Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Settling in.

Day 2 at the archives involved me going as fast as I could through my boxes so that I'll have enough time to get to everything before I leave for Chicago early next week. Of course, there's a big difference between flipping quickly through a hated comps book, and carefully turning 85-year old pieces of flimsy paper, making sure to note when you want things photocopied. It is a long process, and hard on the eyes and back.

I took advantage of the mini kitchen facilities that the archives has, and brought my own lunch so I could eat quickly and cheaply. Boring, I know.

But after my long day, I ventured off to the East Bank of the Minneapolis campus and the Coffman Memorial Union to pick up some touristy/info things and get a bus pass. Success.

To close, here are a few pictures. The first two are of the Weisman Art Museum, and the other two are for HD. (And, after taking these two pics, I was told I wasn't allowed to take photos! So, these are illegal pics, or something.)

Oh, and by the way, it's cold down here! Yesterday I laughed when I saw a postcard that read "MinneSNOWta," but now I understand.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Day 1 at the archives.

Well, I went to the archives and started my research. It was a good day. The weather was amazing, and so I took some time after lunch---I ate amongst Minnesota undergrads in a cafeteria---to stroll around campus a bit. But not for too long, because I do have work to do!

I found out a lot of stuff today, stuff that I wouldn't have known except by coming here and reading about on old pieces of paper! There's lots more to do for the next week. At the moment, my brain is a little fried.

After my day was over, I went with TT to the local organic grocery store to get food for myself and for dinner tonight. We had yummy pasta, bread, and I contributed my specialty: salad! BC and TT's housemates joined us, and Kwill provided some of the entertainment. The other guy's strong Minnesotan accent provided some of the rest.

Oh, I almost forgot! I saw my first real-life Arby's today, and had "shmear" on my bagel this morning . . . AKA cream cheese. Three pictures to share with you. First, my station at the archives; second, campaigners for an independent gubernatorial candidate (remember: elections are next Tueday [Toosday]); third, downtown Minnesota as seen from the East Bank of campus.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Safe arrival.

[This is me on the train from the airport into the city. It was a super nice day out -- I was way over-dressed!]

After a not-so-long day of travelling, I am settled in Minneapolis with my hosts, BC, TT, and their kitten, Kwill. A run-down of my day: subway, bus, customs, shuttle bus, waiting, plane ride, baggage claim, light rail, car, lovely conversation and dinner, NPR.

On the plane I sat next to a physician, who told me all about his practice. From the sounds of it, he is one of the top hair transplant guys around. (He had to rush off the plane to meet a patient who had flown in all the way from Australia!) He was a really nice, interesting person, and it made for a lovely flight. He answered all my many questions. Who ever said doctors were no good? Oh, wait: that was me! Clearly, I was mistaken ;-).

My hosts are lovely, and we have tentative plans to do the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Tuesday night and the Mall of America on the weekend. I should go to bed soon to prepare for a 6:45am wake-up.

But before I do that, let me introduce Kwill, whom I caught checking out my luggage :

A Massey day, grading, and packing.

The last couple days have been busy. On Friday, I went to lunch at Massey (and had a nice time and a good meal), then ran a few errands before a quick dinner and back to Massey to head over to Convocation Hall at U of T. This is where the last Massey Lecture for this year was held. Margaret Somerville was the speaker/lecturer. She's been in the news, making people angry with her over her views about same-sex marriage. She's clearly an intelligent person who has thought through her views quite carefully, and that's always something to be appreciated. She did make a couple uninspired statements (at least to my mind), but these were overshadowed by an interesting, thought-provoking talk. Now, mind you, I don't share her worldview and assumptions about the duty and nature of humanity, etc., but I feel better now that I understand where she is---and other people like her are---coming from. And, she's really not anti-gay/lesbian as an overall philosophy; she just doesn't think they should be getting married. (Which to her mind, doesn't make her anti-gay/lesbian, though I suppose many people would disagree.) Read her stuff if you're interested in finding out more. Whatever you think about her worldview or the policy implications of it, this kind of thinking is important, and I was very glad that I went.

After the lecture us Massey folk and assorted hangers-on went back to the college for the reception. I had a great time talking with new and nearly-new friends. LG strolled in later on, just back from a day trip south of the border. (I might have a minor crush on him.) He insisted to walking me to the subway station at the end of the evening, despite the gross weather.

Thus ended my Massey day. Well, except for the part where I came home and told FN all about it, because I know she would have loved the entire evening . . . especially the lecture part!

Needless to say, I didn't get much grading done on Friday, so I still had 15 left to do Saturday. I managed to get those done and handed in to my prof. at his house this afternoon. I just managed to finish in time! Craziness.

I am missing Hallowe'en parties (including the famous Massey one) so I can pack. Which I should get back to . . .

I'll write from Minneapolis when I can! My plane leaves Toronto early Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Leaving academia behind.

No, don't be alarmed: These essays haven't turned me off the academic life!

My new friend LG has a PhD but is now in law school. In and of itself, this information is a little surprising to me, seeing as how I can't imagine being a lawyer after having done research and teaching. But, what really saddened me was when he said that when he finished his doctorate, he gave away all his books on the subject. Wow. Imagine me getting my PhD and then saying, "Screw Siberia and all you other dead people. I wanna enter professional school!" As if. I love history! I mean, it's one thing to not get a job and then end up doing something else, and even liking the something else . . . but to give it completely up after all those years? I don't walk in his shoes, so I wonder what happened.

I must ask next time I see him what went wrong (or right?). Of course, it's none of my business, but it just seems like such a sad story.

In happier news, though, I saw some historians that I hadn't seen in a while yesterday. I do love those upper-years . . . they are too cool. And then I went to Massey, where my new friend EM and I checked out the pumpkins that had been carved by Masseyites the day before. We had to walk past people in fancy dress, a few menacing-looking cops and even a sniffer dog making sure the books in the Upper Library weren't concealing any bombs! Why, you ask? Well, the Swedish royal couple was in town, and Massey wined and dined them last night. I skipped the post-dinner festivities at the college to watch the first episode of "Firefly" with FN and LG. Oh, and when I came home, there was scrumptious chocolate ca... er, chocolate something-without-flour waiting for me. Thanks FN!! It was too good.

What is wrong with these people?

By third year of university, I had assumed (very wrongly) that students had acquired some capacity to think intelligently and analyze documents in a somewhat sophisticated way. Oh my. How stupid of me. Forgetting for a moment about cases of sheer laziness and uncaring, the essays I have marked so far---more than 50 of them---have nearly universally displayed a real lack of critical faculties on the part of their authors. These students have almost no sense of what history is all about, and, more problematically, they have almost no ability to present a reasoned argument based on provided evidence and rational thinking. For example, so many students have argued that Stalin was to blame for the Cold War in 1946 because his communist ideology was anti-capitalist. End of argument. I realize that these students may not have studied that much history before, but they surely know at some level that Stalin hadn't just picked up on this in February 1946! Don't they realize that they need to ask themselves, What changed in 1946 as opposed to 1917 or 1928 or . . . .? So many students focus on Soviet actions without seeming to think that perhaps they should also think about US actions . . . and yet they accuse the historians they read of being "one-sided" in their interpretations. Do they not realize that they are the ones being one-sided? Is is just haste in completing the assignment? If I pointed this out to them, would they see it?

I could go on, but I guess one point I want to make here is this: these students could really benefit from having tutorials. No, I didn't have tutorials after first year during my undergrad, but then I also had smaller classes and 3 hours of lecture a week. These students only get 2 hours. They can't be irretrievably stupid, can they? I'd like to think they just need some good educatin'. And one way of getting that is to confront them with their own assumptions in small settings. This is not going to happen, at least not in this class. How frustrating.

Part of me also thinks that a lot of students are simply incapable or unwilling to think critically in the way that scholars should. And so what the hell are they doing in university in the first place. But that's very unegalitarian of me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

Historica asked me today to send them a picture of myself for the package their putting together for the council meeting in November. (I'm going to that.) And since I have no appropriate head-shoulders pictures of myself, I figured I could take one with my fancy new digital camera! Ok, so I might not be able to get my shoulders in there, but it would be better than what I've got. (I have a tendency to be very unphotogenic.) Anyways, which one is better? I suppose I could also attach one to my blogger profile....

Oh, yes, and I'm 27 years old today.

UPDATE: FN says the pictures don't look like me. Ack!
UPDATE 2: In the interests of load times, I've removed the other three images. This is the winning one!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just one of the insane plans hatched by two young(ish), bored women.

FN has decided that I need to hook up with Zach, a NYU grad student who blogs. Not that she actually knows the dude, or anything. I pointed out to her that while I appreciate her turning her matchmaking gaze my way, this sounds a litte nutty. Not least because, well, we don't know the dude. Or even live in the same city/country. But she persisted. So I then changed tactics. For round two, I employed the, "well, he does seem lovely, and it would be great to meet him, but methinks perhaps he is a little too intense for boring old me." And did this sway her? Hell, no. In fact---and here I must admit that I immediately saw the lameness of my retort---she insisted that the intense hippie type was exactly the sort of man for me! I (once again) lamely complained that he would make me think too hard on a daily basis were I to date him. (Thinking hard is hard work, after all, and who wants to do that?) But, again, FN thought this was a perfect reason to get in touch with said blogger. Sigh. I then compounded my troubles by suggesting (jokingly of course, in the stalker-joke kind of way) that I could add him to my AOL chat list. But she thought I was being serious. Oh, woman.

Perhaps when she e-mails her one-true-love, Sufjan Stevens, I will tell Zach about our meant-to-be-ness.

I will give the lady the last word (at the risk of her yelling at me upon reading this): "I'm not crazy! this is serendipity or something....that I found this guy...on the interweb....for you!"

Monday, October 23, 2006

My nerdiness: the visual representation.

This is my fabulous, framed American Red Cross propaganda poster from 1918. (A reproduction, of course.) I can't get over the awesomeness of it.

These are my three "soldiers with books" posters on my mantle. Aren't they great? If you're jealous, you can get your very own nerdy posters from eBay.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A break from grading.

What was supposed to be a short break away from grading awful papers has turned into a many-houred Siberian sojourn, with stop-offs in Minneapolis and Illinois. In other words, I booked my train ticket to Urbana-Champaign from Chicago, and figured out how to get around Minneapolis and Chicago. As for Siberia, I've been doing dissertation research for the past while, and . . . yay!

Even if I get all my archival and other primary research done by the end of the summer (and let's hope I do), there will be a lot of work ahead of me. A lot. This won't come as any suprise to anyone in my shoes. Though there isn't mounds of secondary literature to go through, there is still a bunch of it, and in a bunch of different areas. I will make my workload even heavier by writing thematic chapters, meaning I have to engage different fields of historiographies in each one, in addition to the more obvious lit. I have to deal with.

In 16 hours a few people are coming over to dinner, so I suppose I best get thinking about going to bed. There's lots of shopping, cleaning, cooking to do tomorrow (er, today). And of course I still have more than 70 essays to grade! And, yes, they are still quite dreadful. It's very depressing and not a little shocking.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I am in a state of semi-shock over the badness of so many of these essays that I'm grading. They are seriously disastrous. This is a 3rd-year class, and these students are at "the Harvard of the North"! ;-)

But maybe the next one will be an A paper . . . .

Friday, October 20, 2006

Putting faces to nicknames.

Today FN and I went to high table at Massey. Since I had told her a little about some of the people I've met there---or in some cases, apparently a lot!---it was fun to see and hear her reaction to actually meeting them. Handsome guy seems definitely to have a g/f, which is fine: I'll just admire from afar. (It's not like I even really know the guy, after all, so it's no biggie.) FN was ever so slightly shameless, doing her best wife impersonation, and inviting the interesting/attractive people (read: men) to dinner. Awesome.

I am now continuing to grade, which will be the story of my life for the next week. I've had some better essays today than I had yesterday, but I'm still not overly impressed. The trick will be not to become terribly bored grading 95 papers all on the exact same topic. Sigh.

In other news, I ordered a 1GB memory stick (USB thing) online, and a Russian-language book. Doing the latter was a little iffy, since the website was in Russian! But hopefully it'll work. If not . . . , well, I'll deal with that when I have to. It is strange to get confirmation e-mails in Cyrillic script, though. But this is nothing compared to potentially having to actually read the book. Now that will be a challenge/impossibility.

Grading, grading.

I've started grading the 95 papers I brought home with me on Tuesday. And so far I'm not happy! Ah well, hopefully I've just happened to mark the bad ones thus far.

And, speaking of stupid people, I went to a Massey lecture tonight on DNA and genetics. I asked during question period what a parasite was. Yeah, that's right: for some reason, I couldn't remember what a parasite was. Ugh. Ah well, hopefully the other Masseyites won't think I'm totally retarded. I retreated to the history crowd at the pub afterwards, feeling much more at home among fellow historians, even if most of them were MAs!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The importance of being away.

When I was in Ottawa last week, I had very little to do during the weekdays except spend time at my archives. I would wake up (early), get to town, start working, take a lunch break, and then do more work before heading home at the end of the day. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked---darn having to meet up with friends, and having a chatty archivist!---but there were few distractions. Especially because I did not have internet access.

Now that I'm back in Toronto, I understand the value of being out of town for actually getting work done. So far this week, I've been busy, but I've accomplished very little. Very. Today: Hosted my reading group, went grocery shopping, decided what grants to apply for, and need to meet EC in a bit for more shopping. Yesterday: Prepared for the reading group, went to lecture, spent 1.5 hours at the bank, went to coffee hour. Monday: Trin high table dinner (much fun---thanks DS), met with a student, prepared for meeting with said student, spent an hour with HD (just back from being away), and did internet and telephone errands. So you see how I really haven't done anything dissertation-related this week. (I did send my committee members my proposal by e-mail on Sunday, though.) And starting tomorrow I need to begin grading assignments like crazy. I brough 95 of them home with me last night . . . and I'm leaving town in a week and a half, so they have to be done by then.

I now understand why some profs or students might want to isolate themselves for a bit: not because they are antisocial or being difficult, but because then they might actually produce something!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back in T.O.

I had a lovely (if tired) last day in Ottawa, hanging at LAC, having lunch with old friend JH, running into former Carleton colleagues, and chatting with my bus driver. My mom and I then watched "The Stepford Wives," which is one of her favourite movies, and I must say that it is quite good. Freaky! (The original movie, of course. Not the Nicole Kidman version, which I haven't seen.)

After hurriedly packing all my stuff Saturday morning, my mom and I did a bagel run before she dropped me off at the train station. The (rather cute) guy at the bagel store told me he once had a customer who bought 5 dozen bagels to bring back with him to Toronto! I believe it, because it is impossible to get good bagels here.

It was a little sad leaving Ottawa, but it's good to be back. I was pleasantly surprised at the train station that the bag I had left behind was at the lost & found waiting for me! Which means I don't have to buy another pink scarf.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bloody history.

OMG: I love archives. But I digress....

So, yeah, I went to the Canadian War Museum today. What a bloody history us Canadians (broadly defined) have had! And on the 10 o'clock news so far there's been stories about the 90th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel and now something about the 1970 FLQ crisis, the War Measures Act and internment on the homefront during the world wars . . . and now Peter Mansbridge it talking to Jack Granatstein! Jack!!

But I digress. Let's get back to my day.

It started very early once again; I was back at Library and Archives Canada at 8:30am. Since I can't function that early, I headed up to the cafeteria for a bagel and tea. A good way to spend 25 minutes. And then I got to work. I found this great document that I totally could have used for my MA. It made me very happy, and even better, it confirmed a few things that I thought had happened, but had never before had hard evidence to prove them. Yay! I didn't get through much before lunch, mostly because I had to type out this long report. (The type was very faint, so I couldn't photocopy it.)

I headed off to the Canadian War Museum to meet friend and real-life historian JN. We had lunch in "The Mess" (of course), and I even got to benefit from JN's employee discount. Awesome. After gossiping---"it's not gossip, it's the social history of current events," says JN---and talking shop, we both headed off to work. The Military History Research Centre is definitely an improvement over the old museum's archives facility. I chatted with the archivist for much too long about all kinds of geeky things, and she gave me a personal tour of the preservation/archives inner rooms. Very cool stuff. Needless to say, I didn't get all the research done that I had wanted to, but it's okay: this gives me a reason to go back in December.

After the research centre closed, I visited the museum itself . . . for the first time. (I am ashamed to admit that I'd never even been to the old war museum.) An hour and a half in, I was spent and only up to the end of WW1, so I'll definitely have to go back another time. The museum wasn't super exciting, but I think it's fairly well done, and it was good to see in person some of the things I've read about. Like, how big and heavy guns were back then. The museum goes all the way up to Afghanistan, so I missed a lot.

I bet you think thus ended my day . . . but you're wrong. It was back to the archives for me. A little more work before finally leaving downtown at 8:30pm. Busy day. Lots more work to do tomorrow. It was a good day, though. Ottawa is totally the place to be for archive junkies in this country. Which has me wondering, What do I like about Toronto? (Other than FN, of course.)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can't stop the rain.

But seriously, folks, I am having a good week here in the nation's capital. Must go to bed soon (for real), but I will tell you all about it at some point... maybe.

Archives: yay! Historians: yay! Downtown Ottawa: yay!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


There are many things to tell you, none of them particularly exciting. But I found a great few lines in a diary I was reading today at one of my archives! I have plans to meet up with friends and hang out at the war museum to round out my archive-crazy week before I head back to T.O. on the weekend.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Beautiful Ottawa

My mom, sister, and I visited my grandma yesterday for lunch. It was nice, but kinda shocking to see her so, well, old. (We think she must have had a stroke. She's still walking around, and remembers who we all are, but she's pretty clueless about a whole lot things.)

After lunch we headed off to Carleton University to take in the butterfly exhibit. It was lovely! Every fall two greenhouses are taken over by exotic butterflies and opened to the public. After marvelling at the bugs and the great greenery, we took a walk along the edge of the river-side campus. So beautiful! Carleton is such a strange university. The buildings are of course rather ugly (compared to parts of U of T), since they were mosly built in the 1960s and 1970s. But the campus itself is set on lovely landscape. It's right on the Ottawa River and the trees are really colourful right now. Squirrels, birds, and chipmunks were out in full force. We also got to see the third-year architecture students' design projects, which were set up along the riverbank. It was a really nice afternoon visit to my alma mater, and the weather was great!

The plan for today is to relax some more and get ready for heading to the archives tomorrow. It turns out that the War Museum is super close to Library and Archives Canada, so I'm happy about that. But I'm unhappy about having to take a bus so early tomorrow morning. Sigh.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Trains, suburbs, and automobiles.

I'm back home in semi-rural Ottawa. Except it doesn't feel too much like home. There's one big thing missing: my dog! Oh, and I guess my dad and my brother and sister too. But, seriously, it's really wierd that the dog isn't around. (She's in C'town with my dad.) I keep wanting to check on her outside, or lean down and give her pats, or else watch that I don't put food on the floor. And when this ginormous air balloon flew by the house today, there was no dog to run and hide in my brother's closet because she's terrified of those things. Sigh.

The train to Ottawa yesterday was fine (apart from it taking an hour longer than it should have). I sat next to this chatty lawyer man who immediately introduced himself to me even before I had a chance to sit down! Coby is 42, a father of 2 daughers, grew up in Ottawa, but now works in Calgary as a will and estate lawyer, etc., etc., etc. I can tell you more. But he was a nice, sincere guy. And, FN: He likes his job a lot! (But he doesn't strike me as the intellectual type.)

It's been really beautiful weather and scenery 'round these parts. The leaves are just about at the height of their fall colour season. (Coby told me that there are no maple trees in Calgary, so they never see red leaves. How sad!)

There's not much to do at home except hang out with my mom while she watches home and decorating shows, among other things that you only get if you have cable. We went grocery shopping today, and got stuff for turkey dinner tomorrow as well as bagels and good old fashioned (fake) Chinese egg rolls. (I've never seen egg rolls of this sort in Toronto's Chinatown.)

Tuesday through Friday I'll be leaving the house at 7:23am to catch the "late" bus into town. Oy. And then I get to leave the archives at 5:05pm to get the last bus back home. So I'll get a taste of the 9-5 (well, 8:30-4:30) thing next week. Sounds dreadful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Packing takes a long time.

I am taking a break from packing. It always takes me a long time to pack for trips. I do it slowly so that I have enough time to remember everything that I've forgotten. I should make a list---this would probably speed up the process. Hmm. A job for another day.

I went to our grad student pub night tonight. It was a good time, and I met some new people and got to spend time with old friends too. AT even came! So did AB, CB, EW, DR, and AG and JC. There were all kinds of law students about, and, well, they all looked kinda sketch to me. (I'm only half joking.) Historians may be less well-dressed---though not necessarily---but we're so much better! I mean, they're not all bad . . . .

It was apparently Alexander Keith's birthday, so lots of folks got free drinks and some people got to take home free beer mugs. The bar was also lit up by these little green light things, and people were eating a large birthday cake! I didn't win or get anything, though. Not that I'm complaining.

Paying the bill at the end put a bit of a damper on things. We were $40 short when the bill came, and since most people had already left, there was nothing really to do expect shill out the extra cash. Another historian and I split the cost. I doubt we'll get paid back. Sigh. Oh well.

Oh, and my computer is up and running again. There's a few things that it looks like I forgot to save, but nothing really important. Hopefully I won't have the same problem that forced me to reinstall Windows yesterday.

Back to packing. I'll post from Ottawa, assuming I have internet access!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Reinstalling, loading, hoping.

At the moment I am in the process of restoring my files and downloading the programs I lost when I wiped my hard drive clean and reinstalled Windows. It's taking a long time. But so far, so good! All my e-mails seem to be intact, and my research and school files seem to all be here too. Yay!

The only dissertation-related work I did today was to speak to an archivist from Library and Archives Canada. She gave me some good suggestions for I might look at next week when I'm in Ottawa. I'll also head over to the new(ish) War Museum for some research, and will hopefully be able to spend some time exploring the museum itself. I'm looking forward to my week in Ottawa. I'll be spending time with my mom, catching up with my sister and brother during Thanksgiving, and then spending the rest of my time in archives. I'll hopefully also meet up with a couple friends who live in Ottawa. Should be a nice week, but a busy one! The worst part of next Tuesday through Friday will be my waking hour: I'll have to catch a bus into downtown at 7:30am, I think. Ugh.

Yesterday I skipped out of lecture (for the class I'm TAing) an hour early to go to an event at Massey. (The Master's Buffet Dinner.) It was really nice. I got to chat with some nice people, most of them new acquaintances. One guy is, well, kinda unreal. Let me explain. He did his undergrad at the most prestigious institution in the US, and his doctorate at the most pretigious university overseas, and is now in med school here. Oh, and he's nice and personable, well-dressed, and good-looking. (And younger than me, of course.) WTF?! Insanity. In other frivolous news, I saw handsome guy, but I didn't manage (once again) to actually talk to him.

Tonight EC invited us over for pizza dinner an ANTP-watching. AG, PB, and a couple other people were there. Good times. I'm glad PB took some time out of his insanely busy schedule to chill with us for a couple hours. Does that guy ever sleep, AG?

I will continue my downloading, etc.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Socializing, shopping

After another busy weekend of socializing---housewarming at SF and GO's place; birthday party and housewarming at AT and J's place; Nuit Blanche with YT, FN, and CLM; Sunday dinner with FN's cool girl-friends---today I got back to, well, not doing school work. Crap. I woke up very late. As in, 2:14pm. And I had a meeting scheduled with one of my supervisors for 2:30. Needless to say, I didn't make it, but called him instead to talk about my upcoming research trip to Ottawa. He had some good advice for me.

Later in the afternoon and through the evening, FN and I went shopping. I was in search of nice grey flannel type work-y pants to wear to nice-ish events and perhaps some nice tops to go with the pants. I didn't manage to find those things, but I did come home with decent striped grey work-y pants. They'll do. I also got a red v-neck sweater and a couple casual tops, and 7 pairs of socks. Because one can never have too many socks. (Shopping for clothes is really hard when you're me. Or FN. Though she looks good in more things than I look good in. Pity me.)

A very late dinner at home was followed by, well, what I'm doing now: catching up on little errands. I will hopefully be more productive tomorrow. There's a talk I might go to, and maybe I'll skip our departmental coffee hour and go to the library instead. This will be followed by the lecture for the class I TA for. And then there's a dinner thing at Massey I must attend. Seriously, people, my life is all about not getting any actual work done these days. It's terrible!

P.S. FN is no longer sick, but I'm sure she'd still appreciate sympathy and bouquets of flowers.