Friday, March 30, 2007

Dolphin News

When the dolphins take over the world, I hope they remember me as their friend.

Dolphins & The Navy
Is the water near Seattle too cold for bottlenosed dolphins? It was a bit chilly for me during the summer months. And I'd say my blubber distribution is near equivalent to a dolphin's.

(Photo by Ry, summer 2006, 2 of my favorite dolphins)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

20 goals for 2007 quarterly report

At the beginning of 2007, I posted some goals (not because I think you really care about my goals in life, but because I need to be held accountable, darn it!). Here's an update on how I am doing! Hope you're working on any goals you set for yourself this year!

Be a better:
1. Exercise 3-4 times a week & eat better
Well, I try to do 20 min of pilates everyday, I bought an exercise ball, try to get to the gym a few times a week, started to walk at lunch time with the secrataries 3-4 times a week, and I started ballet class again (which kicked my ass). I should give up the beer and french fry portions of my diet though ...
2. Save 10% of my income
Hmm .. I do have a bit in savings, so that's good. But that eBay gets me everytime ...
3. Clean the apartment every Sunday
Working on that
4. Take a photo everyday (see The Oddity Effect: Project 365)
Should update more often
5. Read a few non-science books
I was invited to a book club by Dr. D's awesome wife. But I have yet to enjoy any of the books!! I am a science nerd!

PhD Student
6. Pass the Qs
Done! Passed! Happiness!
7. Be an awesome Animal Behavior Lab TA
Well ... just a few more lab reports to correct .... I hope I was a good TA!
8. Send out 5 manuscripts for publication
1 down, 4 to go
9. Write & Defend my dissertation proposal (by the summer)
Still got time ....
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
Easter holidays are coming ...
13. Encourage Ry to work hard and finish up his dissertation soon (despite wanting him to stay in the Little Town with me)
Trying my best

Friend & Family Member
14. Call back everyone promptly
Well, I must say I am failing at this one! Darn!
15. Visit my family in Buffalo at least 4 times
Only one trip planned so far (End of May)
16. Visit BF Kimmy & BF-in-law in VA
Maybe early August?
17. Send letters & cards to my friends that are far away
More cards are needed!
18. Take Vacation with Ry & friends
Maybe early August? (Have fun on the cruise that we can't go on, friends!!!)
19. Visit The Southern Yankee and Baby Katherine
Well, baby Katie is only 4 days old, so we are thinking a summer visit is in order!!
20. Knit more -- especially gifts!
I got a few gifts out to Baby Katie and Southern Yankee, but I have lots more to work on!

So, 3 months in to the year, and I guess I am doing OK with my goals! Better than other years when my ONLY New Year's Resolution was to stop gossiping and then BF-Kimmy and I would chat on New Year's Day about the previous night's festivities and that resolution would be shot ...

Welcome Baby!

On Sunday night, one of my life-long friends (as in "we have been friends for almost 2 decades") became a MOMMY!

CONGRATULATIONS Southern Yankee, husband and baby Katie!

I know that Stephanie will be the best mom! I remember playing dolls with her as little girls, and she was always a much better care-giver than me!

Of course, there was an incident in front of my parents' house where we kicked our cabbage-patch kids in the butt and tried to get them over the powerlines ....

But that was long, long ago .... I am sure she'll be a great mom now! :)

Just watch her with the baby near powerlines ....

Can't wait to meet the little one this summer!!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Busy week

This was a very busy work week for me.
Here's a laundry list of the highlights that when on this week in the Little Town:

  • Taught my last lab of the semester!
  • Helped an oldest labmate J with her dissertation defense preparation
  • Tried to be a good hostess for oldest labmate J
  • Bought plane tickets for field work in Jamaica
  • Bought plane tickets for conference in Monterey
  • Booked hotel for conference in Monterey
  • Finished review paper edits and sent to Nate for submission
  • Almost finished my research slides for the local symposium in 3 weeks
  • Had beers and dinner with most-awesome-scientist that did his dissertation work on the same fish I am working on
  • Got invited to Costa Rica to do field work with most-awesome-scientist next breeding season
  • Also got invited to co-author a paper with most-awesome-scientist on study he wants help with in the field (read -- BIG DEAL)
  • Learned how to video conference
  • Watched the oldest J in my lab defend her dissertation work and do very well

A busy week, but didn't accomplish nearly enough (notice that I didn't have a lot of research on that list above). How can I do so much, yet have so much to do? Does everyone feel this way, or just grad students?


OK, so I don't think I have a serious problem.

But I have experienced the joys of eBay. And I like it.

I lost my eBay virginity afew months back when Ry got his Xbox 360. The games are so expensive, so I suggested he use, which I have used many times to buy books for school. I liked because there was no bidding, just buying.

But Ry found to be a gateway drug and started buying things on ebay. And, because I am a faithful girlfriend, and a known bargain shopper, I found myself buying too.

Now, I looked up a few other websites, just to be sure I'm not really addicted. I just happen to have purchased a handful of things lately. Like some cool yarn. A handheld sewing machine (like I had as a kid). A few blue mugs with fish schools on them (to match the china pieces Kathryn gave me years ago). Supplies to make potpourii out of all the roses Ry has given me. A weight watchers point calculator. A 2gig memory card for my camera. An underwater camera casing. A quiltted sleeve for my laptop. Some knitting needles. A set of purses from Avon. And my most recent purchase -- a salon-quality hairstraightener. That is bright green.

Perhaps I just have a tiny problem. But the stuff is SO CHEAP! You cannot beat the DEALS! If I bought all of these things at retail price, I would have spent 2 or 3 times as much!

I am a poor grad student. I could not afford these items at full price.

Of course, I did not NEED a single item I purchased on eBay.

Darn you eBay and your power!!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

God Tube

Check out this link that the professor's in my department are sending around.

It is AWFUL. I seriously laughed so hard.

And then I just felt bad.

I was raised Catholic. I did all the Youth Group stuff through high school and college. I went to Jesuit Universities (BS & MS in Biology). And I still believe in evolution.

Shit, I would almost call myself an Evolutionary Biologist.

Why is it difficult to believe in God AND Evolution?

I just don't understand it.

Maybe it's time for a woman to write a book about this issue that comes up in my daily life.

But until I write my book, I will still laugh at Kirk Cameron clapping approvingly as an Australian explains that Bananas prove that there is a God.

I'd like to think that other people in the world (that weren't on Growing Pains) believe in God for a reason other than bananas ...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Let it flow

After 24 hours, I have water again!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(I'd kiss him, even though he's not actually Irish!)

Crazy adventures!

Well, it was a crazy weekend ... just not in the way I had anticipated.

It all began Friday, with a freak storm that started dropping snow on the Little Town like it was lake effect or something.

My bestest friends were supposed to drive in for a weekend visit from Buffalo and from Virginia. But none of us worried about the snow. We're from Buffalo. We've lived through many blizzards (yes, real live blizzards, not just bad snow storms that people around here think are blizzards). How bad could the 5-6 hour drive from each direction be?

Well ... pretty bad.

When the phone rang and it was Gorgeous, I just assumed he and Anna had stopped for lunch and were calling to say they were half way to my place. Well, they were half way to my place, and that is where they remained.

In a ditch.

The ice and snow caused them to slide off the road, into a mile-marker sign, and down an embankment. Thank goodness for side airbags or Anna wouldn't have walked away with only a few scratches.

Her car wasn't so lucky. Being undriveable, the two of them and the car had to spend the night in the middle of nowhere New York (in the very last hotel room in town). But, it seems as though the insurance will cover everything and -- as Anna and George keep saying -- it's only a car and thank goodness no one was hurt!

After this craziness, I called BF-Kimmy and Billy to see how the trip from down south was going. It was slow going, but they hadn't hot much snow and they were only 40 miles from DC. They decided to keep going and try to make it to the Little Town.

About 2 hours later, I spoke with them again and they had gone about 40 miles. At that rate, they'd have shown up at my house by 3am! So, they decided to pull over and get a room near Baltimore!

After a sleepless night (and another migraine) and many early morning phone calls, it seemed best that everyone just try to make it safely back home. And we'd have to plan our weekend of fun for sometime in the near future!

That left Ry and I with a day to ourselves and a whole lot of alcohol. Since I was totally bummed that my friends couldn't make it and I felt responsible that they had been in an accident and/or had to spend the night in a creepy hotel, Ry did his best (because he is the best boyfriend ever) to cheer me up and distract me!

We spent a long time shoveling out the car, caring for friends' cats across town, and grabbing some very late lunch (which you see half of on Ry's face here).

We also stopped at a few stores (I now have ALL 6 seasons of Dawson's Creek!!!!!! and Ry picked up some baseball collectables for himself and my dad) and came home to play some video games. Ryan helped make our favorite dinner and we went to be early!

Luckily, today we were up early to shower, because the pipes broke in my building and I now have absolutely no water in my apartment!! And, it turns out, I will be water-less for another day or so ....

All-in-all, a crazy weekend!

I'm just glad everyone was OK after their adventures!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Layout!

Things I do instead of work ...

Let me know what you think of my new title banner and layout colors!

Monday, March 12, 2007

"Break" is over

Today was the first day after "spring break".

And I got a phone call from my advisor before I even made it in to school (and I generally get there before most people).

And I have an email box filled to capacity with emails to answer and lab report drafts to review.

And I had over an hour long conversation with my advisor about my labmates and summer field research.

And I had to perform fish surgeries, of which I am terrified.

And I had to sit through (for a second time) a talk about giving a talk given by a professor who isn't that good at giving talks.

And I had to teach my lab again. Complete with squealing girls that had to touch live crayfish (though, some of the girls made me proud!).

And somehow I ended up at a professor's house to hold a ladder while she cleaned her gutters.

I am currently looking forward to:

  1. My friends' visit this weekend!!!!!!!!!!
  2. My teaching assignment being done in 2 weeks!!!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Irrawaddy Dolphin Update

Because it's my favorite dolphin ...

Go Irrawaddy!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Photos Posted!

A few weeks worth of photographs are now posted at Project 365!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Spring Brake

It's spring break here in the Little Town. Although, it is hardly "spring" (snow predicted tonight) and even less of a "break" (I'm working every darn day!).

I did allow myself the luxury of sleeping in until 7am and having RyGuy pick me up! Which meant we did not get up to work until about 9am. And, to our surprise -- there was NO WHERE to park!!!

The spoiled, obnoxious, children-of-money undergraduates are instructed to move their SUVs and Hummers from their fraternity and sorority houses into our parking lot while they are away at some tropical island resort, getting drunk and hooking up with foreigners. But I digress ...

So, I decided, "I will write a letter". And this time, I actually did. What do you think?

(Note: the email below is slightly altered to protect those to whom I addressed it, because I am sure that you will all want to have them sleep with the fishes after my persuasive blog post)

Ms. [crazy parking lady, whom everyone fears because she thinks she actually has some sort of power of all of us. And she does. Sigh.] ,
I am writing because of the spring break parking situation [near the building in which I practically live]. Specifically, the lot [near the door closest to my office and lab]. The large majority of graduate students and faculty that work in [my building] park in this lot. From my understanding, this is the only lot that graduate students are supposed to park.

Most graduate students do not leave campus for spring break {because that is my sad life}and would like to continue to park in this lot. This, however, is where undergraduate students who leave campus for break are instructed to park. The over abundance of cars makes it difficult for those of us still here to find parking spots close to the building. I am often here early in the morning and stay until after dark, which brings up safety concerns when I make the long walk to my car alone.

I realize that there is nothing that can be done about this right now, but I wonder if there are any other lots that these students could use for storing their car in the future. Perhaps the large visitors lot [far away from where I want to park]? Or [farther away, near the sports complex that no one is using right now, especially not me because I am not an athlete and therefore I should be denied access to working treadmills (but that is another email I need to send ...)]?

I understand that you have a difficult job instructing students where to park, especially if snow removal will be needed over the break. But I just thought that perhaps no one has ever brought to your attention the inconvenience that is placed on those of us working in [this building high up on the hill that no one in administration seems to care about].

I appreciate your time and hard work!