Listening to music

I realized that not every post I post here needs to be 100% insightful and 100% perfect, because … this is the internet and I can post what I want. Also I control this site here. I do want to get in the habit of writing more frequently (in general, but also on here) and so I’m going to try and start with some more mundane posts. So here it goes…


Some people really like music. They talk about it and go see live concerts and all that jazz. It is very important to them.

“They are fine with just listening to music as an activity.”

Chemistry, Weike Wang*

I am not one of those people. I mean, I don’t dislike music but I’m pretty neutral to it, especially just LISTENING. I don’t think listening to music is an activity (that I would enjoy). I enjoy singing it or playing instruments because that seems like an activity. I don’t really get the appeal of live music. I actually usually actively dislike it (it’s usually so loud) unless it’s a nice classical concert in a park or something casual like that. On the other hand, this makes me pretty easy company for someone who is really picky about music choice, because I am up for almost anything on a roadtrip.

Except for musicals, because those have STORIES and are easier to sing along to, and I am just generally a musical fan. So when I need to listen to music (to hide the sounds of the neighbor’s upstairs activities or to muffle the sounds of fireworks on the 4th of July), I listen to musicals. Currently (as in the past 2 years), it’s almost exclusively Lin-Manuel Miranda musicals. Luckily for my husband, he also is a big Hamilton fan (although I don’t think he is as big of a fan of In the Heights).

This is legitimately the only reason I have a Spotify account. I got it to listen to Hamilton. I have expanded it to now listen to In the Heights and occasionally Next to Normal and test out the soundtracks for other musicals. Sometimes, but rarely, I will use it to play the Lord of the Rings soundtrack if I have to work on things in lab.


* Grad students (and former grad students)! Read this book. I mean, maybe not if you are struggling with grad school and want to not struggle, but then again, maybe because sometimes it is nice to see your struggles in fiction. But this book is hilarious and also does an excellent job of capturing grad school and the sometimes soul-crushingness of it. It’s one of the more accurate portrayals of late grad school that I’ve seen. Also, then come back and talk to me about it because no one I know has read this book.

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Love of Commitment

I’m going through and rescuing some old drafts that got lost in the draft box, so hopefully for the next couple weeks I’ll be posting more frequently. Some of the details might be a bit out of date and some of the writing is not the best, though, although sometimes I will try and update the post.


If there is one thing I love, it is commitment.

I love never-changing constancy, partially because I hate change.

If you look at the schools I have chosen to go to, both times it was the first school to let me in. (There’s only two in there, so it’s not really enough to make a trend, but it’s consistent with a pattern in my life.)

 

I worried about my love of commitment a bit, since I am engaged to the first person I have ever dated. (Although after learned what actually constitutes a date, I think I may have gone on a date with someone else freshmen year of college, but it clearly wasn’t a very good one if I can’t decide.) I had to go through all the yes and no reasons related to it, to make sure it was actually because of him specifically, and not just because I love commitment.


Well, I’ve been married for over 2 years now and I still love commitment. 

Coordination is a thing?

I’m going through and rescuing some old drafts that got lost in the draft box, so hopefully for the next couple weeks I’ll be posting more frequently. Some of the details might be a bit out of date, though. Also, some of these posts might be a little bit silly and maybe not my best writing.

 

I have horrible proprioception. I used to think it was depth perception, but maybe it is actually proprioception. But I have always been excellent at climbing things. I scared all the other moms when I would climb to the top of everything in Mommy&Me classes and just lie on the poles. I’ve always climbed trees (except now… it is a lot harder to find trees to climb in a city because mostly they are other people’s trees and you are supposed to ask for permission before climbing other people’s trees.). Of course, I didn’t run until after my younger sister learned how to run.

I have excellent fine motor skills. I can inject DNA into a single-celled embryo and dissect very tiny glands from larvae. This requires really intense hand-eye coordination because the forces and tissues are so small and delicate, you don’t get any sensory feedback so you have to learn to judge your movements by the microscope and without any touch response. When I rotated in a neuro lab, the first chick brain I dissected was perfectly dissected (even though they had set aside many brains for me to learn how to mangle the first few). I also do some other very complicated and rare embryo manipulations that would definitely be identifying because VERY FEW labs do it and I am pretty darn good at it, and I picked it up super quickly.

But I also fell down the stairs daily at high school, walked into the counter daily at home, walked into walls regularly. But maybe that was because I insisted on wearing shows two sizes too large in high school because I hated shoes that touched my toes. I haven’t fallen down stairs in years. I also tend to struggle A LOT with doors, specifically with opening them but also with walking through them instead of into them.

river in iceland with a bridge over it and snow on the ground

Lying on the cold hard ground

I’m going through and rescuing some old drafts that got lost in the draft box, so hopefully for the next couple weeks I’ll be posting more frequently. Some of the details might be a bit out of date, though. Also, some of these posts might be a little bit silly and maybe not my best writing.

I like to lie on the ground. Almost all of the day almost all of my life, I would just rather be curled up in a ball. And I mean this in a positive way–I just really love lying down. I’m enjoying myself a lot when I am lying on the ground. Also, I really hate standing around (often talking) when you could be sitting–or even better just lying on the ground. I know eye contact is more important to a lot of people, so I guess that isn’t why people don’t have conversations lying on the ground all the time.

Maybe not everywhere I am, but a lot of places. Even if it is somewhere I am enjoying myself, I know that it would be more enjoyable if I could be lying on the ground. Except, there are reasons not to lie on the ground:

  1. A lot of time the ground is dirty or unsafe. Such as crossing the street.
  2. Sometimes I would get in the way of people
  3. It is not something you are supposed to do. For some reason, even sitting on the ground seems weird to some people.

So, I generally know I am not supposed to lie on the ground.

But when I get drunk, I care a lot less about this so I lie on the ground a lot.

And that is actually how I realized I always want to lie on the ground.

 

Criss-Cross Applesauce

I’m going through and rescuing some old drafts that got lost in the draft box, so hopefully for the next couple weeks I’ll be posting more frequently. Some of the details might be a bit out of date, though.

I don’t sit still.


At least not as a general rule.

As a general rule, when I sit in chairs, I swing my feet. I kick things
(accidentally) and make unfortunately loud noises in class. Sitting
formally in a quiet room is a struggle, because if I am sitting properly,
feet on the ground, maybe ankles crossed, I have to spend so much focus on
being quiet and not distracting.

Which I don’t mind, really, because the tapping of feet and the clanging of
hitting chairs and the resulting table bouncing is an awful thing. I hate
when other people do it. It is distracting. It is painful. I understand
that there are situations I need to sit quietly.

But if I can sit on my feet, or criss-cross, with legs folded and wedged
into place, then I can sit quietly for hours (assuming I am also doing
something else, like typing or listening or reading or learning). Because
then my legs are comfortably wedged into place. I don’t have to worry about
forgetting that they are there, because they can’t go anywhere. It
generally requires conscious effort for me to take my feet out of
criss-cross. It is something I seldom do while I am paying attention to
something else.

But of course, not everywhere you can sit like this. Most of my clothes are
criss-cross appropriate… it is something I try to keep in mind when I buy
skirts and dresses (I’ve never really seen a pair of pants or shorts that
threaten flashing by sitting criss-cross, or at least not anything that
would fit my other clothes requirements.) Sure, I definitely have a few
skirts and dresses where I have to sit on top of my feet instead of
criss-cross, but I also usually wear shorts under those, so as long as it
isn’t too formal, I can usually get away with sitting criss cross.

The thing that is the real problem, though is desks. Those desks where the
desk and the chair are attached. Those can be difficult to sit criss cross
in. Those I generally have to settle for just sitting on one leg.

The other problem of course, is that sitting criss cross isn’t the formal
and appropriate way to sit at nice events. That isn’t how to sit at formal
dinners or at interviews.

And I have manners very thoroughly well ingrained, with the rules at least.

(I think my mom taught us something along the lines of “I know it is less
comfortable to sit with your feet down but manners don’t make sense they
are just a thing that everyone sticks to and then the other person knows
you are putting in extra effort because you respect them instead of just
being extra comfortable and easy).

P.S. I should write about manners and social expectations sometime.

P.P.S. I’m writing this while sitting very successfully quiet in a library
box working on prelim stuff. I am not the annoying library person. Well—I
am typing furiously, which I actually do get annoyed by other people doing
but that is a relatively quiet thing which I probably just need to get some
headphones to avoid.


For instance, from this P.P.S. I can tell that I wrote this over 4 years ago, since I took my prelims near the beginning of grad school.

Take a deep breath

I remember when I really learned how to handle my emotions. As in, the point when I was able to figure out how not to burst into tears over a stubbed toe. Before, I was prone to bursting into tears at these (relatively) small things.While I would burst into tears at minor injuries, I knew that I shouldn’t be upset. I knew it was a small injury and not a big thing. I knew that it would stop hurting soon. I just couldn’t stop myself from crumpling and crying. But then at some point, it just clicked. I was able to take a deep breath and walk it off. And after a few seconds, the stubbed toe or the skinned knee didn’t hurt any more and I was fine.

Part of the reason I remember this so well is because it definitely didn’t really develop until I was in college.

I still don’t really know why or how this change happened. I just know that all of a sudden, I was able to take that deep breath and pause for a second with a stubbed toe. And really, once you can do that, it makes it hurt so much less.

But before that, every time that someone told me to calm down, it didn’t work. When people told me to take a deep breath, to walk things off, it did not make any sense. I literally could not comprehend what people were saying or how it made any sense. I just didn’t have the tools in my brain to take a breath and make things stop hurting.

Some things just take time. Some things just happen late. Some things will probably never happen.

Shampoo Thief

Here follows an example of my problem solving abilities:

Freshman year of college, my mom and I flew out to my new school and supplied me with all the various things one needs when living in a dorm. I was all set-up and prepared with multiple toothbrushes in case I dropped one and soft blankets because those are the best and notebooks for everything and lots of snacks. However, at some point in the semester, I ran out of shampoo and conditioner, as someone with relatively long and thick hair tends to do on a somewhat frequent basis.

The previous way in my life that this issue was dealt with was going into my parents’ bathroom and getting a new bottle from under the sink. Of course, this was not an option 2,000 miles away. I knew that theoretically people got shampoo by going to the store (although I was not super clear on what type of store sold shampoo besides Costco). But it was a Midwest winter and I was from Southern California. Also, I didn’t know how to get there and the only transportation I would have had was my feet.

So, the only logical answer was to become a shampoo thief until Christmas break, when I could resupply myself with shampoo.

Luckily, in our dorm, people kept their shower things in shower caddies on shelves right outside the shower. I was not brazen enough to grab an entire shower caddy and take it in the shower with me. Someone may have noticed that if I accidentally grabbed theirs. Nothing was labelled (and I didn’t know most of the people on my floor anyway, because faces). I did not have a plan for being confronted with stealing someone’s shampoo or any idea of what would happen if someone (accurately) accused me of that, especially since they would most likely catch me when I was clothed in only a towel, as I usually was immediately prior to showering.

The plan I came up with was much more complicated. I would only shower in the dead of night, when most other people are asleep. Since I lived in a dorm with a lot of other college students who also stayed up late, the dead of night meant at least 3 am. Then, mid-shower, I would sneak out to the shower caddies and grab a handful of shampoo and then dart back into the shower. (Later, I would repeat with conditioner). I would spread out my borrowing, so I wasn’t stealing only one person’s shampoo. I wouldn’t take anything from an almost-empty bottle (or anything that looked overly expensive). Since there is a lot of options of shampoo in the floor of an all-girls dorm, I never really used more than one or two showers worth of shampoo from anyone in the whole semester.

This was not the most comfortable way to shower, running in and out in the cold, in the middle of the night, but it was the only solution I could come up with. It also had the result of making me feel incredibly guilty every time I showered. It also made me rather tired, from staying up late a few nights a week in order to wash my hair.

Asking someone for help or advice literally never occurred to me. I could have asked boyfriend or other friends or my RA, who probably could have also figured out a solution or told me that I could buy shampoo with fake money at the store on campus that was literally visible from my dorm-room window. My mom literally asked me if I was washing my hair every time she called me and who I always answered yes and told the most recent time I had washed my hair (hiding the guilt of my stolen shampoo). If I told her I was running low on shampoo or had run out, I would have gotten more somehow, or at least directions on how to solve the problem.

Instead, you got my deepest darkest secret of freshmen year (I was not full of deep, dark secrets yet at that time in my life): the months I was a thief every time I showered. (Also, now that I’ve actually thought about this story, I find it amusing although I’d likely be just as impractical today).