Monday, December 13, 2010

My grades are in

Woohoo! Woohoo!
Another semester survived.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cost of a chem sample = should I move to Haiti?

I emailed my college chem-major roommate (who's now a children's minister) in a panic over the cost of a chemistry sample. Then wondered if such simple questions have led you to question your lives' paths. Here is the path that went from how much does an analysis cost to should I move to Haiti.

Ack – I’m trying to figure out chemistry stuff. Our staff chemists are long gone so we’ve relied on students the past couple years. And now they’re gone, but we don’t have enough work and $$ to hire a chemist, and the new ecologist just asked how much it costs us to run various analyses. So I need to reacquaint myself with SO4 = sulfate or sulfite?, and most stuff I don’t know but my boss is gone for jury duty.

And we don’t have a chemist anyway, so he’d have to kick in extra money to get us up and running again. And I have definite funding only through Jan 22! But stuff always comes through. And if it doesn’t is that a sign to pick up and move to Haiti, but what about the cats and dogs?

Wikipedia, here I come!

Monday, December 6, 2010

That Exam Doesn't Sound So Good

At my current job we have an old scantron machine that makes loud (but rhythmic) clunks with every wrong answer-- something like an old typewriter with a loud background whirr. Failures tick with every wrong answer and perfect scores glide through with only a tap at the end as the score is printed.
Inexplicably, I love listening as other professors grade their exams. "Wow, that one doesn't sound so good."
In other grading news, I learned that the two characteristics of the rainfrost are "rain" and "frosted" perhaps if I hadn't just read about so many "dessert" biomes, the frosted wouldn't have made me giggle as much as it did.
Happy finals to those of you involved in academia and happy "I don't have to deal with finals" to those of you not.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Jenny!

I know that I have been largely absent from this blog for a while and I will post an update on my life soon. But I didn't want to forget to mark a special occasion today, Jenny's b-day. So warm wishes to Jenny on what will hopefully be a good day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cyber social mores

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! To catch up with all posts at once, happy bday Irene, Jennifer, and Jenny! I'll see Jennifer in a couple weeks in her seminar. I didn't see the 1st or any Harry Potter's with Lisa's Gang, though I clearly remember seeing the 1st one the day after tgiving in the plaza (with a friend visiting for the weekend). My boss had me over yesterday to enjoy tgiving with his family.

I've experienced my 1st facebook friend death. An American I met in Haiti died yesterday. I followed the details on facebook (his wife's page). Weird. And people are leaving him goodbye messages on his page. I always wondered what becomes of someone's page after they die. Will it be on-line forever? Will facebook be around 50 yrs from now? Where do they (facebook) store all those photos? He wasn't even a close friend, was old and out of shape, had a heart attack, so I'm not surprised. But bummed out now none-the-less.

On a positive note, all the post labels to choose from crack me up.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Birthday Season

It is that time again, three of my favorite people have birthdays in the near future (or near past, depending on when you are reading this).
As always, they deserve individual birthday wishes, and, as always, I know I'll forget if I wait.
Happy Birthday Irene!
Happy Birthday Jennifer!
Happy Birthday Jenny!

(and belated wishes to Cheryl and Abby back in October)

Celebrate with vigor!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Hello Dear GBKD's friends

I hope you are all doing well. It seems like it from the posts I have seen. I haven't been posting much here, as there are some major changes in my life, and quite frankly, I didn't really know how to talk about them here. But it is important that I do, so that everyone knows. I am still not sure this is the correct way to do this, but it is the way I am choosing. Etiquette in the digital age is a bit tricky, isn't it. But you are all my friends and it is important that to me that I keep you in the loop.

The big change in my life is that I am in the process of getting a divorce. While the decision process has been long and hard, and there have been rough times and more ahead I know, this, in the end, is a good decision for me. I am happier than I have been in a long time.

I am staying with a colleague right now, but will be moving into a new place soon, which I am very excited about! When the details get worked out, I will let you know.

I have gotten involved with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)when I decided to take up archery as something fun to do. One of the best decisions I have made recently.

I am sorry that I have not sent each one of you a separate email or given individual phone calls, but truthfully, it is difficult to tell over and over again. Well, not difficult so much as tiring. This is why I decided to post this here.

I am thankful to count you all as my friends.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

NINE years ago

The first Harry Potter movie came out NINE years ago this week. I watched it that week with many of you (Beth, Jennifer, Debbie, Liz, Tim and maybe Irene, I believe).
It simultaneously seems that it can't be nine years ago-- I haven't changed that much, nine years can't have past-- and ridiculous to think it was only nine years ago and not a lifetime.
As Abby and Jenny pointed out back when book 7 was published, Harry Potter has felt like being part of something greater than us; that we are actually part of a cultural phenomena unlikely to be repeated.
I'm going to see the new movie next week and miss all of you.
I'll be sad next summer, and very excited.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jobs and yuckiness

Is it normal to feel depressed after submitting a gagillion job applications? I feel like I should be hopeful and optimistic, but I just feel weird and exposed. I even had the last manuscript from my dissertation accepted this week (with minor revisions...full disclosure). The one that was the biggest PITA* and took the longest to write. I should feel elated, right? Why does applying for jobs make me feel crappy?

*Is PITA a real acronym for pain in the arse? It should be.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Professional Women Scam

I received a scam in the postal mail! For the National Association of Professional Women. I was chosen to be a member, they even had a webpage for my profile. I looked up their webpage, then googled them and found many postings on this being a scam.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

No wonder they settled in PA

I've returned from Germany, sore throat, cold, and all! It was beautiful, and as the Mister said, easy to get around. The hills and trees were very much like those in PA. Check out the guy in Trier who snuck into our picture. Trier is on the Luxemburg border, oldest city in Germany. The other town I was in was Bad Durkheim, visiting the Hardenburg Castle. Other than that I hung out with my best friend at her house, learning what military family life was like. And sampling many wines. Oh - and she dropped me off in a hiking area that also had a wildpark: deer, swine, and old horse and cattle breeds.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You can be a seminar speaker!

If anybody is thinking of coming to see me in the spring, you should consider being a seminar speaker.
I'd love to bring a cnidarian, mollusc, bat, bee, general insect, evolution, cancer research or even a plant ecologist to campus.
Also, I received my "I voted" sticker so I am happy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Off on a aufregend adventure

For the first time I'm visiting a country alone that I have no chance of understanding the language - Germany! Everywhere else I've been with people who knew the language or I knew it enough to get by. I'm assuming the Frankfurt airport will have signs in English and I'll figure out how to get to the shuttle that will take me to see my best friend stationed there. But it might be a big adventure of not knowing what the heck to do. Exciting! I'll post an update when I get back.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dear Abby

Happy birthday to a very generous, caring, humorous friend and cnidarian biologist! Thinking of you with a smile today!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Student answers that make you go "hmmmm"

SS's tales of student answers never fail to make me laugh. Given that the school where I'm teaching is supposedly populated with "high functioning" students selected for their intellectual prowess (or whatever), I was curious as to what types of answers I would see. Here's one from the stats exam I am currently grading:

"I don't have the formula on my notecard, so here's a picture of a mommy elephant and her baby." And yes, there's a picture of a mommy elephant and her baby.

The hubby says I should give this student an A+.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reunions, Retreats, Conferences and Collaborations

'Tis the time to start thinking about next year (It's not too early, in fact, I may have already screwed up my two best conferences [see below]).

For many many reasons, I want to see more of you more often (I miss having in person friends. I figure the next best thing to having in person friends in town would be to be in the same town as dear friends).

Here are some potential opportunities [with my comments] (and my likelihood of being there).

Groundhog Party Weatherford, OK, early February (I will be there).

GBDK RETREAT (?) Weatherford, OK. Please come bake pies, knit and hang out. If we plan in advance, we could find cheap airfares here from Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City and probably Nebraska, Utah, Ohio and California (not so sure about PA, NY, TN and HI). I would love to have you. February? April?

GBDK Mini-Reunion Late March, Lawrence. (I'll be in Lawrence for the Society of Self Fellowship Meeting {ACK! I'll be President} SalSis might host something if we ask nicely).

Case Study Teaching Workshop May, Buffalo NY [I received an award from my previous institution to go this past May, but didn't as I was moving. Would like to go, don't know if I can get funding or time. There is also a shorter conference in September each year.]

Party Formerly Known as Wallystock North of Lawrence, KS Memorial Day Weekend [I'm in no way in charge, but this party has become a great tradition. K and T often come from Michigan and SalSis goes.] (I intend to be there.)

ABLE Conference New Mexico June {Association of Biology Laboratory Education} [my university is big into sending people to ABLE, which is apparently a small, very friendly conference of biology educators and is very useful. My dept. is sending a van loadful down to New Mexico] (I will probably be in Hawaii instead).

BOTANY 2011 St. Louis July 9-13 {Society for Economic Botany and Botanical Society of America} [Part of me is very excited to have all sorts of plant nerds together at once, part of me is sad that I can't go to my little SEB conference where I actually know people.] (I may be there, I may have just committed to doing high school teacher workshops in Weatherford then).

AP Bio Grading June 9-15 Kansas City [I've always wanted to do this with Beth and Jennifer. The pay is great for a week of intense work.] (I'll probably be in Hawaii and I've never applied).

ESA Austin, TX Aug. 7-12 (I did not like the ESA conference the one time I went, but good friends could change my mind) (We just missed the Ecology and Education summit. Drat.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gerber: A contest behind the contest!

So I entered Andrew in the Gerber baby cuteness contest. I did this because a woman here (out of the blue) said her neighbor's kid was a winner and Andrew was 'So cuuute,' and because a Friend in Kansas entered her adorable baby for August and I thought, 'Great! I enter for September and we're not competing against each other.'

I finally read the fine print today.

We're not competing for the MONTHLY prize (a HD video camera that WOULD be sweet to have!), but we ARE competing for the grand prize of a $25,000 college scholarship that would be stupendous to have and also a slot in a TV ad (of questionable value, though doubtless an interesting experience). Sorry Friend in Kansas.

The contest didn't really add up from the get-go, though. Whoever can rally the most votes from friends and family wins the prize. I never understood how this guaranteed Gerber the cutest little star for their ad. Nevertheless, I voted daily for the adorable baby of Friend in Kansas, hoping to win them a scholarship.

After reading the fine print, I feel scammed. Turns out my votes had nothing to do with the scholarship. Voting by friends and family only goes toward the (admittedly SWEET) monthly prize of a HD DVD camera. Buried in the fine print is a little bit about how a panel of Gerber personnel select the grand prize winner. I would be totally psyched if the winner were either my cute one or Friend in Kansas's adorable baby. With almost 15,000 submissions (and counting), though, I hardly feel like we're directly competing (even though our 2 are the cutest, of course!).

Anyway, if you're motivated to vote for us to receive the SWEET HD video camera, you can vote at:
You will need to register once. Each time you vote, they email you a link to click on to complete the vote. You can vote once per day for a given email address and for a given computer.

(Those of you on FB know how much I would LOVE a better video camera!!)

Friday, October 1, 2010


A four day weekend to visit Beth in Chicago in the middle of the semester seemed like a good idea back in August. Now that I am here it still seems like a good idea :), though it is a bit stressful with school work.

Anyway - will post pictures, if Beth can find the camera.


Friday, September 24, 2010

I made a student cry today

She was up at the board and I was having her draw out one of the graphs for exponential population growth rates (dN/dt vs N)… she had the picture right, but didn’t label the axes and couldn’t explain it correctly. I kept pushing her (and giving her BIG hints) until I noticed the tears welling up in her eyes…I think she was scared to be in front of the class and didn’t really know what was going on.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you if so?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A kick upside the head . . . and chest, and back and lots of other places

I tried to stop feeding Dianthus breastmilk as of Friday night (after a rough start last year, breastfeeding has gone very well. Since July we've been doing it just at night and first thing in the morning.)
Saturday was awful. Super-painful engorged boobs. Achey back. And crying constantly. Not because of anything in particular, but because well, because I felt like crying. I had heard of there being hormonal weirdness with weaning, but I was completely unprepared for the equivalent of the worst PMS ever to happen instantaneously.
Sunday I learned that maybe it wasn't just the weaning.
It turns out that things other than not breastfeeding cause PMS-like symptoms.
Oh, obvious solutions. How often we overlook you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Sorry for the lack of postings. My life is rather busy at the moment. Two new preps including ecology and application for tenure in 13 days (not that I'm counting).

So to help my procrastination while editing, compiling and making things look pretty, I'd like a better plan than Facebook. I seem to need to check that way too much these days.

Can I get some stress relief ideas and/or productivity enhancement ideas?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plant lovin' ignoramus with baby...

Hi botanical types. I like letting my son play with (= eat) plants and leaves sometimes while hiking. The thing is ... I don't know which plants are safe/toxic/deadly.

Ones I know are poisonous: Oleander, yew, rhododendron

Ones I *think* are safe (PLEASE let me know if I am wrong!): Willow (just a leaf), wild fennel (are there any bad types?), sycamore, cottonwood, oak, manzanita (tons of varieties -- anything that could cause problems?), grass (he's eaten quite a bit of this), maple trees

Ones I would like to know more about: Pepper trees, random ornamentals (do you know of a good pictoral guide on line?), any common poisonous plants I should be aware of.

Houseplants I believe are poisonous: philodendron, dumb cane, ficus (?). Anyone have a good source?

Thanks all!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dr Nerd?

I've been asked what I want on my new business cards.
Perhaps because I don't want to plan a chemistry lecture, I'm debating what should be written on it. "Plant M. Nerd, Ph.D." or "Dr. Plant M. Nerd"?
Thoughts or opinions?

Friday, August 20, 2010

NASA contacts?

The institution I'm now at is part of a Space Consortium and as such receives funds from NASA. Because the last institution I taught at received major* NASA funding, I carry a coffee mug with NASA and my old institution logos. Somehow the chair of another dept. here saw this and after discussing with me my old institution's grant (to do summer science camps, train teachers and encourage undergraduates to do real research), decided that I should definitely submit a proposal for upcoming funds (actually the short term proposal is for a very small award to go to a NASA site and discuss applying for a bigger award) because "with all of your contacts it should be easy."

Of course, I have no NASA contacts.

However, I did learn that one of the NASA areas of interest involves the kind of work I do (invasives, effects of climate change on communities . . .) so I think I would like to apply for one of these awards.

But I have absolutely no contacts. E-mail me via the plant nerd if you have specific contacts. Comment if you have any other good ideas.

*2.7 million for an undergraduate teaching institution with 1,300 students counts as major to me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Let me apologize for my hiatus from the blog - I'm sorry! - and make excuses for it some other time. I need to get to the heart of a critical matter.

I cannot grow basil. I would love to grow basil. I need help.

I can barely get the stuff to germinate from seed. I have purchased lovely, thriving, pricey clumps of mature plants, only to watch them wither within days. Most recently, I bought 8 little ice-cube-tray plants, each with 4 adult leaves, and divided them among three pots. They showed promise, but two days ago I lost one of the plants, and now several others are starting to get black tips on their leaves, which I know all too well will proliferate towards the petiole, signaling certain demise.

What am I doing wrong? I Googled this and read about how even an idiot can grow basil. Is there some voodoo I should know about? How much and what "flavor" of sun does it need? Watering regime? Something special about the soil or pot? My plants aren't big enough to remove the apical meristem; I figure height vs. bushiness is a luxury I can't afford right now.

All advice about growing basil and comments about me being a dumbass are welcome. Alternatively, I will accept suggestions about how to preserve basil (and hopefully not always in pesto form), should I need to resort to buying the $5-for-a-giant-box-is-the-only-thing-available-at-the-grocery-store stuff.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Texting in labs

Another start of the semester post - Do your workplaces have rules about cell phone use in working labs? We have a kid in the lab that seems to be constantly on his phone texting. So I think with our new hires this week we need to lay down a rule about no cell phone use in the lab - go outside to talk or text. But I always wimp out of disciplining students. Ack. Though I did fire one last Friday! The students don't seem to take the lab job seriously - it is a real job - work the hours you say you will work or we'll fire you as we did last week! It's been a month of transition with a key lab person gone, another person brought on by the higher ups and trying to figure his role in our work life, realizing I don't really know what goes on in the lab, wondering if past people slacked off, etc.

On a positive note I found great dog trainers for the rust-colored one (great code name eh?) and he's much better with visitors and not attacking people on walks! It was mainly my behavior that needed to be modified. I need them to come in here and train me to get after students.

It begins again

Good Luck to Sparkling Squirrel on her first day of classes at the new school!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Please Do Not Throw Paper Towels and Trash on the Floor"

I feel like such a fuddy-duddy, but I find myself thinking, "What has society come to when we need signs like that in a college women's bathroom*?"
*that, incidentally, has obvious trash cans right next to the paper towel dispensers

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm a Yankee now

No more Confederate flags. Yippee! We relocated to the lush and liberal (relatively speaking) Hudson Valley, a mere 90 miles from NYC.....and with a view of the Catskills out our front window. I'm very happy to be in a new (albeit still not tenure-track) position, and the hubby is very happy to be going to school (a Masters in Regional Planning/Geography with the goal of ridding the world of cars). A crazy, somewhat spontaneous move on our part, but the pieces are falling into place. Our house comes equipped with kayaks, so feel free to swing by for a little boating or hiking or blueberry picking near our rural digs.

I hope you are all well. Though I don't comment often, I do check the blog and wish you all well in your respective corners of the world!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Everything is OK!

So we've made it to Oklahoma, and, while it has been 96 degrees every day that we've been here, and we've had issues with our gas (solved), car (has appt. tomorrow) , dryer (one bit solved, but mostly not), drain (not solved), house in WV (mostly solved, but nowhere close to being sold) and have mountains of stuff still not dealt with, everything is okay*.

If you did not recently receive an e-mail telling you of my new contact information please e-mail me at my plant nerd hot mail address from your current e-mail, as it likely means you aren't in the right place in my contact list.

And make sure you add on to Jenny's book list below.

*I'm a little bit sad that the new license plates no longer say "Oklahoma is OK!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer reading list

I would love to hear about great books that you've read recently, or old favorites, that you recommend! I'm going to be traveling non stop for work in the upcoming weeks, and good reading material always makes traveling more pleasant.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New car thanks to Prairie Wanderer

I'm finally getting a new car, thanks to Prairie Wanderer (is that her code name? JMW) driving me around car lots in the pouring rain on Monday (in lieu of kayaking). I needed that push to get me looking. And found one if it checks out with the mechanic - a 2009 Dodge Caliber wagon. Sally must hate it - I tested out the dogs in it and she darted out and ran away. She came back after a 20 minute jaunt.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Moving Issues?

As readers of my blog know, our stuff is stuck somewhere between our house in WV (where it was loaded June 25) and our house in OK (where it was scheduled to be unloaded July 1-3 and is now scheduled to be unloaded July 13-15).
Besides being really really pissed off about the communication issues (did our booking agent really not know there were no trucks? Neither the little WV company who loaded the stuff nor the national company in charge of hauling it thought to tell us that it wasn't coming until we called them on June 30 to see if we should expect it the next day) and feeling deceived (we went with this company because others couldn't get trucks) and without the appropriate stuff for the vacation I am leaving for, I am wondering how common issues like this are.
I don't think a moving company can stay in business if they regularly keep things what is estimated (by them and all on-line parties) to be 7-9 days (for a two day drive) 20 days-- but maybe they do.
Any experiences?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Know any unemployed genetics profs?

We have found out that our Molecular Geneticist is leaving us and we are turning over everystone to replace her before the fall semester starts.

Here's the ad. If you know of someone who might be interested, please let them know.


The Department of Biology at William Jewell College seeks applicants for a Visiting Assistant Professor (non-tenure-track) for a one-year appointment to begin August 2010. Teaching responsibilities will include classes and laboratories in the areas of genetics, cell & molecular biology, microbiology and an honors course in protein structure and function. College teaching experience is desirable, and a commitment to excellence in teaching is expected. A Ph.D. in the biological sciences is preferred, but ABD applicants will be considered. The Department will conduct a search for a person to fill a tenure-track position to begin August 2011. The person who is hired for the Visiting Assistant Professor position will be welcome to apply for the tenure-track position. Further details on the position and application details can be found on the employment link on our website (

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


How many of us have been to high school reunions?

My 20th is in a few weeks (and I will be moving to Oklahoma rather than attending it) and I'm oddly sad about not going, although I think that going would definitely depress me. I'm in contact with two of my three best high school friends, and will be seeing both in July, the requited-but-timing-never-worked love of high school, who I will also see in July, and my wonderful gay high school ex., who is in Turkey. So I have really no idea who I think I'm missing by not going.

The first night of my tenth was enjoyable, if unexciting (I was a big time people watcher in a class of 800. At the reunion, I saw people and knew lots of stories about them, but they didn't know me, and I didn't have anyone to share stories with). I broke my ankle and didn't attend the main night (and thus missed the big confrontation with my ex best friend).

What are other knitters' reunion experiences and thoughts?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Cathy and Misters

Happy Birthday Cathy!
Happy Birthday soon to the Mister's of TT and Erin.

Hope everyone is celebrating well.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tropical Agriculture workshop

I just realized today I should have posted to the knitting group (many of whom are into plants) that I attended a tropical agriculture workshop in Florida a couple weeks ago. It was so cool. The place is called ECHO and they do the research on what works best so that the people working in developing countries can apply the techniques rather than trying to figure it out themselves through trial and error. It's making me a better home gardener too! Here's the post on my blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giving up on push reel

After 8 years in my house I'm giving up on my push reel mower. I'm just not strong enough and still have to be careful with my computer-induced tendonitous. It just wasn't a good match. I put off mowing plus like the grass long and then it gets to be too much for the reel mower. So I'd end up weed-wacking the whole thing. Only my front yard. The dogs did in the back yard, but there are patches of jungle back there. I'll post a picture! Anyone have suggestions for gas powered mowers?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthday knitting moms!

Happy Birthday Sparkling Squirrel and Flamboyant Tallness!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Slimy Petals

On the 101 final, I ask for examples of defenses of the eaten ("physical defense in animal" "chemical defense in plant" and so forth) and a specific organism that displays that adapation. "Plants" "leaves" and "some trees" are all specific examples of plants.
One chemical defense of a plant is to squirt ink at attackers. Corals do this. Another is to have slimy petals. Mushrooms are the specific example of plants that has slimey petals.
I've also learned that arctic ermine can use their speed and superior fighting skills to take down polar bears. And we can help global warming by car pulling and food decreasion by not littering.
I actually am a good teacher, I swear.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Celebrations

Later this week, Max turns 1 months, Beth turns a year older (in a new house) and Irene will celebrate her 5th anniversary.
Earlier this month, Annika turned two! Two! Wowee. Zoe and Zacha turned half.
Sometime this month, Cheryl celebrated(s) her anniversary (in the same state as her husband??)
Felicitations to all.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Women in science blog

Found this great blog about women in science and want to read read read! (it might have been mentioned before). I made it a followed blog so we can get to it from our dashboard. Don't miss Beth's plant question below.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Botany question: Magnolia and Hostas

So we'd like to take a cutting of our awesome 45 year magnolia tree with us to our new house. Is that possible? And if so how?

Similar question on the hostas - how can I transplant some of them without destroying the whole "plant". We have rather large hostas which seem to be an heirloom variety or at least they look different than any ones I've seen for sale.

Also, with the house situation it looks like we might might be getting into our new place for my birthday! Which would be AWESOME as I have movers scheduled for the day after. It's been a bit of a fiasco - I'll fill in the details once I'm sure that this is all really happening. We've been renting our former house since the 2nd which is odd. But the new one (new to us, it's almost 100 years old) may be ours in about a week. :-)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

6.8 Billion is reassuring

Despite the recent spate of babies among GBKs (and Norlosers, as it happens), global population is slowing down.
6,814,579,631 this morning
6,774,798,449 April 22 last year
6,663,013,026 April 22 2008
So, while one might think that adding almost 40 million people to the planet in a year* is despressing, it is truly making me giddy when I compare it to the 111.7 million that were added the year before.

*Actually 51 weeks. I am apparently doing this a week earlier. The 40 million new people are still more than 20 times the population of my state.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Not quite what I thought I signed up for

The short version just doesn't express the overall ridiculousness and fatigue involved in the situation.
Many books have gone missing from my 101 class.
The book store noticed that the same student sold back 4 books recently.
3 more books went missing in the middle of lab Thursday.
My lab instructor wants me to do something.
I have a student e-mailing me from the hospital where her grandmother is being tranferred and trying to find out how she can borrow a book since the woman she lent hers to apparently disappeared with it.
I have a student crying in my office about the state of her marriage.
I actually confront a student in the bathroom, search her book bag (she has only one book in it) and, in a scene straight from a bad movie, actually check the tampon disposals for books after she leaves.*
The rest of the lab is pissed off that I didn't nail her.
The campus security chief spontaneously contacts me. He somehow knows about book problems, but no student has come forth claiming his or her book has been stolen, so he has no victim, thus no crime and no investigation.
Two students who had given up their books as permanently loaned suddenly had them returned on Friday, although the actual books were not theirs.
I was sent a nasty e-mails for confronting a student in the bathroom when I knew she was going through a divorce.
I'm afraid the women's softball team is going to hurt the student "returning" of of their books to somebody else
I was sent a nice e-mail apologizing for the nasty e-mail when I was only trying to help.

That still doesn't convey all the ridiculousness.

*I was going to change the gender of the alleged thief, for the sake of anonymity, but that would make the bathroom scene actually more ridiculous that it actually was.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Soylent Green Is Peeps!

Peeps diorama contest. Reminds me of the gingerbread house scenes. Or at least the ones some of us tried to make.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Week ones get ait first"

Natural selection, according to one of my (very good conceptually, not so good with writing) students. One of those weak ones getting eaten in my 101 class, upset that he did poorly on a second exam, told me, "I studied my butt off for that one. I studied an hour and a half."
I'm not sure he appreciated it when I laughed at him, but I had to.
Next year I'll be with different students in a different state where I can at least fantasize nobody will get ait.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Madness and Happiness

M and I would be really depressed over KU's loss last weekend if we hadn't had the pleasant distraction of welcoming our new son, Max, into the world. He was born March 20 on the Spring Equinox at 12:34am. We had a really amazing labor and delivery experience and are happy to be home now getting to know each other. I hope you all can meet Max some time soon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving advice

First of, we're going to be moving since our house sold and we have an accepted offer in on another. Pictures forthcoming once the appraisal goes through on the new place. But it's 3600 sq ft, a third of an acre yard and .4 miles from the train to the city and the U of C and built in 1913. 4 beds, 2.5 baths (with a BIG master suite).

So we're going to be moving in about a month and we're having a debate about whether we should get another storage locker. We have one which is full already. The storage locker is about 10 minutes from our new house and is open from 6 am - 10 pm 7 days a week. The locker is about 35 minutes from our current house.

We've decided to pack ourselves but will be hiring someone to help with the heavy lifting of furniture. We're going to have about a week (one weekend) to get our stuff out of our current house which we'll be renting from our buyers for a month. My birthday present is going to be a new house.

Thoughts? Advice?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Super long update on the life and times of Abby

Okay, so I have been terrible about keeping in touch lately. Some of that is my fault, some of that is the craziness that never seems to settle down in my life. In any case, I thought I would do a mini update here so I can inform a bunch of people I care about as to what’s been happening in one go.

1. This is a weird thing to say and I haven’t said it because I haven’t figured out how to word it…but I’ll just say it. Since returning from Japan I have made it a priority to live my life healthier, i.e. eat better, exercise regularly, and most of all lose weight. I have been pretty successful on all fronts. Those that have seen me recently (Jenny and Beth) can attest to that fact. I’m not sure of the exact number but I have lost something like 80 pounds over the course of a year and some change. I kept thinking that I would just post a picture of me but it turns out I still don’t like pictures of me so that won’t be happening. I could still stand to lose like 20 more or so, but at least I’m in a much healthier place now. I have much greater stamina, sleep better, and just generally feel better about myself so it’s been a good thing.

2. I did not go to N. Ireland all that time back, but I will be going to South Korea this summer. I decided to take advantage of the program I applied for to go to Japan and try Korea (and Singapore) this time. I’ve been accepted to the Korea program so I will be there for at least 8 weeks this summer (and probably longer to travel). I’m trying to decide if I want to make a quick trip to Japan, maybe see my lovely host family again (the kids are getting so big!) or see a part of Japan I didn’t see before, but this will mostly depend on whether my parents decide to come visit Korea at the end of my time there. We’ll see. I think I am going to revive my jellyfish and hanabi blog (I wonder if I can change it to include a Korean word?). I found that the easiest way to post, though I will probably still do pictures through facebook as that is way easier to upload (I never did upload pictures from Kanazawa did I – need to do that).

3. All of this is good but I have had one sort of bad thing happen this year. It’s nothing terrible, just frustrating. Basically, my right ovary has decided to go a little crazy. It started developing functional cysts which, while annoying and can be painful occasionally, are not generally a problem and do go away. In the midst of monitoring these buggers, my doctor discovered that I had grown another kind of cyst, a dermoid cyst. These are the really weird and kinda gross ones (the ones that have teeth and hair – both of which mine apparently had). The thing grew quite big (7 + cm) very fast (in less than 2 months) and these things have to be surgically removed. So just last week, my mom came to stay with me and I had surgery to remove this thing. Turns out it was in the nick of time – there were actually 2 cysts, not one, they were wrapped around my ovary rather than being to one side of it drastically increasing the amount of time it took to remove them, and the larger one was starting to rupture. Which is probably why I was periodically having pain with it. In any case, I’m very glad I didn’t wait any longer to take care of it because a ruptured cyst sounds terrible to deal with. I’ve been recovering nicely with little pain(this hurts way less than my ankle when I had surgery on it) more just general soreness. Really the only problem I’m really having is some tenderness with my scars (which inhibits the wearing of some of my pants). But all in all, pretty minor. Hopefully that right ovary will settle down now and behave itself.

So that is the very long update on how I have been doing. I’ll try to be better about responding because I would really hate to lose touch with you all. I hope you all are doing well!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Conversation Biology

I taught a class in it, according to my CV that has already been distributed.
Good thing that brains of search committee members probably work like yours (and mine and my proof-readers') and automatically changes it to the intended "conservation biology".

I'd be pretty good at the conversation biology class, though.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meaning in airline tickets

Does anyone else struggle with purchasing airline tickets and the meaning behind each flight segment? I am going to a conference in FL and will visit an uncle I haven't seen in > 20yrs. Should I get there as early as possible to spend more time with him? If I get there that evening instead what does that convey - I want to spend less time (because it is $100 cheaper)? Now that I write this out it sounds silly, but I just spent 45 minutes agonizing about which flight segments to choose and what it means.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm finally home!

Hi Everyone!

Thought I would spread the good news...I am officially done with all of my lab work, so I don't have to be in Lawrence anymore. Got home yesterday and was greeted by a very happy husband, and lots of things starting to grow in the yard. Crocus are blooming - spring has sprung! All is well. Now, we are off to vacation with my cousins in Savannah and Charleston for a few days.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chances to see me

Three upcoming chances to see me:

1) I will be in Lawrence for the Society of Self Fellows meetings on March 22. I should buy a ticket this today, but generally plan to be there Sat-Tues and will have Dianthus with me.

2) I won a big (for here) faculty development award that includes going to the Center for Case Study Teaching in Science's annual workshop in Buffalo in May. I'd love to hang out with a friend while learning to better teach with case studies.*

3) The Mister, Dianthus and I are going to see family in Colorado and Kansas this summer, so we may be in your part of the world in June or July.

While I've already registered, won the funding and intend to go, this is partially contigent upon the failure of some recent travels I've been doing. Talk to me "off-line" ("off-blog"?) if you think you might be going.

Anybody going to be around?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Birthdays

Since I just missed Molly's birthday, (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOLLY!), I'll post about SalSis's birthday a little early (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAL SIS!).

We all wish you both the best and hope you celebrate fully, whether early or late.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sexual Selection book?

I need advice on a book. I'm planning on proposing a course for the Fall (yes I am crazy) on sexual selection and evolution. My current book choices are Olivia Judson's Dr. Tatiana's sex advice for all creation and most likely Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. I've been stuggling on what my other "reference" book should be for the course. These will all be non-majors and I'll be supplementing everything with some primary literature.

So - thoughts. I have Zuk's sexual selection book but haven't read it yet - although it's on my list for tonight.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Best Plant Ecology Topic?

If you were to teach a single class period on plant ecology (to bio majors who have had an ecology class but not a plant ecology class) in which you wanted to demonstrate both how very cool plant ecology is and what a great teacher you are, what would you teach?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Knitting help

I have a knitting problem I need some help with. I'm knitting a baby sweater in the round and it's curling up at the bottom as I knit it and not laying flat. Is this something that I can fix when I block it or will it continue to do this after I'm finished? This is the pattern I'm using. The bottom cuff is garter stitch, and then it is a cable pattern after that. It seems to start curling at the transition between patterns. I'm following the pattern exactly but am using a 100% wool yarn instead of a wool/alpaca/rayon blend. Does anyone have any advice? I don't want to go much further if it's going to turn into a half-shirt instead of a sweater. Thanks knitters!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Birthday TT and Erin!

Two of our esteemed members are celebrating their birthdays this week. Hopefully their parasites (one endo, one ecto) don't prevent them from having a lovely celebration and a great year.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I have returned! & Baby Smitty is here.

Hi - I'm back from Haiti. I hadn't been keeping up with the knitting blog while I was there. But I see that SpSq posted my blog address. & I just saw all the posts you guys made within hours of the quake. Thanks for thinking of me, and thanks for keeping everyone updated Beth & Sp. Sq. Facebook turned out to be a very good thing. And now it's hard to get back into work after all that.

Here's news about the latest knitting baby - you can see photos on her facebook.
Let’s all welcome (insert name) weighing in at 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 19 ¼ inches, born Friday morning. Mom and baby are doing well and are expecting to go home today (Monday). Mom is very tired and sore since she did have to have a c-section but you can’t hold this pair back for very long.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

SalSis Returns

You can read about her adventures with special missionary flights over on her blog, but I'd thought you'd all like to know that SalSis is back safely in Kansas.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Belated: Zoey's Appearance

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've visited GBKD but have enjoyed getting caught-up. It sounds like everyone is doing well and keeping busy, and certainly many of us are working diligently on our F1 generations!

Zoey was born on October 1 and has been doing very, very well with nothing I can really complain about. She's thriving and has been an absolute joy to observe, since each day there is some new development. She's almost 4 months old; some of the difficulties of having a newborn seem like ancient history, not to mention how long ago it seemed that I was pregnant. Was there actually ever a time BEFORE that?

Today I started a blog on which I want to share our adventures with Zoey. I just have a single short post for now, but I plan to add to it often.

Finally, here's a recent photo:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

From Good Housekeeping

My mom sent this to me and I had to share the amusement!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Student e-mail of the day

Sent to one of my colleagues about lab* for my class: "Hi! I will not be attending class today. I will do the work in my dorm room. If we cover any thing in class today can you please write me back and let me know. I will be there next week!!"

There was not a subject line.
*It's a double lab because last week was interrupted because of a water line break.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finally saw Avatar

We finally went and saw Avatar in 3D, and I definitely recommend it. This article waxes lyrical about the coolness of the biology in the movie, and the biologist (a plant biologist no less!) who is one of the important characters. Careful though, there's a spoiler at the end of the article.

Who else has seen it? Did you like the world's biology?

(BTW, Beth, I remembered to click through Cinekin to buy tickets via Fandango :-) )

Friday, January 15, 2010

Contact Hours

For those of you teaching, how many contact hours per week do you have? How many office hours are required? Just curious...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Slug

So the "part animal, part plant headline" is a bit misleading, but boy is this cool.
Photosynthetic slugs (not from symbiosis) are knocking out Tasmanian Devil tumors as a new species as the hot topic of conversation around here. For one semester only we have four biologists in our office suite and the biological chemistry is great (probably helps that I hired all the other three in part because they fit in well)-- one biochemist/microbiologist, one invertebrate/cell physiologist, one wildlife ecologist/ornithologist and me. It's way cool. We actually discuss tumors and slugs . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Where is Sally's Sister?

I just read about the earthquake in Haiti. Does anyone know if Sally's Sister is still there? Is she okay?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Amuse me while I pump

So I'm back at work (survived my 8, 9 + 10 am classes) and am pumping. The thing I can do easily while pumping is clicking and screen reading.
So it is your job to post something for me to read and smile about.
Today's topic: Office supplies that make you smile.

I'm enamoured by new pens. Gel pens in particular.
I also now have an enviable set of color sharpies, but black is still the best.
How about you?

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I made it to my final destination in Haiti, and am having fun learning Creole by immersion. I posted my trip in the capital on my zwazoyo.blogspot blog. It was around 75 and overcast today, damp so it feels chiller than it is, probably 60 now, glad I brought a sweatshirt and fleece jacket. I saw that Lawrence has a low of -15 tomorrow, so I can't complain! Tomorrow I start working with the guy that I teach birding. Orevwa!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2010!