I think I’m in love
No, I’m not talking about that wonderful Eddie Money song (though it most certainly is playing my head right now). I’m talking about Crumbl Cookies! If you don’t know Crumbl Cookies, then you should really check them out. My sister, who I still contend makes the best cookies on the planet, introduced me to this very close runner-up in the cookie making world. I thought she was talking about a local place, meaning something local to her. But when I checked out their website, I saw that they are in almost every state across the country, including my own!
Each store offers chocolate chip cookies plus a rotation of other flavors that change with each week. All the store have the same offering each week, which is great for me to compare notes with my sister. And these are BIG cookies, about 4" or so in diameter. And they’re so good, which is why I feel fortunate NOT to live close to one. My first visit was a few months ago, and then a couple of days ago I made my second visit. All I can say is WOW. Actually, I have few more words than that.
Lemon Poppy Seed
I’m not one for lemon cookies, unless they come from Crumbl! Of course, their website (first picture) makes it look better than what it actually is. I didn’t see much of that lemon creme center in my cookie, but it still tasted outstanding!
This one was just heavenly, although there didn’t seem to be much frosting on top of the graham cracker cookie I got. The raspberry puree also slide off the cookie during the drive home. That’s a not a huge deal, but I have made a note for the future.
French Silk Pie
This cookie is aptly named. It truly is like eating a miniature French Silk pie. Of the three cookies I purchased, this one most closely matched what the website showed.
Now, let’s have one item clearly understood. I never eat an entire cookie all in one setting. They’re totally that good, but I don’t need all those extra calories, especially when they’re from sugar. So I usually cut off a quarter or sometimes less — just enough to give me a little taste of sweet goodness. Plus it makes the cookie last longer.
That said, I noticed something on the website that made me do a double take. The Lemon Poppy Seed cookie has only 120 cal? Raspberry Cheesecake 170 cal? French Silk Pie 150 cal? There’s no way! Looking further on the site I found this quote: “Calorie counts are per serving. Serving size varies based on product.” Hmmm . . . what might that mean?
I little more digging, and it all made sense. One serving is 1/4 cookie, at least for the three that I bought. That makes a lot more sense, and it redoubles my dedication to eat only a quarter of a cookie at a time. It’ll be some time before I go back, how much I couldn’t say. I’ll be checking out their website every week to get keyed on the new rotation for the week. Barring the appearance of something that looks so good I just have to get it, it’ll probably be towards the end of the year when I go back. Talk about de-railing a diet! As I said, I’m glad I don’t live close to Crumbl. But when I go, there’s no way I’m getting just one cookie. They’re just too good!
A major milestone on the road
If you’ve been keeping track wit my posts, you might think I’m ready to report I have found a new advisor. Yeah, I wish! But what I have to share is for me still a major accomplishment.
Like many people, I’ve been struggling with weight loss. I spend way too much time sitting in front of screens. In an effort to move more and contribute to my weight loss efforts, I’ve been establishing the habit of walking in the morning before breakfast. I started with 10 minutes. Then when that became easy, I added an extra 30 seconds. When that became easy, I went to 11 minutes. And thus I went. I haven’t walked every day, though that was my intention. But after missing a day (or two or three) I always came back around and picked up where I left off.
Well, today I walked for a full 30 minutes. This is a major milestone for me, because the next step is not walking for 30 minutes and 30 seconds. The next step is replacing 30 seconds of the walking with running. The step after that is replacing another 30 seconds of walking with running. And thus is goes until I am running for the full 30 minutes. What I did this morning is reach the transition point between walking and running.
I’m not sure when the running will start. My body was aching as I reached that half hour mark, and I’m not certain how long I’ll need to work through it. I’m debating introducing a longer rest period between walks so that my body can recover better, because trying to exercise when you haven’t completely recovered is just not smart. You’re wearing your body down while it’s still partially worn down. Then again, I’m not trying to build muscle with my walking. I’m trying to improve circulation as well as secure the other benefits of cardio exercise.
Plus I remember when I used to run and how much I loved it. I want to get back to that, and I want to do more than I ever thought I could do before. My walking is a transition from where I am to where I want to be. Doing just a little more each time and picking myself back up every time I fell down has brought me to this milestone, and I’m confident that doing just a little bit more in each of the days ahead will bring me to even more milestones ahead!
Follow-up with Dr. C
I wasn’t exactly expecting this, but in thinking about my previous conversation with Dr. C, I’m impressed with the conversation that we had. I’m also looking at my track record at finding a new advisor and finding it difficult to conclude I’m doing it right. Perhaps I wrongly assume that it shouldn’t be this hard, but that is just how it seems to me. Then again, I’ve long recognized that frustration is a sign you’re going about something the wrong way, so perhaps I do some faulty assumptions behind my thinking. But how can I know?
That’s when I got the idea to go back and pick Dr. C’s brain. If I could learn more about the perspective that professors typically have on their job and their involvement with grad students, I could improve my approach to finding a new advisor and meet with more success. So I reached back out to Dr. C and pitched the idea to him. And he accepted.
We met earlier today over Zoom, and this time I took notes. After explaining my objective for the meeting, Dr. C began a philosophical waxing on the idea that what motivates professors to do what they do is what motivates most people to do what they do, namely the natural tendencies. So we’re talking about money and laziness and fame and recognition and all that lot. But in that monologue I was able to discern a very important word: productive. Professors are expected to be productive at producing results, and the most valued results are research publications that add some valuable knowledge (there’s fame and recognition) and research grants (there’s money). From this I gained the idea that my search for an advisor could draw to a close if I offer that professor evidence that reasonably suggests said professor can get publications to his or her name and grant money.
Dr. C talked about the grad student journey, saying that the best grad students don’t need much instruction or guidance. They simply take the ball and run it into the in-zone. The advisor is simply there to guide the self-motivated student. The worst grad students are the ones who need to be told what to do, who don’t take any initiative, who essentially need to be baby-sat. The PhD journey is essentially an apprenticeship experience. The student does what the professor does (so what counts as productivity for the student is the same as what counts as productivity for the professor) all the while leveraging a connection with the professor to get what the student could not get on his or her own, principally the grant money.
I could see that is true, because I watched opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to secure funding pass me by because I didn’t have an advisor. When grant proposals are evaluated, the sponsor will examine the track record of the applicants. I have no track record because I am a student just starting out in this. But if I get with a professor who has a track record of securing funding for a research area that interests me, that can help me get the funding I need to do my research. Then as I develop a track record for myself, I can submit funding proposals on my own.
Suddenly it was all making sense to me. I felt such a huge mix of emotion. On the one hand, I felt elated that I was understanding the structure of the PhD journey and how the pieces fit together. On the other hand, I felt completely cheated. I was starting to understand the progress I should have been making but wasn’t simply because I didn’t know about the structure and I naively thought that my advisor would help me get on track if I went to oo far afield. The reality turned out be my advisor cut the string and let the wind blow me away because the system in which he works burdens him with so much other work that he didn’t want to make the effort to work with me in creating an alternative plan. He’s got only one way to do it, and if you can’t stay on that track, he’s not riding your train.
I know I’ve expressed this before, but I really do wish that someone would have communicated to me that structure my first semester here instead of me learning about it the summer before my fourth year. This is where the pandemic really bit me, because this sort of information is normally communicated to grad students by peers. I should have learned about thsi structure from my peers, and I would have it weren’t for the pandemic. The combination of masking requirements and my asthmatic condition didn’t play very well, and so to help me, my advisor gave me a desk in the lab where there was only one desk. Because I sat in that room alone, I could work without the mask (unless of course someone else came in, but that almost never happened). Because of that isolation, I never got the peer instruction I would otherwise have received.
Dr. C said one final thing to me that got me thinking. He said that in his experience older students appreciate knowing the journey up front (and my diatribe here about the structure of the program clearly puts me in that camp). But then he advised me to let go of having to know all the steps, just do the work, and trust the process.
That got me thinking. All this time I’ve been waiting on an advisor before I begin. But that is the essence of what Dr. C describes as the worst grad student. The best pick it up and take it home. That’s what I need to do. I need to determine my own direction and then find an advisor whose interests align with that direction. Eventually I won’t be able to go any further without an advisor, because the advisor is the chair of the dissertation committee that hears and approves my proposal. But I don’t need the advisor for much of the work before that point, especially at the beginning. So I need to put my rear in gear and start with assembling a lit review.
I’m thankful to have learned what I have learned. I just wish that my advisor would have sat me down when we first got together and spent 30 minutes explaining all of this to me. Everything would likely be radically different for me right now. That said, the successful deal with the world as it is, not as they wish it would be. So now it’s grinding time. Let’s work!
Here you can find news and announcements I want to share. In between I'll include reviews of the books I read. Find me on Goodreads.com for more book reviews.