Monday, March 30, 2009


I am proud of our students here at William Jewell. We had one student named as a Goldwater Scholar and one student named as an Honorable Mention. They are both great students and it is just a reminder of why I like my job.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

GBKD Mini-weekend retreat Update

The big drama, at least for me, about this retreat was getting Sparkling Squirrel from the airport to Lawrence before the snow storm of the decade set in to the KC metro area. The forecast was for 6-12 inches in Independence and other parts of the metro, with most of the metro forecast for up to six inches. This storm was dumping 15 inches of snow in Western Kansas! There were calls for Thundersnow! Snow could start as early a 7 pm on Friday or 4 am on Saturday. (SS's flight came in at 10:30 pm).

The original plan was I was to pick SS from the airport and return to Independence where we would hang out Sat. morning. Early Sat. afternoon we would head to Lawrence for the larger retreat. Well, with the snow in the forecast, I was worried about getting to Lawrence on Sat.

So I decided to pick up SS from the airport and then head to Lawrence, if the roads were not bad.

I worried about this all day on Friday. Picked SS up without incidence, drove to Lawrence without incidence - just a little sleet.

Had a wonderful time with Sparkling Squirrel and Sally's Sister and a special guest. Slept well.

But this morning - no snow.

Currently, Sally's Sister is making homemade pizza dough for our pizza party tonight.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Treated lumber vs. not treated

I have plans to put in a new wood fence, and have to decide on treated vs. untreated lumber. My environmental side says go with untreated. But will it rot away in 10 yrs? Or does that not matter, wood is supposed to rot away. Untreated would be cheaper. I should research what the compounds do to dogs and wildlife.

From Home Depot: The most common types of chemical used to treat wood are Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA), and, the newest type, Micronized Copper Quaternary (MCQ). Pressure treated lumber can last 20 years or more, and most pressure treated wood comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Monday, March 16, 2009

For the gardeners and botanists

I'd like some advice from those of you with a good knowledge of gardening and native plants. I don't have large excesses of time or money for gardening, but I don't want to let another season pass without doing something for my yard.

What are some low-maintenance native perennials for...
... vines to grow on fences (in part to full sun)?
... full shade and dry? full shade and wet?
... part-sunny spots in need of color?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Know Any Teaching Ecologists?

If you know anybody or know anybody who knows anybody who might be considering looking for a 1 semester teaching job and a chance to explore rural Appalachia for the fall (and ABD who needs to escape her/his dissertation for a semester would certainly be considered). Please have her/him contact me (at my college address) right away. Any suggestions much appreciated. The job would involve Bio 101, Ecology and the attached labs. I'd provide as much help as desired/I can.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In case any of you happen to be in town, please join us on Saturday Mar. 28 at 6pm for a KNITTING GROUP REUNION at Sally's Sister's with co-hosts Sparkling Squirrel, Jenny, and Jennifer. We'll make gourmet pizza. Here is a list of food requests. Let me know what you would like to bring.

· Everyone bring your favorite pizza and salad toppings to share

· Anyone have a good pizza sauce?

· Appetizers

· Dessert

· Wine

· Jennifer = brownies, salad greens, wine

· Sally's Sister = pizza dough and cheeses

Don’t forget your knitting (or other) projects! Children are welcome, but let me know so I can anticipate what to do with Rusty.

RSVP to Sally's Sister

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dr. Collins!

I have to brag a little for her this morning. She did an Awesome job at her presentation yesterday and, of course, made it through with flying colors! Congratulations!! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

difficulties supervising an older employee

Do other people have struggles supervising their elders? I realize that this is tied into my personality, but I am having trouble with confidence in supervising an employee older than me. Last August we (boss and I) asked said person - I'll dub Jack - to write a project report - a simple report with small dataset I thought would be a good to start for this PhD to get more involved in helping us crank out reports. Nothing happened - Jack has low self confidence in analyzing and writing. In Sept. I cranked out the stats so Jack only had to write. Nothing. Boss and I should have acted last year. I just sent an email to boss and Jack suggesting that Jack doesn't work on anything else for the rest of the month - just work on the report. And now Jack is scrambling around looking for literature asking me and boss questions.

Jack frustrates me. but more frustrating is my lack of confidence in saying get this done! As of last year it should have been done and I should have cracked the whip. 10 yrs ago I had trouble transitioning to being the supervisor of students I had been a fellow student with. So I suppose this is another round of growing pains.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Student death experience?

A student (perhaps one of my advisees, but I have no recollection of this) at my school died in a car accident on Friday (actually 2 students died, but I only know one). I'm feeling that I should be having more of a response than I am (as it happens, I am much more upset by Valancy Jane's miscarriage, and I've never met Valancy Jane and she lives in California and the miscarriage happened 2 weeks ago). It could be that it just hasn't hit me yet (I did swear I saw the student in lab this afternoon), it could be that I am just a cold person, but it's most likely that this is something that really doesn't affect me directly. My question is, has this happened to anyone else? and do you have advice for what I do when around people who are affected directly? (i.e. while I had the student in one 80 person class Spring 2008, another professor had her in two classes last semester and 2 classes this semester. Most of my majors know her and lots were friends or class mates). I'll go to the on-campus memorial service, I'll send a note to her parents, but what do I do with/for other professors or students?