Friday, January 28, 2011


Last semester, my classes and students on average pretty much sucked the life out of me, and definitely reduced my enthusiasm for teaching.

But this semester, my upper level Ecology class - they are AWESOME! All of them. Even the weakest student in there is good. They are infusing me with new enthusiasm. It's a nice change. I hope that I am up to the challenge!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Style Mentors?

Do you have any role models 0n workday style?
Who are they?
What do they look like?
What do you wear to work?
I realize that I have lots of ideas of what I don't want to look like as I develop professionally, but I'm not sure I have any ideas of who I do want to look like.
At my last job I worked with a woman who has the sense of style I always thought I would acquire when I grew up and bought new clothes-- she wears unstructured jackets and raw silk jumpers and loose clothes of purple or green patches purchased from fair trade booths. She wears no make-up, her hair is still long in her forties, and her comfortable shoes rarely coordinate with her outfits (her style somewhat like JD at KBS). It works, but it's not me at work.
In my department here, I've got two short foreign women who end up looking like they don't care, even though I think that both do, a woman who looks great at fifty but wears nylons and sensible heels every day and lots of coordinating synthetic skirt outfits, none of which I am about to do. There's a professor who dresses more like I do, but to the point that I can't tell if she has any style either.
Thinking of the women at KU, well, Maria has distinct style, but it is nothing that I am going to emulate. HA sometimes has a look that I want to avoid-- the little practical scientist lady. Actually, my size (and my smile and my penchant for large necklaces and my unwillingness to cut my hair) make me unable to pull of a "very basic clean and well groomed science lady" look.
So who do I look to?
(Barbara McClintock, pictured, seemed to always be photographed in a blue sweater with a white collar. I don't have the personality to so limit myself. Perhaps that is one reason why I will never win a Nobel Prize.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do NAPW members attend fake conferences?

I've been receiving invitations to conferences that I suspected were fake. Wonder if the professional women attend them?

This website explains the conferences. Wonder if an 'attendee' will post here and say how wonderful it was.

Plant tax job in KS!

Brief version of the announcement. Find details at:

PLANT TAXONOMIST - Department of Biological Sciences at Fort Hays State University

Position Description: Full time 9-month tenure-track biologist with specialization in plant or fungal taxonomy. Appointment date: August 2011.

Responsibilities: This position will require teaching Plant Taxonomy to Biology majors, and other related courses (potentially Mycology), based on qualifications of the successful applicant and departmental needs. The successful applicant also will teach introductory biology courses for majors or nonmajors, General Education courses, and introductory biology labs for majors.... Experience with herbarium curation is desirable; the successful applicant is expected to curate plant teaching collections and has the potential to curate the Elam Bartholomew Herbarium at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

Qualifications: Minimal qualifications include an earned Ph.D. in biology, botany, or an appropriate subdiscipline (ABD will be considered for well-qualified applicants)....

PS love the lab video.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bad Project

So if you've somehow missed this being passed around... (credit to Abby for posting it on Facebook!), you NEED to see it.

This is pretty much what my job looks like, especially the Western Blot part (but without the trying to get a degree part).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Euphemism of the day: Pelvic Rest

If you were told that you should adhere to "pelvic rest", at least until the bleeding completely stops, what would it mean to you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grumble, grouch, grrr

Ok maybe I am just a big meanie, but I am really tired of my colleagues bringing their kids to work because of snow days and then just letting them run up and down the halls.

I am actually trying to work here. Really, I am. I understand your predicament, but keep em under control please!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Missing Knitting

Hi -- I still exist -- Nice to lurk and feel almost like I'm at knitting in a room with you all. I'll post more later. I promise!

Off to a great start

We discussed major groups of biological molecules today. We had an in-class (ask all the questions you want) "quiz" that asked students to report a favorite breakfast and "name a carbohydrate (chemical, not the food) found in this breakfast."
How many named food items?
How many wrote "lipids" "proteins" or "nucleic acids"?
Okay, so it's not that many. 3 wrote food items (including 2, eggs and bacon, that have almost no carbs,) 5 wrote the names of the other groups of molecules, and one wrote "nitrogen." That means of attendees, 86% wrote "sucrose", "starch", "lactose" or something else that made sense.
While it angers me (although it doesn't surprise me) that I have three students blatently not reading the question, it's the "nucleic acid" or "lipids" part that really bothers me.
These are students who, in the immediately proceeding 40 minutes, just learned (strike that, use "heard"), "there are four types of biological molecules," "these types are 1) carbohydrates, 2) lipids . . . .," "we're going to talk about examples, functions and special properties of each group. Let's start with carbohydrates."
It could be just a basic not paying attention problem. But I see this often enough that I'm really beginning to worry about the level at which logic breaks down. There are (seemingly intelligent) college students who, if told "there are three states in our region," would think "Texas" is a logical answer to "Name a city in Oklahoma"*.
These are the same students who fail to understand that something can simulataneously be an insect, an animal and a eukaryote.
How does one teach that level of logic to adults?

*Bad example if there happens to be a Texas, Oklahoma, but I don't think there is.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How good am I?

So, my institution awards money to faculty to pay them to write grants over the summer. By the program's guidelines, I'd be top priority if I applied and, assuming I had a generally good proposal, would likely receive the money.
The internal proposals are due Friday. I have good ideas, but nothing written. The internal proposal involves things like the budget and timeline of the external proposal (ugh! Isn't that what they are giving us money to take the time to figure out?). It would be good to receive some summer salary and it would be good to have a some external motivation getting me applying and writing over the summer.
If I feel in May (we're done May 4) like I felt in May with Dianthus, I would like doing some research.
But . . . . I've felt incredibly crappy recently. I was really afraid that I was going to fall asleep at 6:30 yesterday and the Mister would return from his evening class to find Dianthus fallen in a giant heap of tupperware and me incapably zonked out a few feet away. So yesterday I projected this feeling forward and realized that there was no way I could finish the thing (given that I have labs Tues. + Wed. and a Dr. appointment that involves three hours of driving on Thursday) by Friday, much less want to work on the actual grant come May.
But . . . today I am feeling good and think that surely I could put something together.
But . . . I just realized that is also involves a two-page CV and I don't have a current two-pager. That alone could take up too much time.

So . . . I'm writing you instead.
Do I go for it?
And, reminder, every time you update your complete CV, update your short version as well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wicked Cool Plants

So I started putting out the "wicked cool plant of the week" on the bulletin board outside my office. Last semester I actually managed to almost have a wicked cool plant each week. But now I have used them all up and am looking for new ideas for this Spring semester. And since my colleague Paul has upped the ante by putting out the "wicked cool insect of the week" (can't believe he just stole my idea, pffft), I am feeling the pressure to outdo him.


Rutherford Robinia. . .

has a beating heart, plenty of amniotic fluid and measures 11 weeks 1 day, which, given that he/she is 11 weeks and 1 day old, are all good things.
It turns out that I have a subchorionic hemorrhage which did cause significant bleeding and could very well cause more bleeding.
Many women have these issues and continue to have healthy babies. In others it can lead to further complications. There is nothing anyone can do to ensure that one is in the former group, but for now I am extremely reassured that the baby is still intact in there and seems unfazed (doing flips all over the place and playing jump rope with the umbilical cord) by what was certainly scary and uncomfortable for me.
Thanks for all your good wishes, hugs and prayers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Perhaps I posted too soon

I bled all night and am going to the doctor as soon as Jeff passes out his syllabi.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

News Little and Big

A) Classes here start Jan. 5 (12 hours from now) and I don't have an eight o'clock class (for the first time since I've started teaching) and I just moved to an office with windows. I may still be in the basement, but I have glare on my computer screen now. I am so excited.
B) If all goes well, Dianthus will have a sibling for his second birthday.
I'm telling my boss tomorrow, about which I am a little freaked out, so thought I should tell my friends first. From my limited sample size, I am concluding that queasiness and gross feelings are much worse the second (well, third) time around, which is allegedly not the norm.
Anyway, happy new year to all of you!
Check out Jennifer's new blog (linked below) and don't spurn me just because I'm not on facebook.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Blog Address

Hope you are all having a fabulous New Year's Weekend. I just wanted to let you know that I have moved my personal blog to, so that it will be on the same account with my facebook.