Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Yes and fatty acids"

An answer to the quiz question, "Proteins are one of the four major types of biological molecules. Name two of the three others."
"Yes," indeed. I have no idea what that means but it makes me laugh.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Happy Burns Night!

Hello everyone, this is Tim posting under Jenny's name. Since it is Burns Night tonight, and many of us had spent previous Burn's Nights in each other's company, I felt the need to post.

I hope everyone is doing well! We are looking forward to some "warm" weather of around 32 degrees on Saturday. We have been cross-country skiing a bit around Ames, taking advantage of the snow, but otherwise have kept quiet since the holidays. I've finally been finishing some manuscripts off, and I finally feel that I'm making some progress on my backlog of writing. I have also been applying for some jobs with some nibbles but no fish yet in the boat.

Jenny and I miss all of you. I don't know if this has been most people's experience, but we have not made such close friendships post-Lawrence as when we were in Lawrence. I've talked to some other professors and post-docs here, and most people agree that it is a lot harder to make friends after graduate school. Well, to end with Burns, "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne! For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne. We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nora Daly!!

Just to let those of you that knew Meg know, Nora Raab-Daly was born on Tuesday at 5 am. Both she and her mother are doing fine. I haven't seen the new addition yet but I hear she is really cute.

On another note, check the following link to read about one of the most bizarre plagiarism cases ever.

Romance novels and Ferrets!

I'm procrastinating so I thought I'd share something fun

So I'm supposed to be at school in my office getting ready for Monday - the start of classes. Instead I'm at home neither working on classes or working on my faculty officer work but surfing on the Chronicle of Higher Ed (and playing with the puppy). But I found on Miss Mentor's site a funny question and answer.

Question: If I get tenure, will I feel (a) ecstatic, knowing They do love me; or (b) sad, fearing I'll lose all ambition forever; or (c) relieved, seeing as how I got by again, and they still don't know I'm a total fraud?

Answer: Yes.

I thought that we would appreciate this question even if its reality is farther away that we'd like.

Things are going well with me just busy. I presented at the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Society for Integrative Biology meetings in November and January. Our 7.5 month old puppy is 100 lbs! He's very cute and getting bigger every day and as an added bonus he's very warm when he decides to be a "bundling board" on the bed at night (woohoo newlywed life). I'm totally not ready for classes to start next week. Mentally I still want a longer break - maybe the problem is our break was too long. Oh well. My hubby's business is getting ready to launch and I'll be sure to get the URL out to everyone when it does. :-) And our holiday cards will be extra late this year but do include pictures of the puppy and the hubby!

Hope things are going well with everyone else - it's time to go tackle the mess of my office.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Scary Mega Dog Brawl.

This one isn't cute like the other. I thought I'd record it for posterity. I house sat for Jennifer D. out in the country, and when it was time for me to leave Sunday morning, I carried Rusty to the car thinking I could get there and get him in before Billie showed up. Billie is the alpha dog at Jennifer's and a stout female bully who once picked Rusty up by the abdomen and shook him. So they hate each other and I keep them apart. Unfortunately, Billie caught up with us, my overnight bag had slipped off my shoulder and was dangling from my elbow so I was awkwardly hurrying to the car, and I couldn't get the car door open b/c it was so cold. Rusty was snapping at Billie from my arms, and Billie tried to get him. So I got him on the roof and thought it would be all ok - just get him in the car and close the door. But then I needed to get Sally in and thought Rusty would just cower in the corner, but he came charging back to get at Billie who was halfway in the car by then, so I tried to shove my overnight bag between them, then got bit twice in the arm by Billie. I had a thick fleece coat on and a sweater and long shirt, but it still left huge bruises on my arm and abrasion sores. Then I got the door closed, but Sally was still outside, and the three dogs, Billie, Dusky, and Sally, were all in a fight - I thought Billie and Dusky were attacking Sally - but it was Sally and Billie against Dusky! Sally was charging in and biting her. So I pushed them around with my feet and somehow got Sally away and into the car. The last part I don't remember. So then I went back inside to recover and keep an eye on Jennifer's dogs to make sure they were ok. They were bleeding. Rusty had chomped down on Billie's upper jaw and wouldn't let go - so her nose was bleeding horribly. But after about 1/2 hour I went back out to check on them and they didn't seem as bad as they 1st appeared. And Billie tried to lick Dusky's wounds and she wouldn't let Billie near her at 1st. The darn dog had just been attacking her a short while ago. But eventually they started grooming each other, and I was more composed for driving, so we left. And this was after waking up to water POURING down from the ceiling in their mud porch and the new bathroom area. The pipes had been frozen, and then thawed over night. I had gotten the water to the house turned off, and was relaxing and planned on coming back up to stay last night. But then the dog fight happened and we didn't go back. Now Rusty's lower eyelid is swollen. He looks like he had been in a fight. Sally is unscathed. I'm sore and still physically and emotionally tired. This is why I didn't become a veterinarian - can't handle animal emergencies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

GBK meet at SCB in Chatanooga?

The Society for Conservation Biology's 2008 meeting is in Chatanooga, TN in July. While I had no previous plans to go to SCB this year, a fellow knitter and I began talking about how
1) We would like to see each other
2) It's so cool that Cheryl is living with her husband in Chatanooga
3) SCB is a meeting relevant to our interests
4) It would be super-cool to go to good meeting and actually be the people who meet up with friends.

Anybody else interested?

Monday, January 14, 2008

lucy pics

Here are some pics of Lucy. Not nearly so glamorous as your lovely photo, Irene:) Sorry it took me so long to upload them-- I only just recently figured out how to transfer images from my cell phone to the computer (I don't have a digital camera other than my phone these days).
It is so wonderful that Sally is visiting folks. SS, have you seen Jon Katz's latest article in Slate magazine, about how he takes his dog to visit people in hospice care?
It is a kind of introspective time for me, these days. Even though N and I have been officially split up since last August, we've haven't really been apart ever since he moved to DC. Last week, I finally decided that I need some time to really be alone--of course, the corollary is that he now has to be alone, but not of his own choosing. Making someone you love unhappy really sucks. And, alone is pretty scary and empty, but definitely also a time to explore and grow... Right now I'm going on faith that I need some time to come to terms with this emptiness, or at least try.
So, it is pretty nice to check into our blog and hear about what's going on in old friends' lives. I hope that you are all doing well.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hi Everybody!

Sorry I've not been able to keep up with the postings very well lately as Stelios and I have been adjusting to life in Chattanooga. But I now feel like I have a moment to let you all know what has been going on.
The big move(s) started from Santa Barbara on the 14th of December and we drove a Penske truck all the way to Chattanooga taking the southern route as it was snowing farther north. It took us 4 entire days and Stelios got sick at the end of it but we did have perfect weather - not a cloud in the sky the entire way! I found it very cool how the topography transitioned across the US and how the music on the radio changed along with it.
Here's a pic around the New Mexico and Texas border.
After getting his stuff into the apartment, we flew back to KC and drove to Nebraska for Christmas and spent a relaxing couple of days with my family. Then it was on to Lawrence to pack up my stuff. This was the total opposite of the previous move because we had to load everything while it was snowing, but we managed and my parents came along for the ride (they were helping with driving my car and they wanted to see Chattanooga as they had lived there before I was born).
As you can see, quite a different driving experience than before...
So for the past couple of weeks we've been unpacking and we are pretty much done. We put up some pics on the walls this weekend so now it feels more like home. I told Stelios that I think I have lost my identity for a little bit, too many changes all at once, I now have a TN drivers license, TN plates on the car, a computer at home and I have CELL PHONE! Oh well, I'm slowing making the adjustments. The Red Bank High School is just around the corner and I have been using the track for running, I can make my way around town pretty well now and Stelios is stressing out about teaching. He's gotten through a couple of lectures already and seems to be getting the hang of things, but of course, he isn't as ahead of everything as he would like. I think he may have to get used to that this semester at least.
So here is a pic of our apartment door and our view from the front porch.
It's been a nice place so far, lots of trees around. I've sent an email out to the knitting listserve that has our new address and phone numbers, so if you don't get those emails, just send me one directly and I will send you the info ( The plan for me is to be going back to Lawrence at the beginning of February to spend some time in the lab, but the actual date depends on when our new Prius arrives! It's supposed to come in about a week or so... Until then, I'm keeping myself busy getting the lay of the land :)

Well, those are the highlights. Talk to you soon!

knitting, writing, growing

I've been intently working on writing Chapter 3 of my thesis and doing revisions on the other 2 chapters. I now have a complete draft of the thesis, I'm working on adding a few more analyses and improving some sections that were weak. It's hard to believe it, but I might actually finish this thing.

Today, I got to take a break from writing and go to a "stitch & bitch" party - the first chance I've had to knit socially since I left Kansas! It wasn't quite the GBKs, but it was lovely and I got to meet some new cool people. The girl who hosted it says she plans to make it a monthly event, so I'm hoping that social knitting becomes a more regular part of my life again.

And of course the belly is getting ever bigger. This is a picture that Vlad took. I'm now at the point where random strangers (like the checkout clerk at the grocery store) comment on it and ask when I'm due. The general consensus is that I'm "carrying small" although I feel enormous already, and can't imagine what it will be like at full term. The baby is practicing her kicks and punches and perhaps some gymnastics, which is really nifty when it's not preventing me from sleeping at night.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sally's outreach

I've been taking Sally to visit a couple homes for the developmentally challenged community. We go on Tuesday nights. There's a couple people that I didn't think cared either way about Sally, but Tuesday night we had one guy laughing his head off when I feed her treats right next to him. I ran into the home coach yesterday and she said the guy was asking about Sally! He talks nonstop, but it's all incoherent. I haven't heard him say anything that made sense, but I guess he does a bit. Also, the home coach said she was impressed that the blind woman there even reached out to touch Sally (she then ignores us both). So that's a big motivator that we're actually making a difference in their lives. Good luck with the giant blanket Lisa! Sounds like a great blanket to wrap up in!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Be careful what you cast on

I'm knitting a baby blanket for Kaliel, a very cool very young person of my acquaintance (my diplomat to Africa friend Brenda's daughter). I decided to make it out of cotton. I decided it would be simple stripes. I cast on some stitches. It didn't look like enough. I cast on some more. Still not enough. More cast on.

So, you all know enough about me to know the rest. The simple stripes theme interested me for three rows before I started experimenting with textural patterns which I keep changing. I decided that I would be doing vertical (long way) rather than horizontal (short way) stripes since it was obviously bigger than intended. I kept knitting. By the time it was big enough to really measure the length, it seems as if I cast on about 7 feet of stiches. Even at almost 2 feet wide it still has the proportions of a bright scarf. I'm scared about how long it will take me and I'm scared about someday casting off and finding out really how big this thing is. I'm haunted by visions of the fabulous 9+ foot scarf I made my friend Lisa (which I don't think she ever wore) from the caterpillar yarn.

I'll post photos someday, but in the meantime, I'm wondering if anybody has ever felted knitted cotton, or at least washed it on hot and shrunk it to be tighter. If so, did it work?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Resolution remembered

I remembered my resolution! It's to not buy so much tea, not to buy multiple boxes just because it's on sale, and not to have more than 1 of any variety (like many earl grays). I tend to stockpile it, then it goes bad. I purged my tea and got rid of stuff I've had for years.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Caucus! The musical.

Nope, I have not seen that particular production, but the fact that it exists is yet another reason why I enjoy living in Iowa. I am not the ambassodor for Iowa that Nick L. of M.M.'s lab is (I can't think of more than a handful of famous people from IA offhand, but I'm guessing he could think of 20), but I have become attached to this state. 2007 was a year full of presidential candidate speeches, rallies, and commercials. I am grateful for the chance to hear the candidates speak in person, to ask them questions, and to participate in my local caucus. I am curious to see what happens after tonight!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy 2008, everyone! I know this isn't "beyond" rodents, but take a look at the "Dramatic Prairie Dog" if you haven't seen it already.

My New Year's gift to you all (especially Sparkling Squirrel). It always makes me laugh.