Friday, June 29, 2007

The work of a leaf cutter

I've got bees on the mind after a neat conference here in Ames the last few days, it happens to be National Pollinator Week, and just because they are way cool, I wanted to share this photo of two cells made by a leaf cutter bee (Megachile) in a potted plant. I've been watching her dig in the dirt recently but only really suspected she was providing for offspring when I saw her go under ground with some pollen. A few days later, these cells lay on top of the soil. I'm not sure whether they were meant to remain under the soil or not; one was later eaten by something that carefully peeled back the leafy layers to get at the pollen mass (or the bee egg?), so it is very possible that same culprit dug them up. It may be hard to tell by the photo, but I think, should the offspring in the remaining cell survive until next summer, this will be one big bee.

On a side note, there could be some interesting national legislation concerning bees at some point ( Hope you all are well, and are getting to spend some time outside enjoying pollinators around the country (and world, for Molly).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Latest on Tennessee

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything so I thought I would update people what has been going on, mainly it is news about Stelios, but that also means it's my news too :)

So Stelios accepted the faculy position at Univ. Tennessee at Chattanooga and will be starting January 1st. The plan is to move him out there mid-December and I will stay there probably throughout the month of January to get him going with teaching and working while I get everything unpacked, etc. It's going to be a very long cross country road trip but we are both very excited about it. I'm hoping that I will be able to move with him during the Spring (ideally February) and then continue school long distance and come back to Lawrence on various trips and stay throughout the summer for field season. We shall see how that will work in the coming months.

I also have to brag about Stelios a bit...we recently found out that his NSF proposal was funded! He is the lead PI on a grant with Michael Engel, researchers from the Field Museam and a researcher in Europe that will enable him to travel around the world collecting beetles and starting a new collection in Chattanooga - very exciting - I am very proud of him!

As for me, I've been working and working and working - trying to get things done so it will be easier for me to move in later months (fingers crossed) and Stelios will be coming here for the 4th (can't wait) and then I will be seeing him in August right before ESA and then meeting him in Chattanooga after ESA to visit the place - looking forward to that.

Well, that's the bulk of what has been going on...hope all is well with everyone and I will try to keep you updated better at to what plans are evolving - it's going to be an exciting year!


Travel tips - deodorant discovery

I discovered this morning that I don't have to throw away my used up mini deodorant container and buy a new one. I just broke off the appropriate length chunk from my big container and stuck it in the empty container. Ha materialistic world - try to get me to buy another mini deodorant again!

We could start a list of travel tips. Like thong underwear to travel. Tiny and dries fast!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Moving Madness

To continue in the theme of Beth's post, my life has been madness as well. But instead of weddings it is all about finding a new place to live and preparations for a move. All of this on top of a summer job that requires a lot of travelling. But the good news is, we finally found a place and will sign the lease on Monday. It is in Independence (rather than Liberty), but it is in nice area and a terrific neighborhood. It is an older (1960's?) neighborhood across the street from a golf course and surrounded by McMansion neighborhoods (one of which is called The Dominion, which is a bit strange). Which is way better than other parts of the Independence. I will try to remember to get pictures on Monday when we sign the lease.

Oh - and my phone is dead again. It was like it just came back for Father's Day. Weird.


Wedding Madness

I haven't been writing much because life has been crazy with getting ready for the wedding along with field work. However, this morning one of my tasks was to order the pictures for our guestbook, i.e. what goes on the first page, second page, etc. and I thought I'd share a few pictures with all of you. The pictures were taken at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in May.

Other than dealing with lots of wedding details - I've also done field work in Michigan to collect snails. I still need to sort the dirt and ID everything but I'll get to that eventually. I've decided to wait on research until after the wedding so I can take some time to relax.

By the way, my folks are having an open house in Cleveland in August that all knitters are invited to so please drop me a line if you think you might be able to be in the area.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Two (or 5) weeks in and still liking my husband

The Mister and I have now been on the road for two weeks and two days (or 5 weeks and 3 days if you count Ecuador). I am pleased to report that I still like him. Despite my general feeling of laziness, it has been an action packed two weeks-- presenting at Economic Botany in Chicago while seeing Jeff's bro and sister in law, my former advisor and my cousins. Dashing to Lawrence for Jeff's cousin's wedding (and managing to hit the farmer's market, Liberty Hall and New Hampshire St Bistro while we were there for 36 hours). A chicken dinner for Jeff's grandfather's 80th in Abilene. Pie for Jeff's grandfather's 80th the next day. Back to Lawrence for a lovely Woodland Evening (Thanks Sally's Sister!) and time with KBS and Jeff's friends. Back to Jeff's parent's house. To my parent's house. Eating with my family (a major undertaking). Hiking on Father's Day. Throwing the annual croquet tournament. Recovering from the croquet tournament and baking my mother's birthday cake today.
Off to Montana tomorrow, after visiting my friend in the hospital who stopped by the croquet tournament on her way to the hospital for labor to be induced . . .
This does make me wonder if it is possible for me to take a vacation that feels like vacation, or if I would ever want to.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Lazarus - I am not normally a namer of things, but I could call my cell phone Lazarus. It must have dried out enough, because it is now working. I am really glad that I procrastinated getting a new one! Happy Day!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I didn't mean to . .

But I killed my cell phone. It was left in the pocket of my field pants that went straight into the washer. So if you need to contact me, for now, you will need to e-mail or call my home phone.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Getting biblical in Central Kansas

I haven't been checking the blog regularly and have missed some good stuff! Capsized canoes and existential circuses to name a few. Becca was in town this weekend and we went camping at Wilson lake. It was the most beautiful place I have been in Kansas, even though it is a reservoir. The lake is fed by the Saline River and the water is crystal clear blue (or green or purple or pink depending on the time of day). We took a canoe out, and even though it was pretty rough (from the wind and jet skis) we didn't get too wet. We also made it to the Garden of Eden, which was awesomely creepy. I'm not much for hippie dippy stuff (anymore...) but I really think that this place might be a so-called "vortex". It had a very profound affect on everyone in our group, and the folk art (and artists) there are pretty far out. I recommend this place to everyone. Check out the photos, the last one was the view from our campsite.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Book Suggestions Needed

I am in the need for some new mid-weight novels. Surprisingly, most of my reading has been non-fiction, or at least non-novel for some time. The Mister and I leave tomorrow for our eight week mid-country tour and I realize that I have packed three "fun" plant and ecology books, one depressing (but allegedly funny) memoir, a ton of field guides, and perhaps a few trashy romance novels if I can dig them up. I'm looking for a novel thats a really good read (authors I consider in this category: Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Vonnegut, Austen, Tom Robbins . . . ). Suggestions?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Current Comments

Once again it has come up that we would like to see current comments easily on the blog, regardless of which post they are go to. One suggestion, which would be fine, would be to to have separate e-mail account to send the blog comments to that we could all check. But here is another way to go. There is a site called Haloscan through which you can manage your blog comments. They have code which you can put into your sidebar which lists all the recent comments, regardless of which post it goes to and I think it links you then to that post and its comments.

I tried to install this to our blog, but the problem is that I am already using Haloscan for my personal blog and I could not see a way for me to have two blogs through Haloscan. It is really easy to use Haloscan, but someone else would have to set up the account for this blog. One other thing - the comments that were left on blogger do not show up on the blog once you switch to Haloscan.

Just a suggestion!

Book Recommendation

I just finished reading the newly-published "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a non-fictional account of her family's adventures during a one-year period in which they were determined to eat only locally-grown foods, many of which they grew or raised themselves on their small farm in Virginia.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those of you with an interest in ecology, human impacts on the environment, the growing of food, or the eating of it. If you've never read any of Kingsolver's stuff, this is a fine place to start. Although it deals with serious subjects, it's often laugh-out-loud funny, and has very few "preachy" bits. It also has some yummy recipes!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Cirque du Soleil

So last night, a labmate and I went to see the Cirque du Soleil show Corteo. I'm sure that some of you (or maybe many of you) have seen a Cirque show before, but I never have. I have to say that it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life! I didn't even know that the human body could physically do some of the things that they did! Plus the tent is set up so that you are really close to the stage (I think that is the closest I've ever been to a non-high school stage). And any group that encourages you to switch to the more expensive seats a minute into the performance because they didn't sell out is totally awesome. As for the performance, I liked the first half better than the second, though both were indescribably awesome. My absolute favorite was the 4 women in the chandeliers at the very beginning. So cool. If only I had the flexibility, athleticism, strength, dedication.... okay I would need a lot of things before I would be capable of doing that, but I can appreciate how cool it all is. And the show was thought provoking too (the story is that this clown has just died, and it follows his journey to the other side, so it made me think about how I live my life). Anyway, if you get the chance you should really try to see this. It's 2 full hours of fun.

On another note, I wonder if I should abandon all thoughts of ever publishing a paper on the development of apical flaps in nematocysts. I feel like God himself is telling me to give up and just let Daphne and Jane do what they will (even though I know I can't do that). Maybe it will get published by the time I finish my degree.

Finally, Jenny and Jennifer - I commented on your posts. Sometimes I worry that if I comment on old posts, no one will read them (not that I have anything mind-blowing or even interesting to say, I just don't want to seem like I'm ignoring things others have said). I really wish there was some system to see what has been updated on the blog.