Sunday, May 24, 2009

A few weeks

It's been a long few weeks. Things have been going okay, don't get me wrong....but I seem to be alternating between being frustrated with my job and the direction I think it is (or, rather, isn't going in) and being fairly content. As a result, I've been probably a little testier than usual some days and, regrettably, a little short with Scientist.

I've also reached the point where I'm ready to move, I think. I like the town we live in well enough, but it's too small and during the winter especially I just get insane stir craziness. That, and honestly, I don't see a lot happening with my career here: cronyism and an permanently f-ed up state employment system have ensured that. My job isn't bad, I just don't see it going where I want it to for awhile.

The one nice, fairly recent, development I've mentioned a few times is some of the hobbies we've really gotten into over the past few months. Scientist has been brewing beer, as well as making yogurt and kefir. I've been baking, cooking, knitting....We're a regular Little House on the Prairie. It's kind of funny--I never EVER pictured myself as being domestic, but I love it. I like doing things that result in a product I can enjoy or spending time in nature. As cheesy as this sounds, I feel like it makes my heart swell. I feel content. Isn't that what life supposed to be about?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Spring always seems really insane: I think the stir-craziness everyone's been feeling all winter finally peaks in late March/early April, and, if we're lucky, the weather turns nice and people are able to break their solitariness, go outside and run around. Everyone seems to drive faster and smile more when the weather first turns nice.

Work at my newish job has been good, but super busy. It's not a perfect job--it pays so !*&^% little that I feel like I'm being taken advantage of--but I like my boss(es) generally and I like doing something in my field. If only it paid more and was a little less research-y and a little more...public-y. Alas, it is not my perfect job. I honestly doubt the perfect job exists in this state.

Actually, there's been a lot I've been thinking about in relation to both my job, the direction of Public Health and health care and where I think I fit into this giant fucking mess we've created/was created for us....but more on that at a different time, when I'm in a more reflective mood.

On a completely unrelated note, Sunday marked the third anniversary of my first date with Scientist. Who would've thought three years later we'd be married and living so far away from the town in which we met?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Yawk and Other Trips Further East

Over Easter weekend Scientist and I made the short trip up to New York to see the city. I have been to a fair number of places, but somehow New York had been one of the places in the US I'd failed to see.

So, despite the face that we had just made a very expensive purchase, which we've had very little time to enjoy due both this trip and the work, we saddled up and headed out.

We saw pretty much everything we could have hoped to see in 3 days: the Brooklyn Bridge (on an extremely windy day no less), Wall Street, Soho (including PURL, where I bought some great yarn for my first sweater), Times Square, improv at The Upright Citizens Brigade and Central Park. I was really impressed at a) how clean the city was compared to other larger cities I've been to and b) how incredibly nice everyone was to us.

One of the highlights of our trip was our fabulous and elegant dinner at Gramercy Tavern. In addition to the great atmosphere and food (I had foie gras for the first time ever), the people watching was top notch. In fact, I heard the couple next to us get into a fight, which ended in the woman making a dramatic exit to the bathroom as her cheese course arrived. I felt bad for eavesdropping, but the temptation was just too great for me NOT to listen.

NYC was awesome--better than I expected, actually--and exhausting. I realize we didn't even come close to seeing all the things I wanted to see, so hopefully we'll be able to fit in another couple trips before we leave Morgantown.

In other travel related news, Scientist and I bought tickets this week to go see my dad in China next September. He'll be getting married, and while there won't be a formal ceremony, we decided this is a good time to go see him and meet his new wife. I'm excited, although the prospect of a non-stop 14 hour flight fills me with dread. Nevertheless, this will be an epic trip (we'll be gone 16 days) and I'm excited about seeing a country and experiencing a culture far removed from any of the other places/cultures I've ever seen.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Keen on Yarn

As any and all of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, in the last several months I've become obsessed with knitting. Maybe "obsessed" is strong word; let's say I've become keen on on it.

I don't know what it is about knitting I love so much. Maybe it's the idea that I've finally found something I can do that doesn't fill me with a sense of inadequacy like writing does (although nothing is more fulfilling than a good writing day), or studying Russian. Or perhaps it's ying/yang nature of knitting: one needs to be both methodical (pay attention to patterns, plan for how much yarn you need, etc) and creative at the same time (there are endless number of wacky things you can find patterns for on the internet). I suspect that what I love most about knitting is the yarn, though.

This is actually my second shot at knitting. I first attempted it when we moved here; I had no friends, we lived in a kinda shitty apartment, and I felt like I was watching way too much TV. That attempt was short lived--I lost interest and gave it up after a few weeks.

This time though, I think I'm going to stick with it. I started out making a blanket for Sophie, and then moved on to bookmarks (I sent my first one to my dad in China). Now, I'm making washcloths for my mother's new house and a friend's birthday, as well as a gorgeous checkerboard pattern type scarf for Scientist. People LOVE knitted gifts, and non-knitters and wanna be knitters seem to be uber appreciative of the time and effort it takes to make them a knitted gift.

When we head to New York at the end of the week I'm going to make my biggest purchase yet at Purl, a knitter's mecca located in Soho. I'm thinking it's time to make myself something, and that something will most likely be hoodie in the loveliest, richest shade of expensive purple yarn I can find.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Picking Up

After two weeks of sorta twiddling my thumbs, it looks as though I'm about to get very busy at work. Sitting around reading peer reviewed articles on every possible policy and intervention dealing with issue under study in my office is fine and all, but there comes a point where one gets bored. Really, really bored.

But that is no more! Er, won't be soon. I'm working on three different projects for two different teams of researchers, two of which are about to take off. It looks like, in addition to reading, I'll be doing some field work (doesn't that very Scully-like?) involving surveying college students, as well as going to rural health clinics in the area. The site visits should be really interesting; WV has some pretty backwater places, especially in the southern part of the state, and seeing that up close should be educational. And scary.

I have high expectations for this job. I hope I'm not disappointed.

On a completely unrelated note, it warms my heart that I'm not 'speaking' to a totally empty room when I post on this blog: thanks for adding yourself as a 'follower' DHP.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


So, for those of you not on Facebook (and thus not privy to my every movement through status updates), or who haven't yet received a personal e-mail from me, I started my new job on Monday.

Things are good so far: everyone has been extremely nice, I work down the hall from everyone I worked with as a graduate student (so I know practically everyone on our floor already), and I haven't had much of a problem adjusting to an 8 hour work day....Okay that's not entirely true. I work an 9 hour work day because at around 11:30 every day I go work out with Scientist, making my day longer as I have to stay later for taking a long lunch. This makes my day seem really long by the time 5 rolls around, but I'm glad I can work out during the day--it makes me more productive in the afternoon, when I have a serious energy slump.

Anyway. I don't really have an idea of what my work load is really going to be like yet; my boss and other people I work with are actually out of town this week, and won't be back until Monday. I was told that come Monday things are really going to start 'movin'. Whatever that means. I'm okay with that though, I would much rather have stuff to do than be super bored, as I was during my graduate assistantship.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What I did with those two years

Thursday, I submitted my background check to my future place of employment. If you've ever done this (which, I actually have--I was fingerprinted and thoroughly checked out before I left for Ukraine), it's a little unnerving, no matter how clean one's record is. I didn't even have to submit that much information: just my social security information and the addresses of every place I've lived in the last 7 years. I hate this sort of thing not because I have anything to hide, but because it is SO annoying. Especially if you've, say, spent a significant portion of time overseas and have to explain to someone why it would a giant pain in everyone's ass for you to write down every address you've lived at ( a) they're in Russian, and b) I don't remember all of them and c) if you want a really good picture of what type of citizen I was thru 2005, its easier to check with the Peace Corps office in Kyiv than with the local police department in a small town in southern Ukraine). It always sounds like you're lying or hiding something.

This is actually something I run into frequently: having to explain my Peace Corps service and all it entailed to people who haven't spent any/ a lot of time in a developing country. I had a less than idyllic Peace Corps service: I started out my service with a giant, painful cyst in my ear which I had to have removed (after 2 operations I'm finally okay); I had a very difficult time with the administration at my school; I moved a bunch because of a bad landlord or two; I had put up with some seriously childish, asshole-like behavior on the part of other volunteers(think re-living high school in a bubble); and I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder 3 months after arriving home (I didn't tell anyone about the anxiety while I was in Ukraine for fear of being sent home). It sucked. Not everything, and not the whole two years, but a significant proportion of it.

So, when I try to explain why I moved four times in a year, or why I don't consider Peace Corps the best time of life, or why I don't even bring it up right away when I meet people, it's hard. I don't want to scare anyone off from trying the Peace Corps, or, God forbid, traveling/living overseas, but I don't want to lie and say everything was sunshine and roses. It wasn't: but not for the reasons that most people think (no heat, intermittent water, frigid weather, etc.). How do you explain that? I don't play the "poor me" violin and ask for pity. I just want to put the bad parts behind me completely and forget about it sometimes, which is difficult when I have to constantly talk about the circumstances surrounding my service whether in an interview or filling out a background check.