us that one of his friends used to do SCA here before the group exploded/fizzled out some years back and agreed to put us in touch with him.

Tuesday's microprobe session was fun. There are photos on my geology blog (link on the top of my main LJ page or on my facebook info page if you want it). It is nice to be generating data again. Now I just need to learn how to make mathematica work to generate the graphs and such I need. The short lesson I got from my college before she left for her maternaity leave wasn't really enough. So today is devoted to seeing if I can make it work, and if not, I'll call on my boss, who tends to be very, very busy, so I prefer not to bother him if I can avoid it.
kareina: (Default)
When I first looked at the apartment I wound up renting we noticed that it lacked things like a toilet seat and towel rack, and the free-standing wooden closet had broken hinges, no door knobs, and missing shelves. When I did the meeting with the owner to sign the rental contract I gave my colleagues (who came along because they speak Italian and I don't) a list of things the apartment needed. After the meeting one of them told me that I was to do the repairs and get the things I needed and give the owner the receipts for everything, and that he would pay for it. And so it was done. Yesterday was the day the owner decided that he wanted to pick up the extra, cash-only, portion of the rent (the part which is above and beyond the amount specified in the contract, but brings the total in line with the price advertised on the web page). So I left an envelope in the letter-box with a printout of all items purchased, the receipts for the purchases, and the remaining cash. Today I get an e-mail from the other of the two colleagues who attended the initial meeting with me. The owner called him to explain that he didn't authorize anything save the toilet seat, and that I can take the rest of the stuff with me when I go, he wants his money.

I replied pointing out that it would be foolish to take away the new hinges, door knobs and shelves cut to fit the cupboard, to say nothing of the bathroom towel rack, and asked if he really wants me to undo the repairs I've made to his property, since the next tenant will have the same complaints as to the condition of things. I also pointed out that since I'd been instructed that the owner would pay for things I'd done my budgeting accordingly, and if he really would rather have the repairs undone and the cash in hand he will need to wait till I receive my next pay check at the end of November, but since he gets the cash two months at a time, and what I gave him was November and December's cash, it shouldn't be a problem for him. I haven't heard back from that one yet.

In the same batch of e-mails was a letter from the shipping company saying that they don't want to deliver on Monday the 9th as they said they would, that the'd rather make it Wednesday the 11th. Sigh. Monday marks 21 full weeks since the company picked these boxes up in Tasmania. I was told at the time that it would likely take 10 to 12 weeks to get here. I do not want the additional two day delay. I want my winter clothes and warm blankets. I want my kitchen toys. I want my books. My costumes. My project. I want my stuff! Now. Yesterday.

Ok, enough wining!

Yesterday's dance practice was fun. We didn't have many people, but one of them was a new guy. He tells us that one of his friends used to do SCA here before the group exploded/fizzled out some years back and agreed to put us in touch with him.

Tuesday's microprobe session was fun. There are photos on my geology blog (link on the top of my main LJ page or on my facebook info page if you want it). It is nice to be generating data again. Now I just need to learn how to make mathematica work to generate the graphs and such I need. The short lesson I got from my college before she left for her maternaity leave wasn't really enough. So today is devoted to seeing if I can make it work, and if not, I'll call on my boss, who tends to be very, very busy, so I prefer not to bother him if I can avoid it.
kareina: (me)
Yes, that is correct, at long last, I have finally heard from the shipping company--my things are in England, and have cleared customs (who want me to pay £20.00 for the privilege of having my boxes X-rayed). They tell me that there is a truck leaving London for Italy next week, and may they put my things on it to be delivered to me? Yes, Please! It has been 17.5 weeks since the Tassie movers picked up the boxes. I didn't miss them the first 3.5 weeks, as I was traveling. I'm glad they didn't arrive during the next 11 weeks, as I didn't have an apartment of my own into which to put them. But for the past 3 weeks I've really wanted my stuff! It is getting cooler at night, soon I'll want my doonas. They are being shipped. I like to cook, it would be nice to have more than one pot. In the boxes. There are books I'd like to read. Being shipped. More costumes for events would be good. In the boxes. You get the picture. But now, at long last, I've got a working e-mail address for the shipping company, and they a no longer trying to send me messages to a hotmail account which doesn't exist (at least I don't think there is a hotmail account comprised of my first and last names separated by a dot. My U Milano account is in that format, but "unimi.it" doesn't look anything like "hotmail.com"). I am so excited--my things will be here soon. Well, probably only if I use a generous definition of "soon".

In more immediate definitions of "soon", I need to get more tiny gold capsules filled and welded shut "soon". I found out today that no one else needs the pressure apparatus in which my current experiment is running, so we are going to leave this one running till we've got the next one ready to load. Alas, I don't yet have more capsules filled. I had meant to do that yesterday morning, but the morning got away from me, and then it was time for Italian class (which went *much* better this week--given my hearing problems, I am *much* happier when I can *see* the words as well as hear them), after which there was just time to make some food and eat before heading out to Dance Practice (which was much fun!). So I tried this afternoon to fill them. The filling part is no problem, but I'm still having major issues with the welding step. I got the first one ready to weld, and instead of melting a tiny bit to seal the end, it melted a big bit and left a gaping hole through which one can see the internal powder. So I tried again, with a slightly lower voltage, in case the problem is more from the welder being set too high than the powder getting in the way. Same problem. So I started over sealing the bottom end of a new capsule. This is when my boss came in, and after talking with him, we agreed that I'd wait to try to fill the new ones till morning, when he can observe what I'm doing and see if he can correct whatever the problem is. I was pleased that when he suggested I try a longer capsule next time I was able to report that, indeed, the new one I was just starting is, in fact, longer than the ones which didn't work--I'd already thought of that potential cure on my own.

Hopefully I'll get this technique down to a routine soon, and catch up on the things I'm meant to be doing for work. I fear I've not been the best of company for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t with my stress about not getting enough done and wanting to have a life in addition to work, but fearing that the things I've been doing for fun are interfering with my getting things accomplished for work...
kareina: (me)
Yes, that is correct, at long last, I have finally heard from the shipping company--my things are in England, and have cleared customs (who want me to pay £20.00 for the privilege of having my boxes X-rayed). They tell me that there is a truck leaving London for Italy next week, and may they put my things on it to be delivered to me? Yes, Please! It has been 17.5 weeks since the Tassie movers picked up the boxes. I didn't miss them the first 3.5 weeks, as I was traveling. I'm glad they didn't arrive during the next 11 weeks, as I didn't have an apartment of my own into which to put them. But for the past 3 weeks I've really wanted my stuff! It is getting cooler at night, soon I'll want my doonas. They are being shipped. I like to cook, it would be nice to have more than one pot. In the boxes. There are books I'd like to read. Being shipped. More costumes for events would be good. In the boxes. You get the picture. But now, at long last, I've got a working e-mail address for the shipping company, and they a no longer trying to send me messages to a hotmail account which doesn't exist (at least I don't think there is a hotmail account comprised of my first and last names separated by a dot. My U Milano account is in that format, but "unimi.it" doesn't look anything like "hotmail.com"). I am so excited--my things will be here soon. Well, probably only if I use a generous definition of "soon".

In more immediate definitions of "soon", I need to get more tiny gold capsules filled and welded shut "soon". I found out today that no one else needs the pressure apparatus in which my current experiment is running, so we are going to leave this one running till we've got the next one ready to load. Alas, I don't yet have more capsules filled. I had meant to do that yesterday morning, but the morning got away from me, and then it was time for Italian class (which went *much* better this week--given my hearing problems, I am *much* happier when I can *see* the words as well as hear them), after which there was just time to make some food and eat before heading out to Dance Practice (which was much fun!). So I tried this afternoon to fill them. The filling part is no problem, but I'm still having major issues with the welding step. I got the first one ready to weld, and instead of melting a tiny bit to seal the end, it melted a big bit and left a gaping hole through which one can see the internal powder. So I tried again, with a slightly lower voltage, in case the problem is more from the welder being set too high than the powder getting in the way. Same problem. So I started over sealing the bottom end of a new capsule. This is when my boss came in, and after talking with him, we agreed that I'd wait to try to fill the new ones till morning, when he can observe what I'm doing and see if he can correct whatever the problem is. I was pleased that when he suggested I try a longer capsule next time I was able to report that, indeed, the new one I was just starting is, in fact, longer than the ones which didn't work--I'd already thought of that potential cure on my own.

Hopefully I'll get this technique down to a routine soon, and catch up on the things I'm meant to be doing for work. I fear I've not been the best of company for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t with my stress about not getting enough done and wanting to have a life in addition to work, but fearing that the things I've been doing for fun are interfering with my getting things accomplished for work...
kareina: (me)
Much of today was spent in the lab learning how to assemble the nest in which my little capsules sit during the experiments. We got everything nearly ready to run. The only remaining step is for my boss to make a new metal ring which goes at the top of the piston to keep the bridge from moving around. The old one was damaged, and while he tried assembling everything without the metal ring, there was too much play in the assembly, and it just isn't worth risking further damage to more expensive parts when he can machine a new one in the morning.

This evening did some extra grocery shopping, picking up some staples in [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's diet that I didn't have on hand, and then baked a pound cake in anticipation of his arrival tomorrow. I chose a pound cake because this was my first use of the new cake pan I picked up at the Monday market--it is small enough to fit in my toaster oven, but still large enough to share the resultant cake, and I had no idea how much of a batch would be the correct volume for the pan. Since I do the traditional version of pound cake (pound of butter, pound of sugar, pound of flour, and pound of eggs), I figured that it would be easier to scale it down than a recipie which measures things by volume. However, since my kitchen scales are with the rest of my stuff, somewhere between here and Australia, I couldn't just weigh the ingredients. Therefore I guessed based upon volume--the packet of butter was 250 g, and I chose to use ~150, or 3/5 of the packet. The packet of flour and sugar were both 1 kg, which means that I needed about 1/2 of what was left in the bag for the flour (the sugar I poured into a bowl the same size as that used for the flour in order to estimate that amount). Remembering that when I did it with an actual pound of each I used 8 eggs, I used three this time. The batter was lovely, rich, and delicious, and the cake looks good. I'll find out tomorrow how the baked version tastes, since it came out of the oven after I'd lost interest in food.

While the cake was baking I managed to get the shelf mounts attached to the back of the free-standing closet, which means I now have shelves under the loft. I also replaced the missing screw in the coat hook by the door that was loose. Now I just need to obtain one book shelf and some pantry shelves before my things arrive.

Yesterday was spent working on some new modelling for one of the samples from my PhD work to see if I can get more information for the re-write of a paper draft I'd sent my advisor--he deemed that version unlikely to be accepted as it is still too much in the same format as in the thesis, and we need to do some additional work to get it publishable. I also did Monday market shopping for food, the aforesaid cake pan, and a sheet to fit the futon that came with the house. In the afternoon I finished getting the new shelves for the cupboard sanded down to fit and picked up some of the empty fruit containers left on the side of the street after market (they get taken away by the dump truck very soon after I did my salvage mission). The plastic ones will be useful for organizing fabric, and I intend to take apart the wooden ones and make a small cabinet for my spice jars.

Sunday was a long, long day. When the seneschal of the local shire first told me about the parade and live chess game at a castle and invited me to come along it sounded like an entertaining thing to do, so I said yes, without first getting all of the details. Oops. When he told me that the plan was to meet at his place at 10:00 for an 11:00 departure, get to the village and obtain pizza around 13:00 so that people could get into costume or armour at 15:00 for a 16:00 parade, followed by the chess game and finishing up at 18:00 I hesitated. That is a huge chunk out of the day, and I still had shelves to deal with and uni work I'm behind on. But I decided that since I'd already told him I'd be there, I probably should go. Besides, I hadn't actually met any of the shire folk yet. (Note, while he is listed as the SCA seneschal, the "shire" mostly consists of his metal-weapons fighting students from the school he runs (this is his job) and their girlfriends. He provides all of their costumes etc, and he hasn't attended an SCA event in three years, though he's been to other sorts of re-enactment events.) However, the day didn't precisely go according to plan. I left the house at 09:20 in the morning so as to walk to the train station 30 minutes away by foot (to get exercise) which has the advantage over the two closer stations in that it is the line which goes to his house, while I'd have to transfer at another station if I used another station. I then took the train and the bus and arrived at his place at 10:30 and took a half an hour nap. I took another nap after we got to the village. I sat around and did embroidery most of the day as we waited. I'd brought my own food, and it was a good thing, as the pizza they others ate didn't look interesting at all--the crust was so thin they all had to fold the slices in half lengthwise in order to provide sufficent stability to pick it up so that they could eat it. (I was able to nibble my food a bit at a time all day, while the others only had the one meal that I could see.)

The parade was fun--the town was cute, and the energy provided by the musicians (in costume and playing period instruments) was good. When the chess game commenced I wandered off to explore the castle. My goodness that Viscount had a good location. The castle is on a bend in the river, with water on three sides of it. The river has cut a deep channel in this area, so the castle buts up against steep cliffs. From the top of the remaining tower there is an excellent view of the Alps. The building stone of that tower is mostly large blocks of sedimentary rock (usually conglomerate and sandy conglomerate supplemented by large round river-rocks, which obviously came from the Alps originally--many metamorphic and igneous rocks of the same sorts as I saw on my two Alpine adventures thus far. I got back down from the tower about the same time as the chess game broke up, so we returned to the parade staging area and I continued stitching while people packed up their armour. Eventually we left. To go to the hospital to pick up one of the other passengers, who, apparently, managed to slip while doing the combat during the chess game and broke a couple of his teeth. Since it will be necessary later to have a form filled out by a treating doctor if he wants the insurance to cover the injury, he needed to go in, even though he felt no pain from the accident. It being a non-pain, non vital sort of injury, he had to wait a long time before they could see him. As a result we didn't get back to Milan till 23:30!

Saturday was mostly spent on home improvement projects. The house came with a free standing closet/cupboard thing which had no shelves on the cupboard half, though it had rows of the little round holes into which one inserts pegs to support the shelves. Therefore I measured the space and went to the hardware store and found some plywood of an appropriate thickness. I had them cut it to size, and brought them and the pegs home. Alas, either I measured wrong, or they did, as the shelves were just a bit too large to fit. Did you know that one can use a hacksaw as a file? (There didn't happen to be files in the labortory, but there was a hacksaw. Yes, I could have purchased a file or rasp, but I've got some in the boxes which are on the way, so I didn't see a point in buying another.) It took a while, but I now have them all filed and sanded down to fit the space.

Friday was more uni work and home improvement projects. Thursday was meant to be lots of uni work, but instead I had to go into town to return the key to my old apartment and get back my deposit. I then went shopping for more shelf stuff (upon which I worked on Saturday).

It is now, once again, 02:00. It seems to me I've been up way too late way too often lately. There is just so much to be done...
kareina: (me)
Much of today was spent in the lab learning how to assemble the nest in which my little capsules sit during the experiments. We got everything nearly ready to run. The only remaining step is for my boss to make a new metal ring which goes at the top of the piston to keep the bridge from moving around. The old one was damaged, and while he tried assembling everything without the metal ring, there was too much play in the assembly, and it just isn't worth risking further damage to more expensive parts when he can machine a new one in the morning.

This evening did some extra grocery shopping, picking up some staples in [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's diet that I didn't have on hand, and then baked a pound cake in anticipation of his arrival tomorrow. I chose a pound cake because this was my first use of the new cake pan I picked up at the Monday market--it is small enough to fit in my toaster oven, but still large enough to share the resultant cake, and I had no idea how much of a batch would be the correct volume for the pan. Since I do the traditional version of pound cake (pound of butter, pound of sugar, pound of flour, and pound of eggs), I figured that it would be easier to scale it down than a recipie which measures things by volume. However, since my kitchen scales are with the rest of my stuff, somewhere between here and Australia, I couldn't just weigh the ingredients. Therefore I guessed based upon volume--the packet of butter was 250 g, and I chose to use ~150, or 3/5 of the packet. The packet of flour and sugar were both 1 kg, which means that I needed about 1/2 of what was left in the bag for the flour (the sugar I poured into a bowl the same size as that used for the flour in order to estimate that amount). Remembering that when I did it with an actual pound of each I used 8 eggs, I used three this time. The batter was lovely, rich, and delicious, and the cake looks good. I'll find out tomorrow how the baked version tastes, since it came out of the oven after I'd lost interest in food.

While the cake was baking I managed to get the shelf mounts attached to the back of the free-standing closet, which means I now have shelves under the loft. I also replaced the missing screw in the coat hook by the door that was loose. Now I just need to obtain one book shelf and some pantry shelves before my things arrive.

Yesterday was spent working on some new modelling for one of the samples from my PhD work to see if I can get more information for the re-write of a paper draft I'd sent my advisor--he deemed that version unlikely to be accepted as it is still too much in the same format as in the thesis, and we need to do some additional work to get it publishable. I also did Monday market shopping for food, the aforesaid cake pan, and a sheet to fit the futon that came with the house. In the afternoon I finished getting the new shelves for the cupboard sanded down to fit and picked up some of the empty fruit containers left on the side of the street after market (they get taken away by the dump truck very soon after I did my salvage mission). The plastic ones will be useful for organizing fabric, and I intend to take apart the wooden ones and make a small cabinet for my spice jars.

Sunday was a long, long day. When the seneschal of the local shire first told me about the parade and live chess game at a castle and invited me to come along it sounded like an entertaining thing to do, so I said yes, without first getting all of the details. Oops. When he told me that the plan was to meet at his place at 10:00 for an 11:00 departure, get to the village and obtain pizza around 13:00 so that people could get into costume or armour at 15:00 for a 16:00 parade, followed by the chess game and finishing up at 18:00 I hesitated. That is a huge chunk out of the day, and I still had shelves to deal with and uni work I'm behind on. But I decided that since I'd already told him I'd be there, I probably should go. Besides, I hadn't actually met any of the shire folk yet. (Note, while he is listed as the SCA seneschal, the "shire" mostly consists of his metal-weapons fighting students from the school he runs (this is his job) and their girlfriends. He provides all of their costumes etc, and he hasn't attended an SCA event in three years, though he's been to other sorts of re-enactment events.) However, the day didn't precisely go according to plan. I left the house at 09:20 in the morning so as to walk to the train station 30 minutes away by foot (to get exercise) which has the advantage over the two closer stations in that it is the line which goes to his house, while I'd have to transfer at another station if I used another station. I then took the train and the bus and arrived at his place at 10:30 and took a half an hour nap. I took another nap after we got to the village. I sat around and did embroidery most of the day as we waited. I'd brought my own food, and it was a good thing, as the pizza they others ate didn't look interesting at all--the crust was so thin they all had to fold the slices in half lengthwise in order to provide sufficent stability to pick it up so that they could eat it. (I was able to nibble my food a bit at a time all day, while the others only had the one meal that I could see.)

The parade was fun--the town was cute, and the energy provided by the musicians (in costume and playing period instruments) was good. When the chess game commenced I wandered off to explore the castle. My goodness that Viscount had a good location. The castle is on a bend in the river, with water on three sides of it. The river has cut a deep channel in this area, so the castle buts up against steep cliffs. From the top of the remaining tower there is an excellent view of the Alps. The building stone of that tower is mostly large blocks of sedimentary rock (usually conglomerate and sandy conglomerate supplemented by large round river-rocks, which obviously came from the Alps originally--many metamorphic and igneous rocks of the same sorts as I saw on my two Alpine adventures thus far. I got back down from the tower about the same time as the chess game broke up, so we returned to the parade staging area and I continued stitching while people packed up their armour. Eventually we left. To go to the hospital to pick up one of the other passengers, who, apparently, managed to slip while doing the combat during the chess game and broke a couple of his teeth. Since it will be necessary later to have a form filled out by a treating doctor if he wants the insurance to cover the injury, he needed to go in, even though he felt no pain from the accident. It being a non-pain, non vital sort of injury, he had to wait a long time before they could see him. As a result we didn't get back to Milan till 23:30!

Saturday was mostly spent on home improvement projects. The house came with a free standing closet/cupboard thing which had no shelves on the cupboard half, though it had rows of the little round holes into which one inserts pegs to support the shelves. Therefore I measured the space and went to the hardware store and found some plywood of an appropriate thickness. I had them cut it to size, and brought them and the pegs home. Alas, either I measured wrong, or they did, as the shelves were just a bit too large to fit. Did you know that one can use a hacksaw as a file? (There didn't happen to be files in the labortory, but there was a hacksaw. Yes, I could have purchased a file or rasp, but I've got some in the boxes which are on the way, so I didn't see a point in buying another.) It took a while, but I now have them all filed and sanded down to fit the space.

Friday was more uni work and home improvement projects. Thursday was meant to be lots of uni work, but instead I had to go into town to return the key to my old apartment and get back my deposit. I then went shopping for more shelf stuff (upon which I worked on Saturday).

It is now, once again, 02:00. It seems to me I've been up way too late way too often lately. There is just so much to be done...
kareina: (me)
This weekend I stayed home, which is to say, at uni, which is more or less home. I put in a total of 12 hours of uni-work this weekend, though all I have to show for it is increase understanding--there are no tangible results as of yet. Part of what I did was attempt to weld a little gold capsule on my own. I think I need to do it again with someone with experiance present, because I'm not able to find the correct voltage to do the job. I did, however, learn an important lesson. It seems that we have two different sharpeners with which to sharpen the graphite point of the welder. One of them makes a much sharper point than the other. It also turns out that sharper points need a lower voltage. I had been working with the sharpener which does a duller point (since I didn't know about the other one), and it was necessary to keep adjusting the voltage up in an attempt to find a level whcih will actually cause the gold to melt together in a pretty bead rather than leave the ugly blackened lumpy mess. Then I grabbed the other sharpener (which looks the same as the first) and used it and saw that I got a much sharper point. I did not realize the implications of this change, so I set it to the gold without changing the voltage on the welder. ZAP! the entire end of the capsule melted, and a hole melted right through it. It was stunning. Alas, I haven't yet got the camera working with the microscope and so didn't take photos. Perhaps I'll have better luck with the next practice session now that I know just how sharp one can get those graphite points.

The other uni tasks I did involved a much closer reading of a 1977 paper which describes how to create the diagrams showing the relationship between various chemical reactions that form metamorphic minerals and temperature and pressure. I've been seeing these diagrams (and to some extent using them), but these days they are computer generated. Back then humans did the calculations to get a rough idea of the slope of the lines, then used logic to figure out how the lines intersected. Since my work will, ultimately, result in my generating such diagrams (automatically) it occurs to me that I need a better understanding of how they are made. Therefore I've been tracing the various figures from their paper in CorelDraw (so that I can better see what is going on by using colours for lines and labels and so that I can superimpose the ones that are similar to see where/how they are different and also re-typing up some of their tables so that they are easier to read/understand as well. Background stuff which, I hope, will make things easier later, but could be seen as thumb-twiddling getting in the way of "real work" (like writing papers of my own). I also typed up my notes from the capsule preparation/welding lesson I was given on Thursday and have it nearly ready to post in my science blog, but it needs photos for illustration, so that can wait. It is good that I typed them--I'd forgotten a minor (but not crucial) step in my attempt on my own (even though I was working with my hand-written notes at the time).

After the two weeks away, it was nice to have a weekend off where I didn't go anywhere (other than for a walk). It is only 20:30, but I think I'll go home early tonight (I've been here till after midnight the past few nights catching up on e-mail and chatting with [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t, who is in Scotland now. I am looking forward to getting the keys to my new apartment on Wednesday. It may only be an oversized closet, but having it directly across the street from my office will make it much easier to run back and forth between the two. My intention is to treat my office as my living room, and the apartment as my bedroom/storage unit/kitchen/bathroom. I'm planning on keeping all of my non-fiction books and craft/sewing supplies here in the office, so in the evenings I can sit at the computer and listen to language tapes or music, or talk to people via skype while working on projects.
kareina: (me)
This weekend I stayed home, which is to say, at uni, which is more or less home. I put in a total of 12 hours of uni-work this weekend, though all I have to show for it is increase understanding--there are no tangible results as of yet. Part of what I did was attempt to weld a little gold capsule on my own. I think I need to do it again with someone with experiance present, because I'm not able to find the correct voltage to do the job. I did, however, learn an important lesson. It seems that we have two different sharpeners with which to sharpen the graphite point of the welder. One of them makes a much sharper point than the other. It also turns out that sharper points need a lower voltage. I had been working with the sharpener which does a duller point (since I didn't know about the other one), and it was necessary to keep adjusting the voltage up in an attempt to find a level whcih will actually cause the gold to melt together in a pretty bead rather than leave the ugly blackened lumpy mess. Then I grabbed the other sharpener (which looks the same as the first) and used it and saw that I got a much sharper point. I did not realize the implications of this change, so I set it to the gold without changing the voltage on the welder. ZAP! the entire end of the capsule melted, and a hole melted right through it. It was stunning. Alas, I haven't yet got the camera working with the microscope and so didn't take photos. Perhaps I'll have better luck with the next practice session now that I know just how sharp one can get those graphite points.

The other uni tasks I did involved a much closer reading of a 1977 paper which describes how to create the diagrams showing the relationship between various chemical reactions that form metamorphic minerals and temperature and pressure. I've been seeing these diagrams (and to some extent using them), but these days they are computer generated. Back then humans did the calculations to get a rough idea of the slope of the lines, then used logic to figure out how the lines intersected. Since my work will, ultimately, result in my generating such diagrams (automatically) it occurs to me that I need a better understanding of how they are made. Therefore I've been tracing the various figures from their paper in CorelDraw (so that I can better see what is going on by using colours for lines and labels and so that I can superimpose the ones that are similar to see where/how they are different and also re-typing up some of their tables so that they are easier to read/understand as well. Background stuff which, I hope, will make things easier later, but could be seen as thumb-twiddling getting in the way of "real work" (like writing papers of my own). I also typed up my notes from the capsule preparation/welding lesson I was given on Thursday and have it nearly ready to post in my science blog, but it needs photos for illustration, so that can wait. It is good that I typed them--I'd forgotten a minor (but not crucial) step in my attempt on my own (even though I was working with my hand-written notes at the time).

After the two weeks away, it was nice to have a weekend off where I didn't go anywhere (other than for a walk). It is only 20:30, but I think I'll go home early tonight (I've been here till after midnight the past few nights catching up on e-mail and chatting with [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t, who is in Scotland now. I am looking forward to getting the keys to my new apartment on Wednesday. It may only be an oversized closet, but having it directly across the street from my office will make it much easier to run back and forth between the two. My intention is to treat my office as my living room, and the apartment as my bedroom/storage unit/kitchen/bathroom. I'm planning on keeping all of my non-fiction books and craft/sewing supplies here in the office, so in the evenings I can sit at the computer and listen to language tapes or music, or talk to people via skype while working on projects.
kareina: (me)
I enjoyed the second visit of my couchsurfing houseguests from Poland, but I didn't make as much time to spend with them as I might have liked, since I was aware of everything that needed to be done by this evening, in preparation for flying out tomorrow morning. Fortunately, they were very self-entertaining (a group of five guests at once is likely to be!), and I told them if they were ok with leaving their luggage in the apartment unlocked I didn't mind if they just left the door unlocked as they come and go. Since nothing vanished, my assessment that it would be a low-risk thing to do was justified. But then 1) it is August in Milan--everyone who can be is out of town 2) my apartment is on the top floor--who is going to walk up all four flights of stairs in this heat just to check to see if the door is open 3) my computer was with me at work, leaving only some food, a small amount of clothing, a couple of sewing projects, and three books available to tempt potential thieves. I'm not certain I'd make the same choice once my stuff arrives. However, by the time it arrives I should have moved to the place I'll be staying "long term", so it will be worth having a spare key to the apartment cut.

Speaking of my stuff, I've *finally* heard from the shipping company. The Melbourne branch this time. My things are on a ship! I know the name of the ship! We have an estimated time of arrival for the ship in the UK (25 September). This means that I won't have any problems getting home from both conferences before my things arrive here (since I'll be back on the 14th). Given that it will take more time to clear customs in the UK and then be sent on to me here, I should also have no difficulties finding a new place to live before the stuff arrives.

The other day I *finally* found an open rental (and realestate) agency. And the guy on duty speaks English! When I explained to him where I wish to live he explained that his company does things on a franchise basis, with each branch being responsible for the rentals closest to their office. His branch isn't *that* far away from where I wish to be, but there is another branch which covers the exact neighbourhood in which I wish to live. (Some of you pointed out in comments not too long back that a 15 minute walk would be noting for one as fit as I. I agree with that statement. However, given that I will be performing experiments and will need to be running back and forth between my apartment and my office at odd hours and frequent intervals for the entire time I live here, I'd much prefer that the walk be under five minutes--cuts down on risk to my safety when walking at odd (late) hours, and takes less time out of the day with that transition, leaving more time/energy for real exercise instead of "commuting".) However, the branch with which I wish to deal is closed this week, and by the time I re-open I'll be in Scotland. I did ask him if I could view the apartments his branch has, and he apologized--he just does the sales, his colleague, who is off this week, does the rentals, so I wouldn't be able to see the apartments till next week. (This conversation took place before I'd heard from the shipping company, so I had no idea if it was urgent that I move this week, or if it would be ok to wait till I returned, but I choose to interpert it as a sign that I should just wait till I got back and trust my charmed life that it would all work out, and, indeed, it looks very much like it is going to. When I mentioned to him my worry that in September I'd been competing with Students looking for apartments for the new school year he pointed out that September is a common month for apartments to come available, and he thinks I'll be fine. I hope he's correct, as that is the plan I'm going with.)

In terms of progress, I've read my way further through the pile of papers I need to read, got the latest draft of a paper I'm co-authoring back to the primary author, and submitted an abstract for the big AGU conference in December. Assuming that it gets accepted, I hope to fly into San Francisco on time for the Boar's Hunt Event the weekend before, and the following weekend head up to Seattle to see my mother on her birthday, and then head to Alaska and stay through New Years (assuming that someone will host a New Years Bardic in Eskalya, as usually happens--that has long been my favourite manner in whcih to sing in the New Year).

Tonight I still need to pack my luggage for my trip. However, since everything I brought with me fit in one checked and one carry-on bag, and I don't think I need it all for this trip, I think that will be easy. In the morning I fly to Scotland, where I will stay with [livejournal.com profile] sismith42 during the geology conference, then visit the family of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t in Inverness, then fly to Eindhoven for the textile conference the following week before returning here on the 14th. I don't know how often I'll be able to get on-line during this adventure, so don't be surprised if I'm not posting much over the next couple of weeks.
kareina: (me)
I enjoyed the second visit of my couchsurfing houseguests from Poland, but I didn't make as much time to spend with them as I might have liked, since I was aware of everything that needed to be done by this evening, in preparation for flying out tomorrow morning. Fortunately, they were very self-entertaining (a group of five guests at once is likely to be!), and I told them if they were ok with leaving their luggage in the apartment unlocked I didn't mind if they just left the door unlocked as they come and go. Since nothing vanished, my assessment that it would be a low-risk thing to do was justified. But then 1) it is August in Milan--everyone who can be is out of town 2) my apartment is on the top floor--who is going to walk up all four flights of stairs in this heat just to check to see if the door is open 3) my computer was with me at work, leaving only some food, a small amount of clothing, a couple of sewing projects, and three books available to tempt potential thieves. I'm not certain I'd make the same choice once my stuff arrives. However, by the time it arrives I should have moved to the place I'll be staying "long term", so it will be worth having a spare key to the apartment cut.

Speaking of my stuff, I've *finally* heard from the shipping company. The Melbourne branch this time. My things are on a ship! I know the name of the ship! We have an estimated time of arrival for the ship in the UK (25 September). This means that I won't have any problems getting home from both conferences before my things arrive here (since I'll be back on the 14th). Given that it will take more time to clear customs in the UK and then be sent on to me here, I should also have no difficulties finding a new place to live before the stuff arrives.

The other day I *finally* found an open rental (and realestate) agency. And the guy on duty speaks English! When I explained to him where I wish to live he explained that his company does things on a franchise basis, with each branch being responsible for the rentals closest to their office. His branch isn't *that* far away from where I wish to be, but there is another branch which covers the exact neighbourhood in which I wish to live. (Some of you pointed out in comments not too long back that a 15 minute walk would be noting for one as fit as I. I agree with that statement. However, given that I will be performing experiments and will need to be running back and forth between my apartment and my office at odd hours and frequent intervals for the entire time I live here, I'd much prefer that the walk be under five minutes--cuts down on risk to my safety when walking at odd (late) hours, and takes less time out of the day with that transition, leaving more time/energy for real exercise instead of "commuting".) However, the branch with which I wish to deal is closed this week, and by the time I re-open I'll be in Scotland. I did ask him if I could view the apartments his branch has, and he apologized--he just does the sales, his colleague, who is off this week, does the rentals, so I wouldn't be able to see the apartments till next week. (This conversation took place before I'd heard from the shipping company, so I had no idea if it was urgent that I move this week, or if it would be ok to wait till I returned, but I choose to interpert it as a sign that I should just wait till I got back and trust my charmed life that it would all work out, and, indeed, it looks very much like it is going to. When I mentioned to him my worry that in September I'd been competing with Students looking for apartments for the new school year he pointed out that September is a common month for apartments to come available, and he thinks I'll be fine. I hope he's correct, as that is the plan I'm going with.)

In terms of progress, I've read my way further through the pile of papers I need to read, got the latest draft of a paper I'm co-authoring back to the primary author, and submitted an abstract for the big AGU conference in December. Assuming that it gets accepted, I hope to fly into San Francisco on time for the Boar's Hunt Event the weekend before, and the following weekend head up to Seattle to see my mother on her birthday, and then head to Alaska and stay through New Years (assuming that someone will host a New Years Bardic in Eskalya, as usually happens--that has long been my favourite manner in whcih to sing in the New Year).

Tonight I still need to pack my luggage for my trip. However, since everything I brought with me fit in one checked and one carry-on bag, and I don't think I need it all for this trip, I think that will be easy. In the morning I fly to Scotland, where I will stay with [livejournal.com profile] sismith42 during the geology conference, then visit the family of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t in Inverness, then fly to Eindhoven for the textile conference the following week before returning here on the 14th. I don't know how often I'll be able to get on-line during this adventure, so don't be surprised if I'm not posting much over the next couple of weeks.
kareina: (me)
I had a window seat on the north side of the plane, which means I got to see the Alps as we flew in. :-) (Have I mentioned recently how very much I love mountains?) The train from the airport runs east-west for the first part, which meant glimpses of the Alps now and again as we went (and there weren't buildings or trees right by the track. Seen from this distance it is kind of reminiscent of the Mat-Su Valley north of Anchorage, the way there is a broad, flat, lush, green valley and then, rising abruptly up from it, beautiful mountains. However, I suspect that these mountains are taller, as I think I'm further from them than the typical Mat-Su vantage point is from their mountains, yet the peaks look about the same. (I've not actually made the time to measure the distance for the Mat-Su valley in Google earth yet, but Milan is 50 km from the Alps.

Took the train to the city center, where I met my boss, who guided me to the correct train line (green) to get to the university (or, rather, the part which does science--humanities are in the city center). We got here on time to have lunch with most of the folk who work on this project, which was a nice opportunity to meet everyone. I'll recognize some of them later, I hope. Then we went over to my apartment. They made arrangements with the University for me to have a "room" (as I was told in advance) as it was a requirement for approval of my visa that they do so. As it turns out, it is more of a shared apartment. There is a small bathroom, with toilet, bidet, sink, and shower, a small kitchen with fridge, stove (no oven! but my boss says he's got one I can use), and sink, and a long room with three beds and three desks in it. The other two beds already have owners. I'm not too keen on sharing a room, but in the short term I'll cope. The up side is it is perhaps two blocks from my office, so I'm here in very little time!

I won't actually get my first pay check till the end of the month, so the small amount of cash I've got in my Australian and US bank accounts will have to do to cover me till then. I'm told that my salary is quite a good one for the area, so at the end of the month I'll be fine. In the mean while. After a long discussion on all of the errands necessary tomorrow (I need the local version of a tax-file number, and once I've got that I can open a bank account and then get the paperwork done that needs to happen as the next step with my visa) one of my colluges took me to the closest supermarket to get a few things I can't live without, and then they turned me loose on my computer to check in with friends and family. I am pretty certain we don't have internet in my room, so I'll probably leave my computer in my office and spend lots of time here.

Still not really clear as to what my duties will be, but they say that they will fill me in on that later...

I think I may head back to my room and try to get some sleep, since I was up very, very early this morning (like 0:30) to check e-mail and stuff before the taxi picked me up at 05:00, and while I'd gone to bed early, it wasn't that early!
kareina: (me)
I had a window seat on the north side of the plane, which means I got to see the Alps as we flew in. :-) (Have I mentioned recently how very much I love mountains?) The train from the airport runs east-west for the first part, which meant glimpses of the Alps now and again as we went (and there weren't buildings or trees right by the track. Seen from this distance it is kind of reminiscent of the Mat-Su Valley north of Anchorage, the way there is a broad, flat, lush, green valley and then, rising abruptly up from it, beautiful mountains. However, I suspect that these mountains are taller, as I think I'm further from them than the typical Mat-Su vantage point is from their mountains, yet the peaks look about the same. (I've not actually made the time to measure the distance for the Mat-Su valley in Google earth yet, but Milan is 50 km from the Alps.

Took the train to the city center, where I met my boss, who guided me to the correct train line (green) to get to the university (or, rather, the part which does science--humanities are in the city center). We got here on time to have lunch with most of the folk who work on this project, which was a nice opportunity to meet everyone. I'll recognize some of them later, I hope. Then we went over to my apartment. They made arrangements with the University for me to have a "room" (as I was told in advance) as it was a requirement for approval of my visa that they do so. As it turns out, it is more of a shared apartment. There is a small bathroom, with toilet, bidet, sink, and shower, a small kitchen with fridge, stove (no oven! but my boss says he's got one I can use), and sink, and a long room with three beds and three desks in it. The other two beds already have owners. I'm not too keen on sharing a room, but in the short term I'll cope. The up side is it is perhaps two blocks from my office, so I'm here in very little time!

I won't actually get my first pay check till the end of the month, so the small amount of cash I've got in my Australian and US bank accounts will have to do to cover me till then. I'm told that my salary is quite a good one for the area, so at the end of the month I'll be fine. In the mean while. After a long discussion on all of the errands necessary tomorrow (I need the local version of a tax-file number, and once I've got that I can open a bank account and then get the paperwork done that needs to happen as the next step with my visa) one of my colluges took me to the closest supermarket to get a few things I can't live without, and then they turned me loose on my computer to check in with friends and family. I am pretty certain we don't have internet in my room, so I'll probably leave my computer in my office and spend lots of time here.

Still not really clear as to what my duties will be, but they say that they will fill me in on that later...

I think I may head back to my room and try to get some sleep, since I was up very, very early this morning (like 0:30) to check e-mail and stuff before the taxi picked me up at 05:00, and while I'd gone to bed early, it wasn't that early!
kareina: (me)
After a truly delightful time in Wisconsin visiting with family I'd not seen in many, many years (most of them not since I was 16!) and good friends from An Tir who settled there I boarded a plane for London. Once again my charmed life provides me extra luxury; I had three seats in a row to myself, which meant that I could lift up the arms and lay down across them all to get some good sleep on the flight. And mine was the last row before one of the toilets, making it very easy to make necessary trips. Landed around mid-day (a good hour or more late, so it is good I didn't plan a tight connection to get to Milan) and made my way to an affordable hotel not far from the airport. I spent the day trying to catch up with e-mail LiveJournal FaceBook etc. and did a short walk to a local store to pick up some shampoo and some fruit juice to have with my muesli in the morning. I then went to sleep early and slept till a bit after midnight, when I got up and accomplished a few useful tasks (like mending the skirt I'd ripped the other day) and more on-line tasks. I've got another couple of hours before I need to head back to the airport for my flight to Milan, so now I need to decide if I want another nap, or if I'd rather listen to some of those Italian CDs I was given (thank you [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton!).

I heard from one of my fellow post-docs today--there is a bbq at his house on Friday, so I'll get to meet people and start developing a local social life straight away.

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