P in the News.

August 19th, 2009


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Waste Lot, Want Lot.

August 6th, 2009

My reverse culture shock began on the flight home from China.  At what our bodies believed was 4:00 in the morning, the flight attendants came around and plopped enormous styrofoam cups of ramen noodles on each passenger’s tray.  Chris and I were disgusted by the idea of eating shrimp-flavored noodles in the middle of the night so we politely refused our attendant’s offer to fill our cups with boiling water.  As far as I could see, all the passengers around us did the same.  It’s possible that a few of the plane’s biggest gavones actually gobbled the stuff down, but I imagine there were roughly 250 unopened cups of noodles hanging around on our fellow passengers’ trays when the attendants came back around to clean up.

After having spent several months in a country where very little is wasted, I had assumed our unopened cups would be redisseminated for passengers on the next flight.  I was therefore shocked and fairly disturbed when I realized that perfectly good food was being tossed in the trash.  All I could think was, “These noodles could feed Ayi and her family for a year!”

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New Party Trick.

August 3rd, 2009

“Pulsating Abdominal Mass.”  I realized as I was writing those words in the “reason for visit” field on my pre-appointment paperwork how ridiculously dramatic they sounded.  However,  the other options I considered (e.g., Throbbing Knot in Belly, Suspected Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Possible Alien Fetus) seemed no better.

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Public Service Announcement.

July 23rd, 2009

People, back up your computers.  Right now.  Do it!  But don’t then hide your backup and forget where you put it, because that wouldn’t be a very smart thing to do.  Would it?

Chris’ desktop (the one with thousands of pictures and videos from P’s first three years) was sluggish last winter, so he bought an external hard drive and dumped all our photos and videos on it in order to free up space on the desktop.  Before we left for China, I had the bright idea of hiding that external hard drive, you know, in case a bunch of thieving geeks broke in.  In typical me style, I hid the thing too well and have been frantically tearing apart every inch of every closet, drawer, and cabinet in this house for the past three weeks in an effort to find it.  After a crazed hour or so of searching one night last week, I flipped out, went into a state of embarrassingly high melodrama, and found myself sobbing to P, “Oh, P, you were such a cute, sweet baby, and now all the evidence of that is gone.  What are we going to do?”  P looked at me, rolled her eyes, and went back to her Wiggles viewing.

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July 19, 1958.

July 19th, 2009

Fifty-one years ago, as Katherine Jackson was waddling around Gary, Indiana, heavy with the Wee K of P*, my parents were doing this.

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Significantly Insignificant.

July 17th, 2009

I’ve spent the last two days analyzing data from one of the experiments I conducted in China, only to discover that my results showed effects that were exactly opposite of those I predicted.  When I’m wrong, I’m really wrong, huh?  Even though my experiment was a bust (statistically speaking), it wasn’t completely without significance.

In order to use human subjects in their research, experimenters must convince an institutional review board (IRB) that their experimental methods comply with an established set of ethical guidelines.  As I prepared to run my experiment at Tsinghua, I submitted my application for IRB approval and received this a few days later.  (Don’t feel compelled to read it.  Just take a glance.)

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Roofs and Solitude are Overrated.

July 14th, 2009

We’ve been home two weeks, and I’ve yet to get P to admit to missing anything about China.  I asked her the other day if she preferred riding to school in the car or on the back of a bike.  To my surprise, she said she preferred the car.  When I asked her why, she said, “Because cars have roofs, and roofs keep me warm and dry.”

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Seven Years Under the Belt, Seven Notches Off.

July 12th, 2009

Here’s what Chris and I were doing seven years ago today.

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Make a Left at the Roadkill.

July 8th, 2009

When we arrived at the airport last week, we discovered that two of our bags hadn’t made it on the flight.  Luckily, the very next day, a woman called saying that our luggage had been located and would be delivered that afternoon.  As I gave the woman directions to our house, it occurred to me that just 48 hours earlier, my answer to the question, “How do I get to get to your place?” would have been very different.  Here’s what I would have said:

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Home Again, Skip to My Lou.

July 4th, 2009

We’re home.  The flight easy and amazingly uneventful.

For those of you concerned about Chris’ China-induced weight loss…

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