sally header2

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Where was I?

I am feeling particularly unfocused right now because I have a ton to do. I am running pilot studies on one experiment, setting up for another experiment, fine-tuning a molecular technique, and writing 2 papersthinking about writing 2 papers.
In case everything here just wasn't enough to make me insane, I fly out for a my bridal shower Thursday morning. AND since my flight is so early that I have to spend the night in a hotel tommorrow, I arranged a meeting with a big time professor there. Why did I think that was a good idea? Maybe I should, like, read over a couple of her papers or something.

Everything seems to be getting done but I am afraid I am going to overlook something major because of so many things going on. Like I forgot to work on the wedding invitations over the weekend. Whoopsiedaisie!

More to blog but I gotta go for a run (I NEED a run), get packed (I'm buying clothes to wear for said shower once I get back to civilivation anyways so this is no big deal) and put stamps on envelopes (because people at a bridal shower might find it weird if they aren't actually invited to a wedding afterwards). Woo!

Friday, March 23, 2007

ups and downs

These past few days have really been difficult. I am still running pilot studies and just when I think something is working, it doesn't. Then, when I think it isn't working- IT IS! There is a lot of variation in my type of research and along with it comes the emotional rollercoaster of progress. I have been going from feeling accomplished to feeling like I need to abandon my original question and hypothesis 3 times a day.
I need X to happen in order to study Y. A old student of my advisors got X to happen only 5 out of 25 times. He studied what influences X and unfortunately, the conditions under which X happened for him, I can not replicate because of limited resources. I got X to occur yesterday but it didn't last long enough for me to collect my data about Y. Today, I go into the lab to break down the experiment and what do I see? X! I don't know how or when or why but X now seems stable. I'm taking data and we will see if it indicates anything about Y over the weekend. Man, I would love to be able to have an n = 1 by now!

I also must offer congrats to my super labmate who is defending her dissertation RIGHT NOW! I wish I could be there but know that her work is fantastic and that she will be a Dr. by the end of the day. SOO Exciting! I might have to buy yarn to celebrate!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

With all your power....

OH MY GOSH! Flaming Lips MUSICAL? Now, that doesn't exactly sound like a great idea but I am completely excited for it none-the-less.

I have a long saga with this band. I was supposed to go see them with a friend as a last minute thing in 1999 when I was a sophomore in college. It was the night before spring break and he decided not to go at the last minute. I had never heard their music so -no big deal. During that break I heard 'The Soft Bulletin' for the first time while driving to Atlanta to do service work for the week. I was hooked. Stories of confetti, balloons and dressing up like rabbits at their live shows had me obsessed with seeing them. They toured again, rides fell through, tickets were sold out, etc etc. Finally, after 5 different concerts missed, I saw them in 2003. I told this story in line to my friend and some nice man who was standing in front of us with his college-radio-dj-daughter gave me his backstage pass to dress up and dance onstage. It was amazing. I was a goldfish. I lost my voice, danced my head off and then went for pancakes. Since then, I have seen them on New Years Eve in Chicago and ran into Wayne Coyne while waiting for a Decemberists show during SXSW in Austin (I directed him towards the bathroom). Artgirl, Hamster_grrl, V and I got to see them together last August. I would go see them a million more times but never thought it would be on Broadway! Yippee!!

Ok, back to my very busy work day now.....(no really...)


Sunday, March 18, 2007

I have conquered the sock!

Since I finished all but the thumb of super-silk-armwarmer #1, I have gone and moved onto a few other projects. I think actively working on a few things at once will keep the knitting more exciting and then I will do it more.
First up- the sock. After dreaming about it late last week, I realized I had promised to send the pattern back to its owner 6 weeks ago. It completely slipped my mind (I am SO sorry SB! even though said pattern owner doesn't read this blog). I am sending it back to her on Monday and so last night, just sat down and turned the heel. It was easy. Really easy. It was stupid of me to be so worked up about it. Over a year of putting off socks because of THAT? wtf? Non-cheapo sock yarn is on my list of things to buy and once I do, I will be a sock knitting fiend! I have at least 4 trips planned that include major airport time. I'm already looking for patterns for V and my mom.
Let's not forget that this year is 'Year of the Sweater' here at DancingFish central! I am starting with the Fairly Easy Fair Isle from SnB Nation. I thought I would live dangerously and actually swatch for the first time ever- this is the first knit I've done where swatching seemed required. If a hat or scarf or armwarmer is a bit too big or small it isn't really a big deal. A sweater too big or small? Disaster. After blocking, my gauge is practically perfect. It as good as I am going to get it at least! Any thoughts on the colors*? I know the dark green doesn't really POP against the brown but it makes up a big stripe on the yoke that is surrounded by a little stripe of the light green so I think it will make its awesome green-ness known in the end.
*It was an overcast, crappy day for pictures yesterday. It was either too light with the flash and wash out the light green, or too dark and lose the dark green....

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 17, 2007

On being very far away...

Considering that I am working in a lab 3000 miles from my university, I am pretty isolated from the daily goings-on of my department. V is a grad student there too so I hear about some things from him but we usually talk more about home, pets, wedding, and our own work rather than the latest from the department.
It is a strange situation. I still hear some gossip that is blatantly false, some that is heresay 4 times removed and some that I am sort of involved in (even though the people spreading it don't know it has to do with me at all). While it could probably be said that I was too involved in the gossip side of things, I miss the community of my department. Seminars, hallway chats, interaction of any kind- be it about science or who baked cupcakes that day.

Even stranger is my lab situation. I have very little idea what is going on there. I am sure if major changes or anything happened I'd be told but I am far enough along in my program and far enough away that I am not really involved with new students and not involved with any one elses' projects on a day-to-day basis. Even more than the department, I miss the camaraderie of my lab. Having lab meeting either with bagels (A.M.) or beers (P.M.) is a weekly occurrence and I thrive on chatting about ideas for experiments or what those new results could mean. It is so great to be surrounded by people who all get excited about science because it is a passion, not just a job. After being used to that environment, I wonder if my new environment influences how I work (or don't work). There, if you are stuck on a sentence you can take a break, walk down the hall, talk it out and move on. Here, I can walk down the hall and see if there is any coffee left, check up on my pilot experiments for the 4th time that day or check bloglines. Pretty much all of these ends with my mind remaining stuck exactly where it was. To make everything worse, there are never any cupcakes...


Friday, March 16, 2007

3 of my favorite things...

This is really really awesome for science, sea life and knitting!

Hyperbolic space explained by knitted coral reefs...

Yes, seriously.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I am getting married May 26th in Northern Illinois. Outdoors. In a wooded conservation area. With a backyard reception. This is the map of the 2007 group of 17-year cicadas.
V is actually really excited by this. As long as one doesn't fall on me during the ceremony and I can avoid stepping on them (which is probably impossible), I will be fine too. You'd think biologists would have thought to look into this!
According to James Schuster, U of I Extension horticulture educator, Brood XIII "has a reputation for the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere," said Schuster. "During the 1956 emergence, they counted an average of 311 nymphal emergence holes per square yard of ground in a forested floodplain near Chicago. This translates to one and a half million cicadas per acre. In upland sites, they recorded 27 emergence holes per square yard, translating to about 133,000 per acre. This number is more typical of emergence numbers but is still a tremendous number of insects."
I don't think I'll have enough favors for all these uninvited guests...


Bend to Squares

I think my square made it into the blanket for Grandmother Purl! See, there- 3rd picture down...right in the middle row closest to the end of the bed! Looks like the little one I made (bad lighting and all)...
It is pretty neat to see exactly where mine ended up, who is (hopefully) enjoying it and what squares it is rubbing shoulders with (my little stockinette is certainly surrounded by some beautiful blue lacy squares)! They ended up getting enough squares for 4 or 5 blankets which is crazy amounts of squares quite a testament to the Internets and knit bloggers in particular.
P.S. Can you tell I just learned how to do a strike through in html? I am going to have to make a super long to-do list just to use it more...


Thought for the day...

It is difficult to get motivated to do a PCR 4 PCRs when you are 80% certain it they won't work.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Top down or bottom up?

There are two ways to approach this 'goals' thing. You could either set small, acheivable goals that will build up to the big acheivment or you can focus on the big acheivment and be more flexible in how you get there. It seems like the bottom-up way is the way to really get things done and not get bogged down with the hugeness of the big, final product.

So, I was writing out my bottom-up goals and while they are all well and good, they seemed obvious and some of them were arbitrary and inflexible. They are all things that you either do or do not do every day and are as much desicions as they are goals.
I guess what I really want to do is to make better desicions and then see the outcomes in terms of work or personal benefits. I am not going to put these small descions up here yet. I'm not ready to be accountable for them and I don't want to feel like I either failed at my goals or am completely ignoring them if I am focusing on something else. I will put my tracking bars up (soon) that will reflect bigger specific tasks. The smaller victories that I make when I cross things off my Post-It Note lists will be (hopefully) reflected in the progress of the larger tasks.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

I think I smell a rat

I'm back! The field research portion of my trip was less than successful. While there are lots of fish (which is good as the main goal of my research job is to increase the number of fish), we only caught 2 of them for sampling. We need about 50. It is early and I have till August to get the other 48. I also got up close and personal with some mice and/or pack rats and a roadrunner, a sunburn, a good steak dinner during my trip. The rodents were the worst. Rodents alone are one thing but this is a part of the country where the rodents bring the plague and hantavirus. I kept the light on at night and relied on sleeping pills to get any sleep at all. My tired bones were very happy to crash in my trailer at Desert Outpost last night.

It seems like a lot of people behind the blogs I read are getting organized and getting down to business lately. I feel as thought this should be something I should be doing as well (although this is a constant feeling for me over the past 5 grad school years). I have recently started using tools like prioritized lists and writing exercises but need to be more accountable for my productivity. I am going to be adding status bars of each of my projects on my sidebar and putting my goals not only on this here blog but also in visible places around my workspace to stay focused. Expect more on this soon, but first I must do the following completely non-work related things...
Buy plane tickets for my bridal shower
Pay bills
Restock all my Body Shop products
Go for a run
Finish at least one armwarmer (the AC is on the the office and I am FREEZING)

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007


There is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie coming out? In 2007? What a horrible idea. I think I'll go back to not having any decent tv soon*. That way I don't have to hear about ridiculousness like this.

*Like I had a choice in the matter. I am hotel blogging right now and after tomorrow it is buh-bye tv till another conference next month.