I started baking on Wednesday, taking advantage of the lack of class to make a pecan pie, broccoli casserole, and some butterscotch chip cookies. I picked up Sam from the airport that evening, and on Thursday morning we headed across the state to join my brother in Tahoe. We got stuck in traffic, but that didn't stop us from enjoying our delicious meal with way too much food.
Elan took care of the turkey and stuffing, and we made some gravy and sweet potatoes and yams when we got there.
Then on Friday, Sam and I went skiing. Heavenly must be one of the most beautiful places I've ever skied. Amazing.
We were supposed to head back to Palo Alto on Saturday, but got delayed by a huge snowstorm, so we stayed an extra day. Sadly, I spent most of the time doing homework. This of course also meant even more crowds leaving the South Lake Tahoe this morning - it took us around 2 hrs to reach the next town. But at least we got to enjoy some amazing views while sitting on Hwy. 50.
I have tons more photos, but also tons of work, so they'll probably just get put up in a gallery over winter break (less than 2 weeks!).
Update: I just had to turn up the heat in the car to get the frost off the winshield. In Palo Alto!
I'm psyched that all my classes for tomorrow were cancelled. However, it would have been nice to know this a month or two ago when I was planning my Thanksgiving. Not that I'm not looking forward to a great homemade dinner at the bro's place in Tahoe, with Sam out here, but I'm just saying...
On a completely different topic, I was all set to be excited by my huge FedEx claim check (some of the items shipped, i.e. my TV and VCR, were damaged), and sadly opened up the envelope to see its only $107.66. Apparently, they say that I had a maximum liability of $100, plus shipping charges, with no declared value, which is so wrong since I definately declared value on the big ticket items, i.e. my TV, and the TV and VCR were in different boxes, and each box should be insured up to $100. And the claims guy I've been dealing with never picks up his phone. Grrr.
But on the upside, when I called to finally change my address on my car insurance, I found out the my insurance rates actually went down a bit out here, contrary to what they told me a few months ago. Sweet. And my Matlab class is over. 1 down, 4 more to go.
We got to go on the roof!!!
What to say about the weekend? Friday was spent tasting some pretty bad beaujolais (I got there late and apparently missed the good stuff), invading an Indian restaurant with a crew of loud engineers, and playing a riotious game of Apples to Apples.
Saturday, fixing my bike, a trip to Jasper Ridge (pics above and way more to come some day when I get time to deal with them), and then studying galore. I actually passed up legitimate social engagements of favor of my desk. Such is the life of the student.
Today, brunch with Josh, who was gracious enough to include a insider's tour of Palo Alto, then back to the books - I had my work division down to a science this afternoon: Privatization until 2, Matlab from 2-3:30, work on a paper until 6, discussion group til 7, Hydrogeology and Hydrodynamics from 7 - 11, then back to Privatization. Doesn't my life make you want to go to grad school?
One advantage of having to walk to class is the foliage. Yup, you heard me right - California = foliage.
I am pretty sure I just failed a midterm, and I got a flat tire on my way home from classes today on my rear tire, which I can't change on my own. I'm going to wallow in some self-pity for a while.
- I went to my first college football game this weekend. Well, not exactly true, since I technically was at games at Tufts, but when you only go on Homecoming and spend most of the time at tailgating village, it might as well not count. Stanford's stadium is awesome, the band is amusing, and the game (or the 1st quarter since I left early) was pretty bad. Oh well.
- I played in my first college ultimate frisbee tournament. And we won. The. Whole. Tournament. Awesome. BTW, I think UC Santa Cruz has the most beautiful view of any campus out there - we played on fields overlooking the pacific - amazing. Sadly, I forgot my camera, so you'll have to take my word for it.
- I made my mom's yummy tortilla lasagna for a potluck dinner for my friend's housewarming, and it was a huge hit. The party was great too - the people in my program rock.
- I got way too little work done over the weekend, thus my plans of getting ahead on work seem to be dashed. Excuse me while I work my ass off for the next few days so that I can procrastinate through the weekend again.
Google was at the SWE meeting today, so I got my first Google shirt. I don't think you can be a Stanford engineer and not have one. And leave it to Google to print them on American Apparel fitted 3/4-length sleeved shirts. Don't want people advertising our product to wear their shirt to the gym!
Things I did in the past 48 hrs to put off studying for this morning's midterm:
- Read my new book
- Cleaned my desk (Mom and Dad, I know you probably won't believe me, but you can actually see the surface!)
- Organzied my receipts and bills
- Wrote letters for The Stanford Fund (To raise money for the frisbee team)
- Ventured to Wal-Mart for some storage boxes (note to self, never visit Wal-Mart on a Sunday again)
- Did homework for other classes (never had a better motivator)
- Played frisbee
- Talked on the phone
- Slept (the material seems to have a soporific effect)
But I did manage to get a bit of studying in, and I think it was enough to do decently. The test could definately have been scarier than it was.
Yes, its week seven out of ten here at Stanford, but that apparently is still early enough in the semester to take a midterm. I only have one (unless you count the one for sailing where we get tested on our knowledge of sailing terms for 20 minutes), but it is closed book, closed notes, and we are not allowed to bring in an equation sheet. I haven't taken a test in 2 1/2 years, but one without a cheat sheet? Probably at least another year before that. I've forgotten how to study. Which is probably why I actually enjoyed most of my weekend.
A fun evening on Friday, burgers and beer in Palo Alto. Then soaking up some sun on Saturday while doing some reading before going to play frisbee. A mega trip to the grocery store, a meal cooked from scratch, followed by a housewarming party for a friend in my program. And when did I get around to starting to study? This evening. And it put me to sleep. But at least the test isn't until Tuesday.
Well, maybe not, but its one hell of a conincidence. Wednesday morning, Kerry concedes. By Wednesday around noon, I'm a regular snot factory. Sure, there might be a chance that half my program having been sick in the past few weeks, averaging 5 hrs of sleep a night this week, and being too busy to eat properly could have something to do with it as well, but I'll go with the Bush thing.
A bunch of the people in my program are thinking staying and getting their PhD's is probably a good idea, since the job market for environmental work will probably be on the tight side in the next four years, especially in the public sector, but even Bush getting re-elected doesn't make me want to stay. Sure, there are advantages of being a student again, but I miss things like salaries and free time. Which reminds me, time to work on my resume - I might go up to Sacramento on Monday to schmooze at the annual Calfed meeting, and it would be a good idea to be prepared.
Anyways, as promised, Halloween photos:
We had a mini Halloween tournament with the men's team last week. Our opponents theme was Where's Waldo. Great easy costume. Our's was Full Moon on the Quad, which is not quite as unifying, and was ignored by many, as shown by the black ninja holding the disc.
We went as the swing states. From l to r: A Portland Hipster, a very cold Minnesotan, a keystone, an elderly lady who can't vote, a cow, a non swing-state jedi, a Iowan farmer, the Colorado Rockies, and a New Mexican. My costume didn't stay on very long once we got to the party.
The costumes at the party were great - there was even a Blue Meanie!
You get amazingly excited over finding a fairly unused Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser on the floor. Probably just as sad is the fact that I have used up all the erasers on my pencils and now have to carry around erasers like this. Ah, the mistakes I make.
Anyway, Halloween was fun, more to follow when I actually have time to write.