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Older son, dream interpreter… April 28, 2016

Posted by mareserinitatis in older son.
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The older kid has strange dreams which he tells me about often.  I, on the other hand, usually don’t get enough sleep to remember my dreams, but I did this morning and decided to tell him about it.  Mostly, I was curious if it would weird him out.

In my dream, Jon Snow (from Game of Thrones) was walking around my yard with a metal detector.  I thought it was strange but he wasn’t hurting anyone, so I went to bed without calling the police.  However, I woke up the next morning and discovered he’d tried to break into the house.  I could tell this because the door knob, which was some sort of strange Buddha statue thing, had been chipped at with a chisel.

I told the older son that I was sure there was some deep inner meaning, but I wasn’t sure what it was.  Maybe my recent spate of bird watching had gone from watching grackles hunting for food in the yard to a ‘crow’ looking for treasure?

“I know,” he replied. “Watching too much Game of Thrones will chip away at your inner peace.”

I’m going to go with that.  Maybe it’s a good thing I have to wait a week between episodes.


New Year’s Goals: The 2015 FCIWYPSC edition January 1, 2015

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, family, grad school, personal, religion, research, running, work, writing.
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I’m not doing resolutions and haven’t done them for a while.  Goals, however, are another story, particularly when they’re of the quantifiable type.  While some of these are large goals (like with running), I break them down to weekly and daily goals, as well.

Writing this out is helpful because not only does it provide me with some accountability, it helped me realize I was bogging myself down with too much.  I had to cut a few items.

These are the things I think I can manage with some consistency:

  • Career/Work: Publish at least one paper and attend at least one conference.
  • Career/Dissertation: Set a minimum amount of time to work on my thesis each week, though the weekly total will vary if there’s a holiday involved.  (I do some version of this, but I think I need to make my planning a bit more specific.) Also, attend one conference this year.
  • Family time: Family play day once per month.
  • Marriage: Keep up with the weekly date with the spousal unit.
  • Self-care/Religious: Center down (or if you prefer, meditate or pray) for at least ten minutes a day, not necessarily all at once.
  • Self-care/Sleep: Stick to a consistent (and early) bed-time at least 4 days per week.
  • Self-care/Physical activity: Run or walk 500 miles by the end of October.  I did about 200 outdoor miles this year but didn’t keep track of treadmill time at all, so I think this is doable, especially in light of my next goal.  I’ve also learned I like to ramp down the activity around the holidays (too much to do), so that amounts to about 11.5 miles per week.
  • Fun goal: Do half-marathons in two new states this year.  Two down, 48 to go. I’m hoping to cross Wisconsin and Michigan off the list this year.  (And I’ve already registered for one of them.)
  • Misc/Blog: Post on the blog at least twice per week.  (I do that on average, but sometimes there are long gaps in between.)
  • Misc/Email: I will keep my main mailbox below 3000 messages.  That may sound horrible, but this is 1/5 of what it was just last week.  I need to either delete those messages, read them, or unsubscribe from all the spam I’m getting…probably mostly the latter.  Lots of unread email makes me overwhelmed.

So do you have any goals for the year?

Rapid reviewing August 12, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, papers, research, work.
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I was on a trip this weekend and forgot that I had agreed to review a conference paper.  Not a problem, though, because once I got the reminder, I figured I’d still have plenty of time.  Except there was a problem: when I got home from my trip, I realized that the review was due at 1 a.m. that morning and not midnight of the next night: it was due 23 hours sooner than I had expected.  I realized this about 2 hours before the review was due.

I am a slow reader, so this immediately put me into panic mode, but rather than wait until morning and send it in late, I decided to see if I could at least get something in before the deadline.

Despite it being a bit stressful, I actually managed to read through the whole thing and get a decent review written up.  In fact, when I looked at it the next morning, I was rather shocked at how long the review was.  I did realize later that there is one minor point I missed, but I think that, overall, I caught some important errors and that my assessment overall wouldn’t have changed.

I have to admit that this was also made easier by the fact that the paper was reasonably well-written.  Reviewing papers and grading have one thing in common: the worse the submission, the longer it takes to review.

Not that I plan to leave all my reviews for the last minute, but it’s a good thing I realized I can do this in less time: two more review requests showed up this morning.

Dragging June 5, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
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I hate, hate, hate the end of the school year.  I’m glad school is over, but the last month is essentially madness.  All the end of school programs, activities, banquets, etc.  I swear that we had one or more activities going on every evening in May.

On top of that, with the warm weather, we’ve hit lawn mowing season.  Apparently the only thing my neighbors have to do is take care of lawn work.  It seems like there are lawn mowers going constantly in my neighborhood from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.

And now I’m just exhausted.  We had to run an errand before work this morning.  While Mike ran in, I stayed in the car.  Things took much longer than anticipated, and so he came out half an hour later and found me sound asleep despite all the ruckus going on outside.  It’s pretty bad when I can actually sleep someplace other than my own bed.

The good news is that I looked at the calendar for June…and it looks like things are finally starting to settle down.  Maybe I’ll even get a little sleep…in between lawn mowers.

The real reason parents want to kick their teenagers out June 3, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in older son.
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Or at least the reason this one does.

I have mentioned before that I am a morning person.  The older son is most definitely not.

Things went fairly well when the older boy was working on his CLEP exam: he’d get up at 7 so that he could catch a ride to the library, where he usually studied until about 11 or 12.  There were two or three days where he had ‘relapses’ and didn’t get up, but overall, he did very well.  It led me to wonder if he was a morning person who was, unfortunately, jacking his schedule around so badly that he didn’t realize it.

Whether or not this is the case, I don’t know.  However, since he took the CLEP exam, he’s fallen into some bad habits again, such as not getting out of bed until almost noon.  This means he’s also up very, very late.  And I’m a light sleeper.  This is a very, very bad combination.

Since he’s done with high school and looking at college, it has occurred to me that maybe he should start looking to go to college a year early.  Not only would he get done with college a bit earlier, I might be able to start getting some sleep, too.

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