Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Independence from everything

This week is the beginning of holiday season in Panama. No, not Thanksgiving (though I'm thinking that being surrounded by Americans is an excellent opportunity to make a turkey, if only I can figure out a way to not have an oven on for hours on end -- it may be the rainy season and cold*, but that's only by Panamanian standards) but a series of days to celebrate independence. Today is independence from Colombia; Thursday is the same thing, but in Colon (it took a couple of days for independence to make it across the isthmus I guess); the 10th is the first call for independence from Spain; the 28th is actual independence from Spain, and the beginning of December marks Mother's Day, which is also considered a national holiday. And then there's the more or less standard Christmas and New Years holidays. I've been told that nothing of an official nature is accomplished here from now until the new year, which is easy to believe.

Not that any of this applies to lowly graduate students. Although I do enjoy holidays, because there are fewer people around the lab to distract me (or to have to share equipment with). I'm thinking more about December 3, which marks my own personal independence from Panama return date. Coming up both far too quickly and not soon enough.

*If you thought I was a cold wimp after living on the west coast, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

and on the seventh day, she rested

Busy, busy, busy.
A little too busy, actually. I'm in the midst of collecting data for a conference in January, reading like mad for this mini-project and you know, that doctorate thing I'm supposed to be working on, and staying in the lab far too much for my own good.

So today, I decided to take a day off. Precipitated by spending all of Saturday in the lab, and getting overly frustrated with the relatively simple tasks I was attempting to accomplish. So today, I did fun house things. CBC Radio (thank God for streaming online radio), laundry (you know you are in the lab too much when laundry becomes a fun task), hanging curtains in the kitchen, reorganizing the living room, and I think I might yet prime my bedroom. My roommate has led me into a painting binge. We did most of the living room -- from baby puke yellow, to a rich red against a warm, nearly mauve-pink neutral. It looks good. Really. The red still needs a few more coats before it's finished, but I'm waiting for her to get back before I do that. And I'd really like to get rid of the dingy, industrial look of my bedroom. Washing the walls and changing the curtains made a huge difference, but now that the painting urge has been released, I feel like taking the next step and putting at least primer on the walls. We'll see.

I shouldn't really be taking the day off based on the amount of work I have to do, but there is, I suppose, a limit. I have been feeling far too stressed for my own good, and I've decided that it is due to me trying to do everything at once. Yes, there are lots of things that I need to and want to do, but trying to do everything at the same time tends to lead to nothing getting accomplished.

And it feels good, so I'm going to run with it.