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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A letter to my cat vet

Dear Dr. Cat Vet,

I know that my little guy is a handful. I don't complain when you get out the big gloves and call the assistant to hold him down. He has given me a few scars, one time he gave me a black eye even so I totally get that. Plus, cat scratch fever is real. No need to take a risk.
However, next time you feel like you have to put the little full face kitty muzzle on him, perhaps you could clean it first. Because now, after seeing you for the bladder infection, he has kitty pink eye. So, not only did we* have a week of stuffing giant pills down his throat (with NO big gloves, mind you), now we* get to rub gunk on his eyes for a week (again, with no big gloves). Can't wait.

Kittens and rainbows,

*by 'we' I mean V. I'm no good a pilling.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008


This years scarf is a cozy, stripey one. It is made of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan. The random stripes are keeping me interested because it is just garter stitch. Can't wait to wear it! The Fairly Easy Fair Isle from SnB Nation. All that is left is the yoke. I haven't touched it in 3 weeks and am having trouble getting motivated to do any rows- they are way too long (130+ stitches!)!
And finally, THE DRESS! It still needs a clasp at the top of the zipper but other than that, it is completely done! Yay! I'm wearing it Monday (with a new white cardigan- how cute!). It is linen so it is pretty comfortable as well. I am sort of amazed that it fits so well and I had so few problems. It is very encouraging, although all the other patterns I have are more difficult. Now that the dress is done, I guess I have to work on those manuscripts tomorrow... Please excuse the mess. The dog collected all 4 of his toys right there before taking a snooze and we are currently giving away/selling on eBay a ton of stuff to make room for the piles of clothes that we actually wear.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

RBOC: Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you...

So, I haven't been very blog-y, or work-y, or awake-y. There were 2 solid days of lab report grading, a few more crappy personal things, student evaluations from last semester, and I'm broke. I just want to stay home. Drink coffee, hang out with cats, watch tennis. That is about it. But there are a few things that have been going on....
  • Drug bust: We were on our way home from work and were being followed by a cop. Before an intersection, they throw the lights on, passed us abruptly and pulled over the car in front of us. I had pulled over when the lights went on and pulled back out but then the person behind me was flashing their lights and tailgating me. I don't know to pull over again or what so I drive confused for a block or two. They swerve around me and stop facing the oncoming traffic in the left lane. We are stopped in the middle of the road when I see a guy approach the car that was pulled over, guns-a-drawn. Drag the guy out, cars stopped behind us, weird car stopped in the oncoming traffic is an undercover unit. Drug busts are confusing for those not involved.
  • Over Xmas, V and I were driving (again) and a power line fell on the car. Like, ON THE WINDSHIELD. It was still attached to a house and a power line but a truck had hit it and it came loose on our car. I called 911 and tried to direct traffic for a few minutes till the fear of getting run over or V's car being rear ended at this busy intersection won me over. It was weird.
  • No pics yet but I'm knitting a cozy new scarf.
  • And a sweater. It is almost done.
  • I am sewing a dress. It needs a zipper and a hem. I want to make it is 10 different colors and wear it every day. Would that be weird?
  • Yet another reason we can't have nice things: We bought new kitchen rugs. Two of the three mammalian pets have thrown up on them already.
  • I think this might be the year I run a marathon. Get some time off in October, Mom.
  • Tennis has been ruining my life. The Australian Open is just on WAY too late. I haven't been to sleep before 1:30 all week and actually set my alarm at 4am to watch a match. Why does Ivanovic wear a dress with a bubble skirt?
  • This weekend I will finish: A dress, 2 manuscripts, my blog hiatus.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Congrats to a new Dr.

One of our departments favorites is leaving us. Today was his last day actually. Monday, grad student (and Sneks boyfriend), Ry, defended his thesis. He had very few revisions, turned bound copies in today and leaves for his postdoc this weekend. He is a great model for success in our department and it was very inspiring to see him fly through the defense with ease. I want to extend my biggest congrats to him!
It is very sad for our department though. I swear, as he finished his acknowledgements slide, there were people tearing up. He is one of those students that everyone loves. Softball team captain, president of the grad student organization, wins university-wide awards for his research- he'd be prom king if that grad student organization listened to my suggestion to have a formal. All this and a totally down to earth guy who genuinely cares and will do whatever he can to help you out. I have no doubts he will continue to do great research and be a great professor and advisor to some lucky students someday. Congrats again Dr. Ry! Here is the new Dr. and V after a particularly taxing round of 'RockBand.'

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Album Cover Meme

(seen at Monkeygirl and ScienceGirl)
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result in your own journal.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thank you

Thank you so much for all your kind comments and thoughts these past few days. I was hesitant to post anything about it but there are a number of old friends IRL who follow me here and so I did. There won't be any services or anything for a few months so I didn't travel back to the midwest this week but I didn't really do much of anything else either. That free, alone time in the lab was all but wasted! Luckily, I had started doing some paper organization* so I could continue that sort of busywork and also do just enough** to put together what I hope will be an acceptable grant application to send out next week.
V and I took advantage of the last forecasted nice day to do some field work today and now are watching football. Go Pack!***

* this is the best project ever. I love it. More on how, why and its awesome-ness later.
**really, just cutting 2 paragraphs and changing 2 paragraphs got it under the word limit and tweaked for this organization.
***yeah, yeah, Bears fans NEVER cheer for the Packers. I know, but my grandpa lived in Wisconsin and we actually got to watch the last Bears-Packers game together. That was funny- he threatened to have me removed from the Applebee's if my team continued to whoop his.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Grandfather's Clock

Grandpa Fish


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No one's home

It is a rare week in my lab. There is no one else around except me and my advisor (who is too busy writing a proposal to want to chat right now. This is rare- he likes lengthy chats). The undergrads are still gone and all the other graduate students went into the field. While field work is always fun, particularly in sun-drenched tropical countries, it hasn't been too bad around here either. There are no other schedules to compete with for lab time so I can power through as much of my current experiments as my little heart desires. So far, I am on track to complete the final treatment for one project and have been working out the details of the experimental design for another small project I want to try to do this semester. Being able to pop down to the lab throughout the day (and actually have things to do in there rather than just visit for no reason) has also helped keep me away from bloglines, gossip sites, email I haven't looked at Cute Overload in 3 weeks!
If only it were this easy to stay productive when writing!


Saturday, January 05, 2008

In the sea there is a fish, a fish that has a secret wish

We drove about 3 hours (each way) to pick up V's Xmas gift today. His love of fish is not restricted to those that are Dancingfish, so I got him actual fish as his gift. He bought this BEAUTIFUL 125 gallon, hand-cut, bamboo tank on eBay over a year ago and it has sat. Empty.
No longer!
Here is a sampling of some of our new friends...This guy is my favorite. The gorgeous, Enantiopus melanogeny

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Junior Kickstart

There were some major happenings in my department last month. All pre-proposal grad students have to meet with a committee to make sure they are moving forward at a timely pace. Usually, one half of the committee doesn't show up. Of those that do, half aren't even paying attention to you, so they give you a lecture to get your proposal done and 5 minutes later you are back to work. Except, this year they are making good on some promises they made recently. Important promises such as how long they will continue providing funding for grad students. So, after these meetings it turns out that one of my office mates is on the chopping block. They are not kicked out, per say, they are welcome to continue working on research but will no longer be funded by the department.

In talking about this, no one is surprised at the lack of progress of this student. People see them at the bar but not in the halls and surely not in our office. When the news passed through labmates and grad students, I did not have much sympathy for the student. Yes, sometimes people take a long time in grad school. Experiments don't work. Techniques are hard to master or difficult in your system. Advisors are crazy. Personal tragedies occur. Anything can happen and it happens to some of the best. The students that continue on through these trials in addition to all the other crap that grad school piles on deserve a lot of respect.
However, those students that don't try, care, or do anything at all for years on end? Including show up? I have no problems with them being called out, losing their funding or even being asked to leave. If someone has no interest in research and does the bare minimum for teaching, and this goes on for years, why support them? It can negatively affect the advisor, lab, other grad students and undergraduates as well (particularly the ones they were supposed to teach!).

Saying out loud (or on the blog) that some grad students shouldn't be funded seems wrong. I feel like a traitor going against the whole supportive spirit of being in the student trenches. On the other hand, I'm sick of people taking advantage of this system that I hold in high esteem due to its importance in the development of my career. So, I sat on this post for a while trying to be a bit clearer in my feelings about it all. In this time, it turns out that the actions of the department may have turned this student around. I saw them everyday for a whole week before Xmas. In the office, computer lab and actual lab and in the halls on the 31st. I assume they are working and hope they can turn it around, get things done and be present in our department. If not, I hope they don't sit, unhappily stagnant in our department for another few years.

Do other departments run a tighter ship or do these types of students lurk in labs (or actually NOT in the labs!) across academia?

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