Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Where are you weekend?

Have I mentioned that my family is coming to visit this weekend and I am super excited?

Mom, Dad, Lil'Bro and his GF Kel will be here for the weekend!!! Ry & I can't wait to go with them to see the Buffalo Sabres play in New Jersey and to take them all to the SuperBowl Birthday Celebration at Dr. D's house!!!

We both really need a weekend of fun after these last few weeks!

Here are some Super Bowl questions for you to ponder from Dr. D:

Monday, January 29, 2007

I ain't frontin'

I often wonder the same thing:

Can buttons be loosened?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Click for Pics

New photos posted at Project 365!

Here's a teaser for you!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hamster grrl's Birthday Extravaganza!

This past weekend was Hamster grrl's 30th Birthday Extravaganza! To celebrate, we did a little ice skating (ouch -- I am still sore!) and then had a Viva Las Vegas party at a friend's house! Lots of fun had by all! And I thought I would share some of the fun photos!

(This one is my new all-time favorite photo of Ry and me!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Top 15!! WOOHOO!

It doesn't really mean anything at all, but a research paper that I wrote is actually in the top 15 most read articles in this journal the last 12 months.

Honestly, it means nothing. No one even knows about it unless I tell them or they happen upon it while browsing Ethology (like Dancing Fish does -- thanks for the heads up!)!!

But I was just excited, because it's almost like I am a real scientist or something. Crazy!

Monday, January 22, 2007

One More Q Thank You!

Thanks Southern Yankee for the BEAUTIFUL flowers you sent!
It was a wonderful surprise!
No one has ever sent me flowers before!!!
I think I will send more flowers to people for special occasions. I love them and they make me happy all day as I sit at my desk! More people should send flowers!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another thanks!

Just wanted to send another thanks to everyone who cheered me on during the last month and sent their congratulations!

Here are some pictures of the awesome "Q survival kit" that Kathryn gave me (complete with whale chapstick, Napoleon Dynamite Flippin' Sweet Peppermints, clown fish gummi snacks, and many many other treats!) and some congratulatory cookie bars from BJW and his future wifey!


Photos posted

After a Q-induced hiatus, new Project 365 pictures are up!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I passed!!!!!

Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I'm free at last.

Just 2 days after MLK's birthday, I am free at last.

I passed the Qs!

Yesterday was a crazy day that ended with my oral Qs. My department is looking to hire a new evolutionary biologist (yay! more on that later) and I was busy all morning / afternoon with lunches and talks because of the search. Then, suddenly, it was 2:30 and I was in a room with 3 committee members and a speaker phone (because my 4th committee member is now at another university, which is why we're searching for a new faculty member).

It lasted 2 hours, but they flew by. I was talking the whole time and stumbled only a little. My final question was the scariest. Ry's advisor (who happens to also be one of my committee members) had told me to study subjects dealing with neurons in a specific area of the brain during development that are important in reproduction in adult animals. Which I did, and answered his first question with little effort. His final question to me was about the beginning of brain development. Which I have not even looked at for about 6 months.

It was like telling me to study George W. Bush and then asking me about George Washington.

But, I opened my mouth and words just came out. I was able to explain the groundbreaking experiment about early neural organization. I even drew diagrams -- complete with salamanders with smiley faces.

It was weird. I was surprised that somewhere in my brain, I do actually know stuff.

The absolute best part is that I passed -- with no strings attached. Sometimes students pass on the condition that they take another class or give a lecture to undergrads on a topic they stumbled on or write a paper. But I passed!!!!

Now, I promise to never write about Qs again and get on with my life!!! YAY!!!!

And thanks to everyone for their support!! Especially Ry, DancingFish, Hamster_Grrl, mamagumm, Kathryn, Anna, George, BF Kim, BF-in-law, BJ, Dr. D., Joe, V, and the family (who understood that I couldn't be home for the holidays because of this). Without you all, I would have dropped out of school a long time ago!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today is it.

The end of the Qs.

I hope.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Finally scheduled!

Wednesday afternoon I will be taking my oral Qs!

I am so happy that they are scheduled, but freaking out because Wednesday is actually very close. And I have been slacking a little this last week, with very minimal studying.

So, for the next few days, it's cram cram cram.

And then, hopefully, I will pass. And be done with this stupid test forever!!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Adios Costa Rica ...

Well, I decided for sure today that I will NOT be traveling to Costa Rica over spring break.

No, I was not headed on some awesome college spring break. I was supposed to be hanging out at a nature reserve watching fish swim.

One of my labmates is down there doing some research this semester, so it seemed an obvious time to go. But, the week long adventure turned into something more extreme with rented cars and far away flights and staying at an all-inclusive resort. Just far too complicated for me for something that is NOT a vacation!!

Besides, I should be here in the Little Town focusing on my dissertation proposal (see New Year Goal #9) and sending out my five manuscripts (see NYG #8). This year, I also want to vacation with friends and visit the Southern Yankee and baby Katherine (see NYG 18 & 19).

I'll just have to go to Costa Rica to visit the fishies in 2008 ...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Weekend Update!

It was a relaxing weekend, as I decided to stay away from all things biology and put off studying for the next step of my Qs for 2 whole days.

Ry and I spent Saturday together, doing a bit of shopping and having a nice dinner (yay for Holiday gift cards!!!)! It was nice to just spend time with him, not worrying about the work I should be doing. And I think he was happy that I was out of my pajamas and even brushed my hair a little. When studying for 8-12 hours a day, I find no need to actually look nice. Though, deodorant is mandatory. And showering. And teeth brushing.
Sunday we drove down south for another day of football at Dr. D's. He and his wifey always through a great party! Dr. D grilled us up some chicken wings and Mrs. DD's family supplied us with lots of yummy wing sauces! BJ baked a cake for Timmy's birthday, though we knew Tim wasn't showing up. That's how we roll. Oh, and Ry ate about 3 dozen swedish meatballs. Oh, how we eat and drink with Dr. & Mrs. D!
And there was football projected on the wall and lots of relaxing and fun. Plus, my favorite puppy friend in the Little Town!!

And, I have projects on the needles!! I haven't been knitting too much lately, but I do have a few projects started ... one almost done ... but they are all gifts, so I can't give any details yet!!!

All in all, it was a WONDERFUL weekend!! But now it's back to the grind ....

Rumor has it, I actually passed the written Qs, and I need to super-cram for the orals ...

Photos Posted!

Check it out!

Project 365

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Q -- day 2!

After day 2 of the Qs, I was EXHAUSTED!

You'd be surprised how tiring it is writing for 12 hours ....

coupled with the inability to sleep for a few nights and a few shots at South Side Steel!

I hope I passed.
The last section was especially difficult.
It was the subject I was least comfortable with, there were far too many questions, and I just wanted to be done.

Here's hoping I'll be allowed to take the orals and move on with my life!

As for this weekend, Ry and I are going to relax, do a little shopping, and head to Dr. D's tomorrow for some football!

No studying for me ... until next week!

Friday, January 05, 2007

A good sign for Q day 2?

Not that I really believe in such things .... BUT ....

January 05, 2007
Provided by

Today you will reach your destination, but you might not realize that you've arrived. With all the energy you've been directing toward the journey, your vision is blurred as to the reality of your situation. So wait things out today, and don't make any rash decisions -- you've got to give yourself time to settle into the way things are and fully realize that you are finally, undeniably done! To make a change now would be shortsighted.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if I passed and I could stop blogging about Qs?
Oh, and move on with my life?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Q, day 1 = done!

I survived the first day of my written Qs.

Here are a few words I was able to work into the 6 hours of writing:

  • ubiquity
  • speciose
  • vigorously
  • equivocate
  • utilize (used correctly)
  • unlikelihood
  • impetus
I am sure there were a few more words along with those, but I barely remember at this point.

It wasn't so bad, just tiring.
And I have a full 6 hours tomorrow that I need to desperately study for tonight ....

One more day until it's over ..

Oh, yeah, then the oral Qs. But that's OK ...

Ry and I are going to spend Saturday looking for green shoes.
Green shoes at the oral exams will surely equate to success!


Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Study Break = Posted Photos!

Check out the photos!

Project 365


In one day, I will be starting my written Q exams.

12 hours of testing over 2 days. Then, if I manage to pass those, on the 15th I will spend hours in a room with my committee, trying to show them that I know enough about their subjects to be considered a for a PhD.

I am starting to question these hoops that I must jump through.

This test is seeming more and more pointless the more and more I study.

I just want to watch some fish swim!

Well, must go ... only 23 hours and 45 minutes left to study ....

Monday, January 01, 2007

Project 365

It started today -- Project 365!

I will be taking a photo a day for the entire year of 2007.

To keep them all orderly, I will be posting the photos every few days at
The Oddity Effect: Project 365

Check it out when you get a chance!

I'll post here whenever I update it, so if you read this one, you can link right over to the other blog!

20 in 2007

Happy New Year!!

Ry & I rang in 2007 with some champagne, a view of the Little Town fireworks from my living room window, and some fun phone calls from my friends!

All in all, a wonderful start to 2007!

In light of the new year, I figured I'd set some goals for 2007. I know many people feel that New Year Resolutions are "lame". But, the Babylonians did it 4,000 years ago and the Romans continued the tradition -- they can't be all that bad.

The generally theme of my 2007 goals is "To be a better ...". Which I guess is what resolutions are all about -- being better.

Lately, with my focus on the Qs, I have felt like I haven't been the best Sneks I can possibly be, so I hope this outline will serve as a motivator for 2007!

Be a better:

1. Exercise 3-4 times a week & eat better
2. Save 10% of my income
3. Clean the apartment every Sunday
4. Take a photo everyday (see The Oddity Effect: Project 365)
5. Read a few non-science books

PhD Student
6. Pass the Qs

7. Be an awesome Animal Behavior Lab TA
8. Send out 5 manuscripts for publication
9. Write & Defend my dissertation proposal (by the summer)
10. Work Harder!

11. Tell Ry I love him everyday (because I do!)
12. Be as kind to Ry's family as he is to me
13. Encourage Ry to work hard and finish up his dissertation soon (despite wanting him to stay in the Little Town with me)

Friend & Family Member
14. Call back everyone promptly
15. Visit my family in Buffalo at least 4 times
16. Visit BF Kimmy & BF-in-law in VA
17. Send letters & cards to my friends that are far away
18. Take Vacation with Ry & friends
19. Visit The Southern Yankee and Baby Katherine
20. Knit more -- especially gifts!

20 goals for 2007.
Too many?