American Craft Museum

There are so many museums in NYC that it’s hard to know about all of them, or even many of them.  I’ve been living here for over 5 years now, and I still learn of new ones I hadn’t heard of.  Today, I was browsing different sites with quilting ideas (I’ve been LOVING my sewing machine) and one of the pages mentioned the American Craft Museum.  It sounds really neat – apparently there are quilts on display, and I’m sure other crafts that I’d enjoy.  I must go!

Upon further inspection, it appears that the American Craft Museum is now a part of the Museum of Art & Design, which I have heard of.  Still, there are so many unique museums here, it’s really neat!  I’ll have to go to this one on a Thursday evening, which is their “pay what you want”  night.

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It’s been a long day…

And I’m very tired.  I spent a good part of the day at my university’s registrar and financial services office, trying to figure out A)when I’m going to get my stipend, B)Why my student account statement says I’m part-time, and C)When I can register for a class at another NYC university through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.  Turns out, not until after my MS is conferred, which doesn’t occur until mid Feb.  That’s when I’m allowed to register for a residence unit and a class at another college – because you need to be a PhD student to do those things (not M.S./PhD track).  Good how that goes through in mid-Feb but registration ends this week, isn’t it?  As it turns out, this doesn’t mean that I can’t register, but merely that it may be a little more paperwork and I have to wait a month after classes have begun.

Well, I could write more – there are lots of things to talk about.  I’m excited my advisor got a grant funded, and we finally get to move into our newly renovated lab space!  But I’m exhausted, and I have to be up early tomorrow to babysit before going to a seminar on a different campus before going to campus to spend some time working on research, all the while not having any money for food or drink nor any normal materials for packing a lunch.  Me?  I’ll be eating pasta out of a plastic bag.  Much better than today, when all I ate from noon to 8 pm was cheerios.

Soooo tired.  Time for early bed, I think.  Goodnight!

Happy about Obama’s SC win

I don’t tend to blog about politics nearly as much as I follow it, but I decided this was worth at least mentioning – I’m really really happy about Obama’s SC win!  Early exit polls suggest he secured an overwhelming victory in SC, which is wonderful.  I am quite solidly in his camp – I would love to see a woman president as well and Hillary doesn’t rub me the wrong way as she does some, but I think the Clintons have been playing very dirty, and I have a lot more confidence and hope in Barack Obama to bring the change we need.

Obama Is Seen as Winner in South Carolina – New York Times

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Time management skills

Lately, I have some really crappy ones.  At least I’ve managed to be on time to babysitting every morning, but aside from that, I stink.  I’ve been having a really hard time managing my work time and getting some stuff done for research and schooling.  I’ve also not been paying as much attention to our financial management as I should…meh.  So many things to do!  So in an effort to get things together, I bought myself 2008 calendars (wall and weekly), updated my google calendar with my schedule for the semester, and signed up for vitalist.com to use to keep track of to-do actions.  So we’ll see how that goes – hope it helps!

Privilege Meme

Watershed posted this on her blog recently, and I thought it sounded neat, so I’m going to do it too. I think I’ll get a pretty high score, because I was raised in a solid middle class home, and I’ve only gone down in class since leaving my parent’s home.  I thoroughly expect to go back up after I finish my schooling and Husband’s business plays itself out.
Watershed asked for credit to be given to the authors of the exercise:

This is based on “From What Privileges Do You Have?,” an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University.

Like watershed, I have made bold and green for those which I answer yes.

1. Father went to college And he was at Duke, so check plus here.

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor. Yes, but not one I’ve ever met. Only a slightly more distant relative that I’ve heard of, because he won a Nobel Prize.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home. I don’t think so, but it may well have been over 300, so I could be wrong.

9. Were read children’s books by a parent I only remember mom ever doing it, though.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 Oh yes. 3 hours a week in private figure skating lessons. Another hour of private choreography lessons to go with that. And 3 or 4 more hours of group classes, both on-ice (power skating or edges) and off-ice (ballet, jumps, calisthenics, cardio exercise).

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18. If you count other group lessons and extracurricular activities from my younger years, before skating was my one and only, there was also soccer, tap dance, gymnastics. And the girl scouts.

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively. They are, however, nearly always much thinner.

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18. Got my first credit card at 18, I think. But it might have been late part of being 17.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs. But there were many things that all of my ivy-league peers’ parents paid for that my parents did not. They stopped buying me clothes except as presents, they didn’t pay for most of my food after Freshman year, and senior year I had to take out a non-federally subsidized 20k college loan. I also had the max in federally subsidized aid every year. Overall if you add it all up I’d say they paid for the majority, but it might only be the plurality if you include grant money from the school that paid for parts of my tuition.

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.

16. Went to a private high school. Nope. And I hope to send my kids to public school. If we’re still in NYC, that may not work for grade school, but I will want them in a public magnet high school before I’d want them in private high school.

17. Went to summer camp. Not usually things that were called “summer camp” or that involved sleeping away from home, but my intense summer skating training program was essentially a training camp.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18. Never needed one.

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. Occasionally, for Disney land or greater family events. Our yearly vacation was at a time-share that we owned. I imagine that counts as yes.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18. We didn’t have close family friends or relatives who had a girl within more than 5 years of my age, so it wouldn’t have been an easy option, but my mom loved to shop so I had a lot of clothes growing up. I have much, much less now. Especially jeans. I tend to have 2-3 pairs of pants at a time nowadays, and usually at least one of them will need some sort of mending. I really could afford to have more pants, but it’s not a priority I suppose – I’d rather buy electronics than clothes.

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them. For the first year after I got my license I shared with my mom the Ford station wagon. Then my parents bought me a used Toyota Corolla, and I began driving myself to all my skating. My mom was then able to take on a better paying job because she didn’t need to be constrained by my chauffeuring needs. They didn’t buy my brother a car that wasn’t a hand-me-down until he was going to college.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child. Nothing famous, but we had some paintings that I remember touching the texture of the oil brush-strokes. Just two, one in the master bedroom and one in the den.

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home. But we did move to a smaller house before I left home.

25. You had your own room as a child. Not always though. My brother and I shared a room until he was 10 and I was 8.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18. I never had a house line in my room, but I got a cell phone at 16 when I started driving myself sometimes.

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course. Didn’t need one.

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school. But we had two family shared tv’s, one of which was in the playroom. So we weren’t all fighting over one tv, either.

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college. My parents were always very financially responsible with whatever their income level was, and some of this was instilled in my brother and me. My brother opened an IRA before he even got to college! Despite the fact that Husband and I have a hard time managing our spending impulses but a low drive for the high-paying jobs that we could both attain if we wanted to, one thing we did right is that I began putting some of Husband’s and my money into a mutual fund and some into a Roth IRA I think during my senior year of college.

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16. We did drive to our family vacation, but we took planes based on frequent flyer miles from our credit card spending (which my dad promptly paid off each month) for special things like family weddings or deaths. Once or twice we flew to FL to go to Disney.

31. Went on a cruise with your family. And no international trips either. I never left the US until I did so on my own.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. We had a family membership to the Boston Museum of Science. I loved it, and my brother did too. Every July 4th we’d go into Boston and spend the day at the museum, go to a show in their OMNI imax theater, and then spend the evening on the roof we’re we’d watch the fireworks while they played the Boston Pops. Now that I think about it, it was one of my favorite family traditions.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. My dad would turn the heat down a lot to save money, but my mom always turned it back up and I got the impression he was just being stingy.

Ok, so I got a 25.

Splitting up home chores

A friend of mine was recently talking about how she splits up various household chores with her husband, and so I’ve been thinking about it myself. I thought I’d share it here because it’s interesting to me how different things work for different people. To give you an idea of how long we’ve been working on our own balance of chores: Husband and I have been living together for 3.5 years but have only had our own apartment and the chores that go with that for 2 and a half years. And we’ve been married for a year and change :-D.

For Husband and I, it’s always a bit hard to tell if we’re splitting work equally, because we both tend to consider not only effort but pleasure or nuisance level as well, and our individual perceptions of that are not straightforward. So instead of just saying “You spend x hours and I spend y hours and they’re even (or not)” we look at how much we like or dislike those hours.

With cleaning, this has led to an imbalance in hours spent because Husband has a much lower cleanliness threshold than I do. It’s hard to make him clean a room constantly and in a timely manner when I can tell the disorderliness doesn’t disturb him at all. So I settle for asking him to help clean up sometimes, when it reaches a level that I dislike, and he doesn’t mind, although sometimes he’ll ask to do it later in the day. It’s like that for lots of chores – I can get him to split cleaning the dishes (no dishwasher) with me, but it requires that I not mind them sitting there for up to a day. Sometimes, I just feel like I don’t mind it as much – I don’t always see it as a nuisance (sometimes I even find it a bit relaxing), so why should I make him do it when it’s clear he really dislikes it? So I guess we maybe split the dishes like 10% him 90% me in the long run, unless I’m going through a stressful time and ask him to help with it more.

However, he does help out with things that he doesn’t enjoy doing. We don’t have laundry in our building so we drop it off a few blocks away and pick it up the next day or two. We agree for him to do it because neither of us likes it but it requires lugging a heavy cart up two flights of stairs on the way back.  He always makes the phone calls (deliveries, bill pay issues, troubleshooting, etc) and takes the trash out (down the stairs and around the building into the alley…fun).

He never cooks dinner for us both (maybe once a year he’ll make a tortilla pizza that he gets into), but I don’t cook when I don’t want to. He either makes himself something simple (his menu options are usually: ravioli; beans, cheese, tortillas; cereal and milk) or orders food. He’s a creature of habit so this is good enough for him. He never asks me what’s for dinner, and genuinely treats it as a special thing when I do make dinner, even when I do it as often as 2 or 3 times a week. But the rest of the time we just take care of ourselves for food. Sometimes if he wants something and I only sort of want it, I’ll agree to make it if he keeps me company in the kitchen, but he doesn’t help cook. We just talk while I do the work.

So our cake-cutting algorithm has led us to this, for most household chores: It likely won’t get done if I don’t ask for it to be done. Sometimes it’s done better and faster if I do it myself (cleaning bathroom, floors, dishes; cooking). But, he always acknowledges the work that I do, and would never, ever ask me to do any of it because he wanted it done. He says thanks when I do different things around the house, and I make sure to do the same for him, even when they’re small things. (i.e. Thanks sweetie for remembering to refill the ice cube trays!) This definitely helps us to avoid feeling unappreciated.

My point is, if you just look at what he does and what I do with regards to cooking and cleaning, it would seem uneven. But, we talk about it often enough, and he takes on some chores I don’t enjoy and runs various errands for us both. We’ve tried out arrangements where he did higher amounts of housework, but I was constantly being the household manager and it just didn’t feel right to me because it was adding stress. He always appreciates when I do do things and never minds or asks about them when I don’t do them, so up to now, this has worked for me.

A big thing is we don’t have kids yet, so who knows what will happen then?!

What is your household chore split up like, or if you live alone, what would you think is acceptable?