a string to connect pieces of my life

Friday, August 31, 2007

just lovely!

Yesterday I finally got one of my dreams fulfilled. That is, shopping at Chicaga Outlet Mall. It was great. I found lots of cheap stuff, including the Kenneth Cole shoes I am wearing right now. They are less than $7!

After 4 hours' shopping, I was totally exhausted. So I quitted it and drove to Oak Brook (Chicago suburb) to meet my dates Trudi and Renee. We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory there. The food and drinks were great. The weather was perfect. We sat outside, eating, chatting and laughing, like old friends, which is quite amazing because it was only the second time I saw them. Girls, I am really happy that you squeezed time out of your busy schedule to hang out with me!

Today I have decided to give myself some rest (I mean, physically). Watch some TV and do a little bit reading.

All in all, this week in Chicago has been absolutely awesome. I even had a chance to watch some firework at Navy Pier this Wednesday night. What more can I ask for?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

another day in Chicago

Today's plan is to relax, relax and relax. Even shopping seems so tiring to me. I am gonna walk around the closest blocks for a bit and that's it.

It was nice at Navy Pier yesterday. Cloudy sky, moderate temperature. I walked to the very end, bought a beer and some fries, sat under the tree and read a few pages. Maybe I will do it again tomorrow or on Friday.

I thought I was going to meet Trudi and Renee tonight, so I sent them an email and successfuly confused both of them. Boo my memory! It is so lazy now that I couldn't remember what I was watching on TV one minute after the show was over.

Well, I hope y'all have a great day!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

a pig's life

These two days has been a food fest for me. Oh man, I don't know how to describe it. I wish you could feel the joy I felt when I was seeing, smelling and eating all kinds of delicious food. And I am happy that I have got my appetite back after my defense so that I can fully appreciate my visit to Chicago.

Here is a short list of what I have had:
Saturday lunch: dim sum in Chicago chinatown
Saturday dinner: Korean BBQ buffet in Chicago koreantown
Sunday lunch: Japanese buffet in Shawmberg (Chicago suburb)
Sunday dinner: some ordinary Chinese dishes (which would be extraordinary in Ann Arbor) in chinatown

In addition, I had various snacks and bubble tea. Also, the hotel I am staying in is within walking distance to Navy Pier. So my plan for tomorrow is to get up when I feel like to, have some breakfast or lunch, get a cup of coffee, sit by the lake and read "the gift of pain".

Friday, August 24, 2007

stranger in the city

I have driven along the same streets twice. And I am about to take another round. It is so hard to find something in a new city. All I want is a cooler that can bring lots of food back from Chicago.

Well, wish me good luck this time. At least I know where to find it now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I have time, but...

I don't want to write anything any more. It's understandable, right? After all, I just finished that freaking dissertation.

I need to correct myself. I want to write, but my words are dry. Again, side effect of thesis writing. To compensate, I decide to take more photos during my vacation. So be patient and

the sky above I-80 (I liked how the clouds blended)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I will drive to Iowa tomorrow and then my husband and I will go to Chicago for a seminar in his field (whatever that is).

This trip will take my mind off what I have been doing. And I will get to hang out with some friends, enjoy good food and do some crazy shopping!

Monday, August 20, 2007

a good weekend

After my defense on Friday afternoon, Brian, Natasha and I had dinner at Grizzly Peak. I liked the red beer they brewed there and got a little buzz. Later Simo and his girlfriend joined us. The girls from the beachhouse also stopped by to congradulate me on their way to Meredith's bachelorette party. Then Brian and I headed to Michigan Union and played some foosball for an hour or so (I need another separate blog just to talk about foosball).

Saturday afternoon was Karen and Mike's wedding shower. It was my first time to go to any type of shower excluding the ones I usually take at home. We played some games and I even won a prize! There were a lot of good laughs.

Later Jinli and I went to Costco. They happened to have fresh mussels. So we bought a bag (~5 lbs) and cooked at my apt. We also watched an old movie "bodyguard". I simply can't resist Kevin Costner playing the tough guy with a tender heart. His another movie "message in a bottle" is also one of my all-time favorites.

I went to the church on Sunday morning. It was raining. I hesitated but needed to fulfill some other promise I made to God long ago. The slice of life was given by a guy I know in community group. His mom died of a car accident not long ago. He shared with us his grief and his faith. It was powerful! I believe a lot of people shed their tears, including myself.

In the evening Brian and I went to the concert at DTE music theatre performed by Michael W. Smith and Third Day featuring Sanctus Real. Overall the music was a little bit too loud, but Third Day did a great job and that is all I care about. At first we were worried that we probably need to bring our own chairs and sit in the rain with an umbrella. It turned out that we had some sweet seats! Close to the center stage and under a roof!

It was a good joyful weekend, exactly what I needed.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I defended yesterday afternoon. Things went really well. At least the committee seemed pretty happy with my presentation. I am proud of myself. And thank you, Natasha and Brian! I know it wouldn't be half as good if it's not for you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

another wave of panic

I am so sleepy. I need to work on the revisions of my powerpoint. It is 60 pages now and it took me ~3 hours to talk about 51 pages. I need practice at least two more times, but I have so many things to do before I can get down to that.

Today one of my committee members successfully made me feel bad about my work. I know it will be ok eventually, but I hate how it feels now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bourne Ultimatum

I watched it last Friday with Jinli. The showroom we were in was not great. The frames were shaky, which made me so sick during the movie that I went to the bathroon and threw up. The reason might also be that I was really tired and had one slice of pizza for the whole day.

The movie itself was ok, I guess. Since I was feeling very uncomfortable, I didn't fully appreciate the movie. It didn't stand out of the trilogy, but it's still very entertaining.

Afterwards we went to the Middle Kingdom for dinner and had a drink at Coner O'Neil. I liked the vodka, so I bought a bottle at the grocery store on Saturday. Right now I have vodka, three kinds of beers, tequila, rum, southern comfort and wine in my frige. But, no, I am not an alcoholic.

so far so good

It has been a good day for me. Three of my committee members said that they liked my thesis. Brian and I whooped some people at the foostable.

All I need to do next is to focus on reading some literature and preparing a good presentation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

now I understand why they call it defense

After spending so many days and nights on my dissertation, it is like my child. This morning my advisor came in and talked to me for a short while. He wanted to change some structure in my dissertation, and then I got all defensive and convinced him that it is good as it is.

No matter how crappy it might be, it is mine.

conversation in my head

"hey, this is good stuff. well done."
"it's all crap"
"stop the negative thoughts. just finish it"
"why bother spend so much effort. no one would even read it"
"shut up and work"
"you shut up"

don't wanna go any further

It feels totally meaningless.

This best describes how my situation is:

It is so comforting to see that someone has been there and was able to finish:

Stupid transitional terms:
even if
as a result
in fact
in the same vein
even though
at any rate
for instance
for example
It is clear that. . .

Monday, August 06, 2007

she is so beautiful

Sunday, August 05, 2007

back to basic

I am writing my thesis at home. Most of the time I don't have internet access. When I take a break, all I can do is to play minesweeper. I haven't played this for years since web surfing has been my sole procrastination tool.

Anyway, now my best times are: 10s, 54s, 173s. How about yours?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

what was I thinking

I bought the wrong chip and the wrong dip at Busch's this evening. I wanted the unsalted chip and crab cheese dip, but I grabbed the salted chip and spinach dip.

I guess this is how my brain protests: if you don't let me sleep, I am not going to let you have the food you like. Yeah, my brain knows me the best.

Fine, I will give you 7+ hours tonight.