s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: July 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An incomplete list of things that are hard to do with a sore neck and shoulder

Push a shopping cart.
Carry a shopping basket.
Carry groceries from my car to my apartment.
Check my blind spot.
Look both ways to cross the street.
Wear a messenger bag. (The strap is on the other side, but it still hurts if I wear it for very long.)


Friday, July 21, 2006

Personal Rules

1. I only browse ebay on Mondays.

2. I have to finish three knitting projects before I can buy a new knitting book. (Can’t be buying new knitting books all willy-nilly without actually knitting stuff in the meantime.)

3. I wash my hair on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

4. I have to blog at least once a week.

5. On all my blogs. (Except ZD, where I’m going to try to post monthly.)

6. I have to change the BB quote every day, except for Sundays. (Ideally, I can find some sort of “theme” for the week so I don’t have such trouble finding a new quote every day.)

7. If there’s nothing to do at Job #1, I have to work on Russian.

8. Working on Russian means, among other things, that I have to conjugate every single unfamiliar verb I run across in both imperfective and perfective tenses.

9. And I have to decline every unfamiliar noun and adjective. (I rather hope that no one’s life ever depends on my being able to remember the genitive plural of anything.)

10. I have to catalog (at Job #2) for at least two hours every day, or until I search 20 books, whichever comes first.

11. Back when I was still categorizing Board questions, I had to do 100 questions a day.

12. Now that I’m archiving questions, I’ll have to set some daily quota for those.

13. I wear my skirts in rotation.

14. I wear my shirts pretty much in rotation, too.

15. I read other people’s blogs in order of how frequently they post. (I start with Duchess and work my way down to the people who pretty much don’t blog anymore.)

(Dedicated to all those people who inexplicably don’t live their lives by arbitrary rules.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A long, completely self-centered post about shoes

I really like tasteful, elegant black knee-length skirts. So much, in fact, that I have six of them. To put that into perspective, I only have three skirts which are not tasteful, elegant black knee-length skirts. (And one of them is dark grey, so it may not count.)

Melyngoch is aware of my habit of filling my wardrobe with almost identical items of clothing, and consequently forbade me to buy any more tasteful, elegant black knee-length skirts until I’d bought at least one other of a different color. (But it could still be tasteful, elegant and knee-length.) As I am ever one to be motivated by arbitrary rules, last week I bought a tasteful, elegant knee-length skirt in the color of . . . navy blue. (With light blue flowers appliquéd on the front and light blue piping on the waist. It’s really quite lovely.)

One of the advantages of a monochromatic wardrobe is that it’s very easy to coordinate and accessorize. My black dress shoes go with all of my tasteful, elegant black knee-length skirts, plus the dark grey one. However, my black dress shoes do not go with my newly acquired tasteful, elegant navy blue knee-length skirt. (It’s entirely possible that there exists some group of 3rd degree black belt fashionistas who can make black and navy blue work together, but I am a fashion yellow belt, at most, and had best stick to the few fashion “rules” I can grasp.) I don’t have any other dress shoes, so it’s time to hunt around for another pair that I can wear with the navy blue skirt.

I hate shoe shopping with a passion, because it’s so hard to find shoes that fit. I have these extraordinarily wide feet, and there aren’t many shoes made in my size. To explain, “B” width is average, “A” is narrow, “AA” is more narrow, “C” is wide and “D” is more wide. I wear an 8D. (This means that an average-sized foot is only as wide as my first four toes.)

It’s not that such wide shoes are impossible to find, and I pity the people whose feet are so malformed that they have genuine trouble buying shoes at all. Also, it’s not as if having wide feet is socially stigmatized; certainly I’d rather have wide feet than be obese or have a noticeable deformity. However, (and I did say from the outset that this post was self-centered) it is well nigh unto impossible to find cute shoes in my size. Everything I can find looks like it was designed for the geriatric set, or for those still stuck in the 80s. (See for yourself, and bear in mind that I can only wear half of those shoes, anyway.)

Having wide feet is associated with having a wide body generally, and while I think that I am proof that there are exceptions to that rule, the fashion industry generally refuses to manufacture wide shoes, in the same vein that many designers refuse to create clothing for the larger woman. (And it’s not just that the designers don’t provide a large range of shoe widths generally, because many of them supply shoes in narrow or even extra narrow widths.)

So I was very excited to see that Nine West carries some shoes in wide, although I was a little apprehensive that the size was listed simply as “wide,” since both C and D widths are considered “wide,” but I can only wear the latter. (Yes, I know that Nine West shoes are rather expensive. Pretty much all of my shoes are that expensive, ’cause I can never find anything on sale.) Alas, when I finally got around to ordering a pair, I could barely squeeze my feet into them, and not at all comfortably. (Had they been B width, I would not have been able to fit my feet into them at all.) I did have the bright idea to send them back and order a pair a half size larger – I guess I figured that the larger size might give me enough width to work with. Ordering the 8.5s did give me enough width, but then they were a bit too long. (I had about a finger’s worth of room between the back of my heel and the back of the shoe.) They were somewhat hard to walk in because my heel kept coming out of the back of my shoe. In the end, though, I figured that was acceptable for dress shoes, which aren’t supposed to be particularly conducive to walking in the first place. (I wish I could find a long-term solution by padding the heel, or something. On the bright side, I’m pretty much good to go with slides or mules and maybe even slingbacks.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I just saw (for the first time in my life)


Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Goat cheese is quite good. Chocolate soymilk, also. (Though the latter is a bit strong for my tastes and should probably be diluted with regular soy milk.) Oh, and I’m probably OK to have butter and cream, on occasion.

I miss the egg salad I can get at Meijer and the whole wheat bread I can get at Strawberry Fields, but peanut butter is still in plentiful supply. (The soy protein drink I found says to mix it in a glass of milk. Hi there, if I’ve bothered to buy soy protein, I’m probably not going to be putting it in milk.)

I was talking to a vegan friend a few weeks ago about how expensive organic food is. I mentioned that even though basic staples like bread and milk are two or three times as expensive, I think I’m actually eating less food, overall. She pointed out that if the food I’m eating now is that much higher in nutrition, then I’m probably feeling full, sooner. (That, and it’s awfully hard to find snack food that isn’t forbidden. So, no snacking.)

Thanks again to the Curious Physics Minor for kindly thinking to bring soy crisps to the Board party.

Monday, July 03, 2006

No man is an island

I'm starting to wonder just how much human contact I actually need to be happy. It's something that's been in the back of my mind for a few months, ever since I discovered that all of my fall classes will be online courses. (The courses are designed for students enrolled in the distance learning program.) There will be some definite advantages to this, such as not having to brave the elements to walk to class in the winter, but I’m concerned about the lack of real life interaction, because I've often had an easier time making friends in classes than in other, more purely social situations. (We automatically have something immediate in common, because we’re all enrolled in the same class, and my inherent, inescapable nerdiness is much more acceptable in an academic setting than in a social one.)

My recent trip home has only exacerbated the problem, because I’ve had a chance to spend time with many old friends, and to be reminded of how much fun we used to have (and could, presumably, still be having if I hadn’t moved away). I’m sure that I’ve got rose-colored hindsight (to mix metaphors), but such institutions as Poker Night, Katya Day and every Board party in between aren’t to be replicated anywhere else.

Heaven knows I’ve tried to make friends in Illinois, but it’s been rough going. For a variety of reasons, it's easier to socialize with Mormons than with non-Mormons, but I have yet to make a good friend in the ward, and I'm increasingly pessimistic that I ever will. They are too orthodox, too serious and too, um, unimpressed by my vast mental store of random information. (Or, conversely, I am too heterodox, too inclined to laugh at the world, and too nerdy to fit in. It's fair to place the blame on either side, but it doesn't change the situation.) Worse yet, it seems that every time I make an effort to attend a ward activity or social, I come back feeling more depressed and lonely than if I hadn’t gone at all. (A classic sign of introversion, I believe.) We'll get some new faces in the ward this fall, but I'm not counting on finding a kindred spirit.

Which brings me back to my stock of slowly dispersing friends. I would prefer to interact with them in real life, but I’m fortunate enough to live in an era of email, instant messaging, blogs and other online forums, not to mention the old standbys of postcards and letters. Not that I’m going to cut myself of from human contact completely, but I would probably be less annoyed with the members of the ward if I wasn’t counting on them to replace my friends from back home.

If it’s a choice between trying to force close friendships where none are likely to develop, and putting in a little more effort to maintain the long-distance ones I already have, I would be wise to do the latter, I think.