Sep. 19th, 2017

kareina: (BSE garnet)
I am making tiny progress on preparing my application for a 2nd PhD through the University of Durham. Today I actually started filling in the on-line application form, so that the basics are ready when I finally have my project proposal and budget ready to attach. I have exchanged a number of letters with my potential advisor, who has written to various people in her network and forwarded me their replies. She sent me a copy of a very interesting PhD thesis by one of her colleagues who studied "war booty" from the Roman Iron Age, using LA-ICP-MS to study the weapons that had been deposited in a heap in a lake. What really amazed me about his thesis is that he did his data processing by hand, in a spreadsheet, since his department didn't have a licence for a program like iolite, which is what I use for my LA-ICP-MS data processing.

I also looked at the web page for the Swedish student financial aid people. It looks like it is possible for me to get a stipend from them to study in the UK, but only until I am 57, so I had better do it now and not wait. The stipend isn't huge, but it will make a difference in paying for lab work and possibly even getting to Durham now and then to actually see my advisor in person.

The only reason I don't already have a project proposal is that there are too many cool project ideas that we have been tossing back and forth at one another. The good news is that I will enjoy whatever project we settle on, the bad news is that I can only pick one. garnets? glass? soapstone? beads? cooking toys? Something Viking Age, anyway, and using Swedish artifacts. That much we know.

Some of you who have been reading this since I first got hired to run the LA-ICP-MS lab might remember that while waiting for the delivery of the machines I had contacted some archaeologists in Uppsala wondering if they might be interested in doing some collaborative research on some garnet-bearing sword hilts etc. It turns out that my potential advisor knows them, and is good friends with one of them.

The more letters we exchange, the more convinced I am that this is a chance of a lifetime, and I should go for it.

And, to make things even better, AMT was fun tonight, as always! I love the gymnastics training. Never mind that I am the worst kid in the class, I am showing improvement every week, and enjoying it.

I stopped by an open house today--one of the houses in our neighbourhood is for sale--the third since we bought our place (if you count ours). That house is slightly older than ours (1964 vs '66), not as big, weirdly laid out (who sets it up so that one has to go through the kitchen into and then through a bedroom to get to the garage and laundry area? Why did they take off the back door? They also have much, much, much less land than we have--just a small yard suitable for little kids to play in. I am so happy we got the house we did. The highlight of the house was a wall mounted can-opener in the kitchen, that, from the look of it, must have been put up when the house was brand new. but probably hasn't been used in years, since most "canned" food in Sweden comes in cardboard boxes, and those few items that are in metal cans have a self-opening lid.

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