Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I was sitting on my new deck last night, drinking a beer. Luckily it was nice enough that I could, because I have been thinking about doing just that from the moment I saw the deck. Anyway, the sunset was awesome from the deck and I took a picture!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Adam and I closed on our house today! We own a house! Holy crap we need to pack!! Moving in four days! Puppy is going to have so much fun in the backyard. We got her a fence!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

happy holidays

My cousin was in the Joffrey Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker in Chicago and I was lucky enough to see it on Friday. It was absolutely fantastic. We then went to Custom House for dinner, a very fancy restaurant on Dearborn and Congress in downtown Chicago. The dinner was amazing (especially the gnocchi in a mushroom sauce, oh my goodness, it was melt in your mouth amazing). It was great fun with a few of my aunts and uncles and my mom. My cousin wanted to hear stories from my mom about how her father was bad when he was her age, so lots of funny stories were told. Then, my mom and I and one of my uncles had to leave to catch the train. My uncle set a bag on the table. We were then saying our good byes and thank yous and my cousin then yelled, "your bag's on fire!" My mom was speedy and grabbed a napkin and put out the fire, the waiter used a water at the table to put out the ashes, and the rest of us stood there dumbstruck. The waiter then relit the candle, so I had to ask, "Are you sure you want to do that while we're still here?"
You can dress us up, but you can't take us anywhere!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


today was the graduation ceremony. the other two times i graduated (high school and undergrad), i was done. i got my diploma right away and did not have to worry about anything else. graduating being not finished really makes graduation day not mean as much. it was neat because the three of us who started in the lab together that are still there walked together. my boss was busy hooding more than anyone else. and her husband loves taking pictures, so lots of photos were taken. so, now i'm back to writing. i need to have most everything written by jan 2 so that when we move on jan 3 i'm not flipping out. formatting pass jan 6. then i'll have two weeks to prepare my presentation and finish up the rest of the experiments that i need to do. rah rah rah!
when i'm done with this, i'm going to buy myself a massage.

Friday, December 19, 2008

winter blows

well, the formatting person was out sick today, and there was a note on her desk to let me know, but the door was locked so that i could not see the note on her desk. reason 1 why winter blows, illnesses.
the ice storm that came through last night. while it was warm enough to melt everything here today, it was not warm enough to melt anything where the parental units are. which means they cannot come to graduation on sunday. which makes me somewhat sad. my aunt was hoping to come and is not going to either. it's much more important for them to be safe, and adam is here to come to graduation. Not to mention, I'm not done yet, so walking doesn't mean quite as much. So, I will tape graduation and show it to them when I go back next week. reason 2 why winter blows, having to cancel travel plans.


i'm currently sitting outside the office of the thesis formatting person. her door is locked, she's not answering her phone, and our meeting was supposed to start 11 minutes ago. I am annoyed. I've been busting my ass all week, my house is a pigsty, and she's not here. ROAR.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

why did i go to work today?

I'm writing my thesis. My first formatting appointment is tomorrow. I'm a bit of a mess. I'm not saying that it's an excuse, but it at least explains my behavior earlier.

To make a long story short, I made someone cry earlier today. I've never made someone cry before. I suppose you are bound to have firsts all your life. Not just first steps, first words, first car, but also first day you make someone cry...

What's really amazing is she cried to her boss. Who called my boss. Who called me and told me to apologize. And I did apologize, before the crying. And I was over it, it was done, I have more important stuff to do and worry about. But then I find out I made her cry and I had to apologize again. Which I did. But I really think the entire experience was competely ridiculous, and has wasted basically my entire evening, which I should have spent writing, and I haven't.

And, telling someone "don't get all antsy" more than once, especially someone with red hair, you're just asking for anger. Hello red headed fury. It's not like my fury is hidden, I wear it on my head all day long. And I have for 27 years. There's a reason there is a saying called red headed fury, and it's not because we make fairies sprinkle fairy dust on a land of ooey gooey gumdrops to make sunflowers and daisies grow giant sparkley flowers. Nope, not where the term red headed fury came from.

What started out as a stupid argument that lasted less than 5 minutes has turned into over an hour of me being baffled. But, now I can get back to writing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

another shoe

I cannot seem to help myself, but it turns out that my inspiration is shoes. A little distraction at looking at a shoe, and then I can get back to writing thesis. So, today's favorite shoe:

Jessica Simpson Delia in Pine Tree at $54.99. has it in Carbon for $49.99, but my being obsessed with colorful shoes means I love it in green.

And this will be the second shoe I've posted and not purchased, and I'm becoming more okay with this. I just like looking at a beautiful shoe. The Leve I did not purchase because not in my size, The Delia I will not purchase because I will be mad at myself if I spend that much on a shoe. If it was $30 it would be much more difficult to resist.

I am so excited for the day that I live in the same town as a DSW. Closing in two weeks! DSW here I come!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have my first formatting appointment on Friday, which means I need to finish Chapter one by Thursday night. Yippee. Luckily, that means I'm spending lots of time at home surrounded by papers and less time in the lab. And less time in the lab means I did not feel like I needed to stay at work during all this snow, and I just drove home. Safely. But, what annoys the crap out of me, and has for years: snow = instant idiots all over the road. It is truly amazing. If you are that worried about driving in the snow, don't do it. Or get a vehicle with four-wheel drive. The idiot drivers I'm sure cause more accidents than the snow or ice on the road does. Drive straight, leave plenty of room, and go very slow when you turn. So not that hard. And stopping in the middle of the road to turn left because the left turn lane is full of snow is a BAD idea. Stopping in the middle of the road when it's 70 and sunny is a bad idea because people can't stop, but mix ice and snow in and you'r just asking to get rear ended. ROAR. Okay, I'm going back to writing

Monday, December 15, 2008

compliment #2

Adam went to a work party over the weekend. I did not go with him because of the illness recovery and not wanting to ruin all my hard work of sleeping and not writing for three days. When asked where I was, Adam told everyone that I was still sick. The girlfriend of one of Adam's coworkers then told everyone they have to meet me because I have the best hair!
That makes me happy. When I was younger little old ladies would tell me how much they loved my hair, but it doesn't happen anymore. I miss that. But thanks, Melissa!

Thesis writing has made me feel a little bit like I'm in the Pit of Despair and hooked up to The Machine that sucks the life out of you, and I'm going to make that hair compliment be my chocolate covered miracle from Miracle Max.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

a well needed break...

I have been hard at work on chapter 1 of my thesis today (aka, a review of the literature). After 6 hours, I have not gotten nearly as much done as I had hoped, and I am exhausted. This is the first day I've had coffee since Tuesday, and can I just say, OH SO delicious. I forced myself to drink tea to help get over the illness, and now that it is mostly gone, bring on the coffee!

I am currently surrounded by papers and binders, on the table, on the floor. There is a slight method to the madness, but the method keeps getting mixed up. I have three or four piles of mice deficient in different proteins, drug treated mice, cells deficient in proteins, 5 different diseases. This means about 10 piles. And I keep coming up with more needs for piles.

And when I don't know what else to say or I can't find a paper I'm looking for, I start to play with my hair. I found out today that my hair is long enough to be in a side ponytail. If I wanted to dress 80s, I could. Not after Friday when I'm getting my haircut (thank goodness), but now, bring on the 80s.

Friday, December 12, 2008

sick thesis writing

I'm sick. My head feels like it's either going to implode or explode, and I'm not quite sure yet which one. The illness is in my ears and therefore I am dizzy all the time. It's not pleasant. At least it's not as bad as the drunk-need-one-foot-on-the-floor-dizzy. But since I'm at home, this would be perfect thesis writing time. Except that I cannot seem to stay awake. And thesis writing puts me to sleep when my head is normal.

But, found out about a neat website yesterday:
You can paste any text in and it turns that text into a picture and words used the most are the biggest, second most second biggest, etc. So I pasted Chapter 1 of my thesis in the website as is, and it gave me the perspective of what I haven't talked about enough yet. When chapter 1 is done, I'll wordle it again and paste it on here.

You see, I was a little bit productive!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


A friend of mine from undergrad is now in graduate school, working on her master's. She worked a few years between undergrad and grad school, and so I have a few years head start on this wonderful experience. She's having a hard time right now, and asked me about it today. I did my best to help her feel better, and her response:
as for the research stuff, you always make me feel so much better!! if ever i need a pick-me-up i just need to talk to you!! i'm so jealous of the people that get to work with you. thanks!
She is too cute, and made me feel so good, I just had to share!

And I need to feel good today, because I feel like crap. And this illness is in my ears and it's making me really dizzy.

I turned into....

I realized years ago that I have turned into both my mother and my father. Yesterday, I realized I have turned into my PI (principle investigator, aka boss).
I'm slightly frightened by this but also entertained.
I was talking to the person taking over my project about her future directions, today is group meeting and she needs to let our PI know her future directions. So, I was giving her a list. I eventually had to tell her to just walk away from me because I would just keep coming up with things for her do to. Anyway, she has been having a little trouble with some cloning that I talked to her about a month ago and haven't thought about since. This is where my "I've turned into my PI" moment comes in. She started to tell me about her problems, and I had NO CLUE what she was talking about. I always thought it was strange that my boss didn't know what I was doing, when I knew I'd talked to her about it already. Now I understand.

This is from (11.14.08). They are so right on, every time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

To craft. And shoes. And boundaries.

I am really itching to make something. Anything. And I am trying very hard to focus on writing my thesis. Maybe that's why I want to make something, because it would be more fun than writing. Anyway, sends me emails once a week with patterns and this week's email was gifts to make in a hurry. And there were two super cute hats in the email that probably would knit or crochet up super fast, but I'm not allowed to think about that right now. Lionbrand is torturing me! I really have a list of things I want to make for babies and rugs for the house and anything else really, but I have to hold out until January 23!

I am also being somewhat tortured by shoes. All the shoes in the universe. And I want all the cute ones. So, my shoe of the month:

Jessica Simpson Leve in Purple/Green Irridescent Patent. $31.05 at But not in a 9.

I have a thing for colorful shoes, I'm not sure why. I used to want black and brown, now I want everything else. And irridescent opens up a whole new world of fabulousness!

Okay, I have to vent for a moment. Just a little moment. As I was writing fabulousness, there was a new development and I'm now rather upset. Our custodian spilled her bucket of dirty water on her shoe and, since she knows I have spare shoes in the lab for my use when I'm in heels or sandals and my feet need a break or need to be covered, she asked to borrow my shoe. I have a real problem with this for two reasons: 1. she spilled dirty water on her shoe, and her sock got soaked, so her foot therefore was doused in dirty water too. 2. she put my shoe on without a sock, her dirty water foot is now in my shoe. I wanted to tell her no. I tried to tell her I have weird feet and they would probably be really uncomfortable. She didn't care. I have thrown shoes away for less than this. I don't think I can wear those shoes ever again. At least they are old and I got them on clearance when I did by them. I didn't really think I got all the use out of them that I probably could have. But I'm not going to be able to wear them again. Does this make me odd? Maybe, but I don't care. I don't like other people's feet coming near me and she has put her dirty foot in my shoe without even a sock barrier. So gross! This person does not understand boundaries AT ALL. My poor shoe.... :(

I have to add, if this custodian's feelings are hurt in any way, she stops cleaning our floor. I can't wait to get away from walking on eggshells around this woman. She has no boundaries and has no problem passing over my boundaries on a daily basis. Grumble....... My poor shoe.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

rubber ducky

So, I'm a little crazy. I'm okay with that, I've known it for a while now, and I figure that if my ridiculousness makes people laugh, it's all good. For some reason, why I'm not totally sure, but I know lots of kids songs. Lots of them. This comes in handy when playing with nephew. I learned a few from co-worker with child who loves songs, but some I just know.

Nephew LOVES taking baths. Nephew has lots of rubber duckies (big ones, little ones, and medium sized ones). Me being that fantastic crazy aunt I am began singing "Rubber Ducky". Nephew could not take his eyes off me and had the most absolutely huge grin on his face. Song ended, he went back to playing. Fast forward to the next time I was home, baby took a bath, I sang the song. My mom therefore wanted to learn it because baby loved it so much. The rest of the time I was home (and Thanksgiving was a LONG weekend), Mom was practicing. Mom practicing was making Dad not happy, and he finally reached his breaking point when she was singing while baby was sleeping. I then came back to school. On Tuesday night I was talking to her on the way to the grocery store and all she had to say was "sing the song" and I sang it again. Honestly, if someone was listening to the conversation they would have been so confused. Anyway, I then was in grocery store and she asked me to sing it again and I wouldn't, not in public. Next night, talking to mom, again, sing rubber ducky. But this time she was ready with pen and paper and I had to sing it slow so that she could write it down. Adam got to witness that one. And yes, I learned my silliness from my mother. :)

So, for anyone who want to learn the lyrics:
Rubber ducky, you're the one
You make bathtime lots of fun
Rubber ducky, I'm awfully fond of you

Rubber ducky, joy of joys
When I squeeze you you make noise
Rubber ducky, you're my very best friend it's true

Every day when I
Make my way to the tubby
There's a little fellow
Who's cute and yellow and chubby
Rub a dub dubby

Rubber ducky, you're so fine
And I'm lucky that you're mine
Rubber ducky, I'm awfully fond of you

Every day when I
Make my way to the tubby
There's a little fellow
Who's cute and yellow and chubby
Rub a dub dubby

Rubber ducky, you're so fine
And I'm lucky that you're mine
Rubber ducky, I'm awfully fond of -
Rubber ducky, I'd like a whole pond of -
Rubber ducky, I'm awfully fond of you!

And if you need to know the tune, I found Ernie singing it on youtube:

the move

I have great news about our move. Not only did the apartment people say it was fine to stay through the weekend so we will move Jan 3 or 4, they aren't going to charge us an arm and a leg, they're going to charge us what those 4 days would cost us regularly. Amazingly enough.
And the mortgage people got us an even lower interest rate, so our monthly payment is going to be $17 less a month! Gotta love that!
So despite all this drama, good things are happening, and I'm not feeling like I'm going to vomit anymore. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

prop 8 - the musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Ain't no time to hate.

no snuggle time? oh no!

I've been writing materials and methods all morning and I need a break. My fingers therefore brought me over to my blog.

I am able to get the most writing done while sitting at the kitchen table. I can spread out papers on fabulous things like mice deficient in essential enzymes and the distraction of the television is in the other room. This whole sitting at the kitchen table thing has thrown poor puppy for a loop. She enjoys her mommy snuggle time when mommy gets home from work, but now that mommy has a very specific deadline and lots to write about, mommy doesn't technically ever come home from work. She is home, yes, but still working. And not snuggling. Which means puppy stands or sits at mommy's feet with the saddest look of "but, i need to snuggle" and breaks mommy's heart. And she then throws a few "whine whine whine"s in there, driving mommy crazy. I'm a giant softee... I need to toughen up! I am the master of science, hear me roar! No softee here in master of science-dom! Puppy, you will have to deal without snuggle time. If I can, you can!

defense insomnia 2

Well, two days ago I was awake at 4 am for no reason other than I'm flipped out about moving and defending. Yesterday I was not awake at 4 am. Today I am awake at 4 am.

What is the difference between the awake days and the day I actually slept? Benadryl. Apparently I only sleep when I cheat and drug myself. This is not a good start to the month. If only Benadryl was not a capsule, I could break it in two and just take half. I don't want to take a whole one because I'll sleep for way way too long or just not be able to wake up no matter how much coffee I drink. So, I'm just awake. At least Sleepless in Seattle is on. I love this movie.

I think I finished one of my appendices last night, good good. Just 5 chapters and three more appendices to go. Yippee skippee!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

closing late

I'm busy. Like a beaver. There is no question of that. But today I was informed of some not great news that makes my busy beaverness a bit nuts. To make a long story short, we cannot close on our house until after Christmas because of the type of loan we are getting. What was originally going to be two weeks to move will now be two days. And if the weather sucks, too bad. I am so totally bummed about this. Granted, this is two weeks we won't have to be paying for two places and two sets of utility bills, but ROAR, I am so worried about the weather and moving in December anyway, and now we will have to manage no matter what. This just makes me extra nervous, and I don't need to be using up any nerves on this. There is nothing we can do, and at least our lease and house will overlap 2 days instead of no days, or negative days. And I was debating with myself about when we would actually move, now there is no debate. We're moving the last two days of December.

So, just to put out there my December and January:
  • experiments galore until the very last minute
  • write write write my thesis
  • pack pack pack the apartment
  • Dec 21: walk in graduation
  • Dec 25: to grandpa's house I go
  • Dec 26: the Nutcracker and dinner with family (cousin is in Nutcracker)
  • Dec 27: who knows, lots of crazies to visit
  • Dec 28: back to school
  • Dec 29: finish packing, attempt to begin packing vehicles
  • Dec 30: close at 11 am and move as much as humanly possible
  • Dec 31: move everything else, which will be insanely difficult since adam is working ALL DAY. We will succeed! ROAR!
  • Jan 6: FINAL formatting deadline. I will need to have initial formatting appts before this. Aka thesis must be written or mostly written by this date.
  • Jan 6-22:
  • hope boss lady will proofread so that I can get to work on corrections
  • finish up any experiments that need finishing and write them into thesis
  • work on powerpoint presentation for defense
  • practice defense presentation. practice practice practice
  • Jan 22: pick up Aarti from airport! yay!
  • Jan 23: defend. then celebrate. all weekend. yes!
  • Jan 26-30: finish up corrections, experiments, check out of university, deposit thesis
  • Feb 2: start post doc

Can I just say that I cannot wait for Feb 2 and I wish that I didn't have to do all that other stuff between now and then. Sigh.

Quit bitching about it and get to work! Okay! I need a cheer:

defense insomnia

it is 4 am and I am awake. I have been awake for a while, and I am honestly in SHOCK that it is 4 am. When I looked at the clock I didn't believe it. But all the clocks say the same thing, and they can't all be lying. I was laying in bed thinking about all that I need to get done and where we are going to go to celebrate my phd-hood (I cannot help but think about the party). So, I am up and I thought since I was thinking about finishing up, I should get up and write something. Maybe awake in the middle of the night = inspiration.

I think I'm just going to have to start taking benadryl before I go to bed.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

defense day

I have finally finally finally scheduled my defense. Friday, January 23 at 2 pm. I have less than two months to finish up lots and lots of experiments and write write write. I am so excited and so scared that I won't get everything done in time. I know that I have done enough and anything that I don't finish will be my underling's job to finish, so I'm trying to not get completely worried. I just want my thesis to be as complete as possible. I just need to remind myself that there is no way for me to tell the complete story, so much of the story is still unknown and it is not my job to finish it. It's only my job to write what I know and a long list of future directions.

Heather defended today. We started together, it's been a crazy 5.5 years, and she's finished! And I'm not far off!! It's just been such a long time, an amazing time, and it's so crazy that it's ending. Finally finally ending, I've been wishing for the end for 4.5 years (give or take), and I'm kind of amazed that it's here. I knew it was close, but actually having a date and watching Heather defend on the same day is throwing me for a loop. Wowie zowie!

Monday, December 1, 2008

standing guard, a note from spunky

Hi Hi Hi Hi Hi, my mommy let me use the computer again. It seems as though this only occurs after visiting grandma and grandpa's, but that's okay. I just wanted to tell everyone how much I love their great big yard of trees and bushes. I get to guard the yard from the bunnies and squirrels and chase them out. They are not welcome in my yard, and they tempt me so much. They like to sneak back in the yard while I am inside either sleeping, begging for food, or running away from that small person, but when I go back out there I chase them all away. And my bark is SCARY! After I chase all those yucky critters out of the yard, I like to stand by the door and check out the wonderful job I did, scanning the yard for anymore critters. And they're frightened, let me tell you. I am super dog, chaser of critters, restorer of the backyard peace!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a day of oopsies

I have worked really really hard today in order to (hopefully) be totally done with this set of experiments before thanksgiving. I did six activity assays, more than I've ever done before, and will be in the lab for another 1.5 hrs waiting for the experiments to finish. They take about an hour to set up, then sit for 2.5 hours, so lots of waiting. Despite my fabulous experimenting today, I have been a royal doofus. Hopefully my extreme doofus status will not mess up my experiments, it hasn't thus far, but a lot can happen in 1.5 hours.
I began my day of arriving at work, getting out of the car, attempting to open the back door to get my computer out of the backseat and the door was locked. I put my hand in my pocket and no keys. Oh no. Tried the door again. Locked. Oh no. Look in the ignition. No keys. Keys are in my mouth. Not sure how they ended up there, but thrilled they are not locked in the car. Laugh at myself in parking garage (hopefully no one was around). Doofus moment #1.
Middle of experiment, adding radioactive compound. Two ice buckets. One for radioactive compound and one with current experiment in it. Checked radioactive ice bucket to make sure threw away unused diluted radioactive compound. Good. Realized I'm still using diluted radioactive compound and did not throw away, it is in the current experiment ice bucket. Doofus moment #2.
In the midst of all these experiments, I was feeling rather parched. I filled my water bottle, set it on my desk, open, and proceeded to spill it in my lap and all over the floor. Luckily it was just water, and I didn't spill it on my computer, cause then I would have cried. Doofus moment #3.
Hopefully I'm done being a doofus for the day, I don't think that I can handle any more of those moments, especially considering all I have to do is finish up these experiments and drive my tired bum home.

used book stores!

I have been in love with used book stores for at least 15 years (no surprise, I love being around books, why else would I have worked in a library for 6 years and enjoyed it most of the time). At used book stores, you never know what you will find, and you can trade in old books and get new ones (to you). It is a wonderful idea and so much cheaper! New books are ridiculously expensive, especially baby books. A few pieces of cardboard glued together and that's $8-$10? My nephew has LOTS of books and most of them are either from used book stores or garage sales. He actually has a new book that is one of those pet the animal books, and there is a toucan in the book. The toucan has a very shiny nose, and baby likes to kiss the toucan on the nose. It's hilarious, but I'm getting off topic.
Used book stores! I went to a used book store on campus yesterday in search of "the Nutcracker." My cousin is in the ballet this Christmas (Joffrey ballet's production in Chicago) and my grandpa doesn't know the story, so my mom wanted the book so that he can know what's happening before going to the ballet. At the used book store, I stumped the worker at first, but then he found not just one but two Nutcracker books, and those two books were less than $10! So fabulous!
So, maybe with the crappy economy, save money and buy used books, you will find what you're looking for, and maybe something else, too! For less than you would spend on new books!

Monday, November 24, 2008

holiday flavors

While the christmas holiday is getting closer and closer to being upon us, it is frustrating that the commercials started weeks ago. Thanksgiving is this week (what happened to October and where November went, I don't know) and after Thanksgiving the commercials are allowed to start, and won't be annoying anymore. But what I do think is a major advantage to Christmas starting before Thanksgiving is the holiday flavors. The holiday flavors of coffee (yum)! The holiday flavors of candles (sniff)!
I am enjoying my pumpkin spice international delight flavored coffee right now, and in a week I will probably have opened my vanilla spiced rum international delight and will be enjoying that tremendously as well. I wish these flavors were available for even longer every year!

rug shopping

Since our wonderful new house has laminate hardwood floors everywhere, we need to invest in rugs. At least one rug anyway, for the living room. I would like to make the rugs that will go in the bedrooms, since they would be less traffic areas, but the living room needs a sturdy rug. I have therefore been looking at lots of rugs online. (Another fabulous way for me to avoid writing my thesis). I have determined that I have two criteria for our living room rug: It must not be the super busy madness that so many area rugs are and It must not be over $150. I have really fallen for a rug that has a few tree branches scattered across the rug, and of course it is $500. Sigh... this is why I want to make the rugs, because the ones I really like are $500.

I'm also thinking that I want to make the curtains for the house too. My mom is giving me one of her many sewing machines, so I think I could make the curtains pretty easily, as long as I can figure out how to use this sewing machine. I want to turn one of the bedrooms into a craft room, with the sewing machine, and a place to store all my yarn and stuff. Hopefully I will have time to do crafty stuff, I really enjoy it, and I haven't done any projects in a few months. With all my struggling to finish my thesis, I'm itching to make something, but I need to finish this gosh darn thesis first!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

unibrow boy hates women. how to deal?

I am writing this post after being completely baffled by a certain graduate student's attitude, existence, etc, and from this point on I will refer to him as unibrow boy (I'm sure you can determine how he has received such a nickname).
Unibrow boy rotated in our lab a little over a year ago as a first year graduate student. While in the lab he worked for our post-doc at the time and basically did the same experiment for the entire eight weeks with a few variations, and not very successfully. He would disappear for hours at a time, mid-experiment, he would stand in the lab's darkroom reading papers and making hand gestures at the papers, and he was really an all around strange dude. He also got arrested for public intox while rotating, but at least he was not in the lab being publicly intoxicated. He already had his master's, I cannot remember what in, but something biochemical or biologically related. Our post-doc asked him to look up some papers on the project he was working on. He did not know how. has gotten me through graduate school and I cannot imagine having done any of this without that wonderful site. Unibrow boy wrote his master's thesis without ever looking at pubmed. When our post doc asked how unibrow boy got his references for his thesis, his response was "encyclopedias." While encyclopedias contain a LOT of useful information, they are not published fast enough to contain the information needed to write a thesis, master's or otherwise. So, we learned very quickly that unibrow boy was not a good fit for our lab, and those are just a few examples. I also got the feeling that he had a problem with women. I had never really met someone that made me feel like I shouldn't be in graduate school, the sciences, etc, but something about unibrow boy just said that he did not like women, and he certainly did not like taking direction from a woman, even if she was a post-doc. My boss didn't believe me when I told her, because she is a woman and she couldn't imagine a person who had a problem with women working for a woman, but I stood by my feeling. The post-doc was convinced he was gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I still thought he just had a problem with women.
I have since found out from other labs he has rotated in and the lab that he eventually joined that he does have a problem with women. He was told he was doing the wrong thing by a senior female graduate student in a lab that he did not end up joining and he told her "women don't talk to men like that where I'm from." This ended badly, as you might imagine, and he did not join that lab.
The lab he did end up joining is also run by a woman. She does really interesting science, has been published in Nature, and has lots of clout in the department. She also is somewhat psychotic and has lost many graduate students to other labs or master's degrees. Someone who is that strong and has no problem yelling at her students you would think would put unibrow boy in his place. PI and unibrow boy are from the same town. PI therefore accepts unibrow boy's behavior as normal and does not put him in his place. There is one other male in the lab and he will be graduating in the next year or two. Unibrow boy will not listen to any of the female graduate students and I guess basically pretends they don't exist, except to take the solutions that they have prepared for themselves. He will take people's solutions, use them up, not replace them, and then scream if they try to use any of his solutions. He also throws things, at centrifuges, in sinks, anything he can grab he throws, hard, and at any object that has made him mad. With someone who behaves like that in the lab and a PI that tells you that you are not working enough when you are working 90 hours a week, this PI is really going to lose everyone.
Yesterday, I was heading to our department's cell culture facility (mammalian cells need lots of love and commitment and we therefore have a facility in which to maintain this love and commitment) and unibrow boy was heading out. He blocked the door so that I couldn't enter and our conversation carried out as follows:
UB: do you know where they are? (pointing at the custodial person's cart that is down the hall)
Me: Where Laura is? Our custodian?
UB: yes.
Me: I don't know, why do you need her?
UB: I spilled media.
Me: There are plenty of paper towels in the lab, use them to clean up the media.
UB: I used paper towels but I need to completely clean the floor.
Me: Well, I would check the first floor for Laura.
Unibrow boy went in search of our custodial person and I went in the lab. He spilled media in a great big circle and put down five paper towels to contain the circle. He didn't do anything to clean up after himself and went on to find someone else to clean up his mess for him. I was so mad, and part of it is because I get the feeling by his attitude that he thinks women are here to serve him. I did what little I needed to do and went back in my lab with the door locked so that if he couldn't find someone else to clean up his mess he wouldn't come to me. As if women are here to clean up after his lazy bum. I stayed holed up in my lab for another hour and then went back to the cell culture facility to check and make sure the mess did get cleaned up. It did, but unibrow boy also left the vacuum pump on when he left. He is such a problem. Someone needs to put him in his place. I suppose I could have yesterday, but I am not comfortable picking a fight when no one else is a around (it was 11 pm). I don't even like to leave the confines of the locked lab that late at night, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and see what happens.
I am so glad he is not in our lab. Honestly, there are way too many alpha dog women in our lab for him to handle, but I really feel bad for the women he works with now. I guess I can't really call it 'works with', it's more like 'works next to' or 'non-works with'. And from what I know of them, they are not alpha dogs and they do not speak their minds. So, no one is prepared to tell unibrow boy what's up, and he is going to continue going through life being a complete jerk to women, using encyclopedias to research his project. Such a problem.
I certainly hope this is not a problem I ever have to deal with on a daily basis, ever.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the advantage to the long shirt

I have discovered a new advantage to the trend being long shirts. I have heard several people say they like the new trend because it is better for the pregnant person. Being that I am not pregnant and don't plan on it for another few years, this is not an advantage to me. What have I determined to be so great about long shirts? If you forget to zip up your fly, no one knows!

Is this mannequin's fly down? Can't tell!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I experience extreme joy when I save lots of money at the grocery store. I love that they tell you what percent you saved on your order at the bottom of your receipt, and yesterday I save 62%! I'm thrilled if I reach 40%, so obviously I was very successful at the store yesterday. And part of the reason for my success:
Both of these websites offer coupons that they automatically load on your kroger card. I believe loads the coupons on both the kroger card and marsh card and you can redeem them at either store. I digress, you don't have to clip a single coupon, you just tell the website which ones you want and they are on your card. Then you get a super fun email the next day letting you know that you redeemed some coupons and how much you've saved so far. So far I think I've saved $9. And you know what that $9 went to? The shoes that altered my universe!
Also, offers ecoupons that they also load on your kroger and marsh cards, but instead of taking money off your bill, the money is saved for college. can be used to pay on salliemae loans. link your loan and voila, you are on your way to paying off those pesky things! yes!

big 3 bail out

there has been much discussion lately on whether or not the big three (being GM, Ford, and Chrysler) should receive moneys from the government in order to not sink. being that several members of my family are either retired or still work for GM, this hits very close to home. My mom is worried that they are going to lose their insurance, my grandpa is worried that he is not going to be able to live out his remaining days, and my aunt, well, her husband already lost her job with GM and now she's worried that she will too.

On a less personal note, this debate over the bailout affects 2.5-3 million jobs directly. And 20 million jobs indirectly. And probably 5-10 million retirees directly and indirectly. In a failing economy such as this, why would the goverment consider leaving 30 million people jobless and pensionless, not to mention the loss of all the healthcare benefits. I agree that the American car hasn't been competitive with the foreign car over the past twenty years, but they have gotten much better recently. They finally recognized the need for fuel efficiency and are really working on being better.

My dad bought a 2006 Chevy Impala SS in September of 2005. The poor car has been in two accidents, but neither accident was the Impala (or driver of Impala)'s fault. Other than that, this car runs beautifully. Because it is an SS, is has a V8 engine. What is amazing about this V8 engine is that when on the highway, 4 cylinders turn off and the fuel efficiency quadruples (first ever engine to do that). Now, city driving this car tends to eat some gas, but it also has lots of power. That was always the draw to American made autos, the POWER (insert Tim Taylor grunt here). My dad just purchased a 1984 Chevy El Camino SS (he has an SS obsession, it's true). This car is 24 years old and beautiful. Not the most fuel efficient (again, V8 engine and this one doesn't turn off any cylinders), but runs and looks great. Though my dad is now tooling around town in a purple el camino, he thinks he's the coolest man around (not sure yet if that's a good or bad thing).

Don't hate on the Impala, it's so pretty!

I drive a Honda, but I bought it used off a friend. If I were to buy a new car, I would buy GM, granted I get the family discount, but I will buy GM. I will drive my Honda until it croaks, we will have hopefully paid off Adam's truck, and I will buy GM. Heck, I might even get the Chevy Volt (they super fabulous new electric car available in 2010... plug in, charge it up, and go!).

The conclusion to my little tale, bailout the big three with stipulations. Letting the livelihood of 30 million people (and who knows how many children?) collapse is so not cool. Yes, this sucks, yes, the big three kind of got themselves into this mess and didn't really do a whole lot to get themselves out, but letting them fail should not be an option.

Something entirely unrelated, today I am wearing the shoes that would alter my universe (see previous post). They truly have altered my universe. They are so pretty, my feet look fantastic, and I have gotten so many compliments. Even from a professor who ignores I exist except when drunk, when she likes to drop many f-bombs about many topics. In my post about these fabulous shoes, I was sad that I couldn't get them in my size from Imagine my surprise (and glee) when I found them at for $25 less than shoebuy! And in my size! Oh the joy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

hello from spunky

My mommy has never let me use the computer before, but I have a lot to say.
First of all, mom cooked some chicken dish for dad's birthday tonight and didn't give me any chicken. The entire house smells like chicken and it is makes me very hungry and I'm drooling all over the floor. After this weekend, I thought that she would reward me for being so good with some chicken, but she hasn't.
And this weekend, she took me to this place she calls "grandma and grandpa's". That grandma person cooks a lot and always lets me lick the bowl or plate. She's the best. Grandpa is kinda grumpy and doesn't pet me a lot. I even jumped in his lap to help warm him up to me, but he just knocked me down. I haven't figured him out yet. But, then, this small person came over, he's the same size as me and chases me all over the place. When I try to relax he runs toward me and tends to flail his arms at my face. Everyone keeps telling me to be nice, but what about him! I give him kisses and he laughs, and then everyone else laughs, so I suppose that small person is okay. He gets a whole lot of attention, everyone follows him around the house, even MY mommy. He does throw food and get in trouble, but then I get the food. I got lots of cheerios and even some sausage this morning. All in all, I had a nice weekend, but I need some chicken to show for it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Today was one of my more productive lab days. I always end these super productive days feeling very proud of myself. And I find myself some incentives to get through and force myself to wbe even more productive. Today I had two incentives. I am heading back to visit parental units tomorrow and by being super productive today I think that I can stay until Sunday instead of heading back here Saturday. My second incentive, that I decided to award myself with after I finished my fourth experiment today:
so delicious. i love productivity!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

my thoughts on presentations

Something that PhD's must be able to do is stand up in front of a group of other scientists and talk about their research. Now, this is a somewhat scary thing to do, I will honestly say that I do not feel I have had enough practice at doing this. I was fortunate enough to take a class on post-translational modifications in which we each had to give two presentations: one on a book chapter and one on literature about a different chapter. And neither could be about our own research. What I learned from that class was helpful for setting up presentations. Because the audience was fellow students, the prospect of talking in front of people was not quite so scary, plus everyone had to do this and couldn't talk about their own research, so, everyone was equally clueless (or equally knowledgable) about the topic.

The most important thing I learned is: WHY DO WE CARE?
Sounds simple, doesn't it? The conferences I've been to in which professors are chosen to give talks, a few post docs and graduate students, but mostly professors, and I spend most of the time I'm listening to presentation wondering, "why do I care?" It is so obvious that these people like their research and care very much about advancing the area, but why do I care. You crystallized a protein, big whoop? Why that protein, what does that mean??

I will be presenting my thesis soon (January is coming up super fast!). I could jump right into the research. But then no one cares. Instead, I will talk about mandibuloacral dysplasia and restrictive dermopathy, hutchinson-guilford progeria syndrome, and hiv-related lipodystrophy. Diseases are very helpful for pointing out why we should care. So what if the protein is less active with a certain mutation, why do we care about that mutation? because it causes mandibuloacral dysplasia. Now my concern is going to be, will 'mandibuloacral dysplasia' turn into a tounge twister during my defense and will I then be unable to talk?

Tonight I went to a talk about Interviewing. We have a Women in Science group here at school and different people are invited to speak. A math prof gave a talk tonight about interviewing in academia. She read off her powerpoint slides, she had almost no inflection in her voice, and I was going nuts sitting my seat wishing I was doing experiments instead of sitting through that load of crap. The second speaker was much better, so my feeling of time being wasted was saved a little bit. This is why I don't often go to these meetings, even though there is free food.

So, first things first, why do we care? if you cannot answer that question by slide #2, redo your presentation
a picture says a thousand words. and then you don't read off the slide.
don't read off the slide.
practice practice practice. and breathe. and don't put the audience to sleep by turning into a monotone monster.
hopefully i'll remember this when i defend my thesis. rah rah rah

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

These shoes would alter my universe

I have been stalking these shoes on for two reasons,
1) cannot afford, and
2) not my size. but I love them...

Ceasar in Blue Nile by Jessica Simpson, $58.95 if you are a 7 or 8 and lucky as can be

I just cannot say enough how much I would enjoy looking down at my feet and these beauties were looking back at me! And restalking these shoes and looking at how pretty they are I've found the serenity I need to deal with my underling. And Lyle Lovett "Friend of the Devil" just started playing on the Grateful Dead channel (, adding to my much needed serenity. I haven't heard this in 10 years... so fabulous!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I have a confession to make: I love looking at people's handwriting. I love fancy handwriting. And anything I really like I try to imitate. Another confession: I also love getting compliments on my own handwriting. A couple of weeks ago, one of my labmates was trying to imitate my N, something that she was finding very difficult and made me laugh a lot. I am a lefty with good handwriting, something that I have found to be very rare, and I take pride in the fact that mine is good. I am sharing my little handwriting obsession to the world because of the following:

Someone in the department defended her thesis last week and I was looking at her photos on facebook. Her cake has super fabulous fancy handwriting on it. No matter how nice I can make my handwriting on paper, I cannot do it on a cake. If I had free time, I think I would practice cake icing writing to try and make it look that nice.

I have edited out new phd's name, but I love the F, I couldn't get rid of that. Isn't that such fabulous fancy cake writing??

what to buy

After spending a few hours walking through our new house on Friday during the inspection, I now have a long list of things that we will need to buy. Some things we will need right away (towel racks for the bathrooms, fire extinguisher, curtains, area rugs), others not until the spring (lawn mower, screens), and then there are the things that I want but will have to wait (recliners, a new bed, a new dining room table). And what is helping us so much through all of this? The economy having gone down the tubes, all sorts of stores are closing. It is really scary, but so helpful for us to get good deals (hopefully). Linens N Things, Value City, and Circuit City are all closing. Bring on the liquidation sales! Though I doubt I will find anything I need at Circuit City, stuff I want, but not need, and I need to focus on what I NEED right now.. shucks! And I don't need a giant HDTV.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

mythbusters air cylinder

Proper safety procedures state that all air cylinders be chained to a wall at all times, no matter what air is in said cylinder. Mythbusters proves why in a controlled environment:

This slightly freaks me out. And adds to my list of things to run away from in the lab.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

sweat pants and toddlers don't mix

My mom bought my nephew some cars at a garage sale (baby loves loves loves cars and tends to destroy them) and baby was playing with the cars outside. One of them my dad thought was pretty cool and then my mom told him that the wheels were not right. So, my dad picked up the car to investigate how to fix the wheels and baby got a little mad. He used my dad pants to pull himself up and protest my dad having the car, but instead of pulling himself up, he pulled my dad's pants down. WHOA! Writing this I'm laughing out loud... so funny.
Moral of the story, use a belt or sweat pants with a drawstring!

Monday, November 3, 2008

park play turned yuck

My mom told me a story tonight. She took my nephew for a walk and went to a nearby park. One of the park toys was a tube that baby fit in and so my mom let him crawl through. Or, at least, started to crawl through. He stopped in the middle of the tube because there was some dog poo in there to play with. As a loving aunt, I am disgusted. As a dog owner, I am disgusted. I do not take my dog to playgrounds, much less let her play in the kids toys. I cannot believe that someone was so disgusting that they let their dog poo in a child's toy and then not clean it up. I'd like to put a paper bag of dog poo lit on fire on their front door stoop and ring the doorbell, and I'm being completely honest when I say that I have never wanted to do that to anyone before.

on a better note...
new house update: inspection friday!

New Shoes!

I bought a new pair of shoes last week, they are so excellent. I think they are the tallest shoes I've ever purchased (2.25 in), but they don't feel like it at all! I bought them in brown, not the icky color below.House hunt update: We are accepting the counter offer proposed by the seller. Now we just have to have the house inspected and get our mortgage! I'm trying to not get excited yet, but I am pumped!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

new house!?

Well, yesterday I think we found our new house. It is a beautiful house with laminate hardwood flooring in the living room and hallways and bedrooms. New ceramic tiles in the kitchen and foyer. Cathedral ceiling. LOTS of counter space in the kitchen and brand new stainless steel appliances. And eat in kitchen with big windows that look out over the backyard. And there's a patio door going out onto the wonderful new deck. The backyard will be fenced in. The view from the kitchen, deck, backyard, and master bedroom is looking over a pond and trees, there is a walking path around the pond, and there is a neighborhood park at the end of the pond. And even though the house is fairly close to highway 37, you cannot hear it. You can only hear the birds and bees. So beautiful. The whole house is beautiful! And the price is right. I really think that if we have to resell it, it will be fairly easy to resell just because it is so nice and new. It was built in 2001. Oh, and it has a fireplace! Adam doesn't especially like the laminate hardwood floors in the bedrooms, but with my allergy problems, it's probably a good thing. And so much easier to clean. Spill something, wipe it up. Dog hair, wipe it up. Oh so fabulous.

And then I started thinking about area rugs. They are very expensive, but do add a lot of color to the room. Continuing with the thinking, I wonder if I could make one. I found a book about knitting rugs. Of course, I couldn't look at the book, but it has sparked a lot of curiosity in me. And it would be really neat to have a completely individual rug that I made and picked out exactly what colors I wanted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Baracked the Vote

In no particular order....
  1. End the war in Iraq. Obama wants to end the war in Iraq and focus on Afganistan, McCain thinks we will have victory in Iraq. I recently saw a report that Al Qaeda wants McCain to win the presidency because he will not end the war and continue exhausting America's resources, Al Qaeda's goal being that America will have nothing left. Not to mention, not spending $10 billion a month in Iraq frees up a lot of money to spend here.
  2. Health insurance for everyone. Giving everyone the opportunity to keep the health insurance they have or access the government employee insurance plan. And if you still don't want health insurance, you don't have to have it. And stopping health insurance companies from refusing to pay medical bills because of preexisting conditions.
  3. Taxcuts for the middle class (people who make less than $250,000 a year). Basically, Obama wants to have the tax plan that was in effect during Clinton's presidency, when our nation did not have a deficit. Giving tax breaks to the giant companies hasn't worked for eight years, why would it work another four?
  4. Education. Attempting to make college more available but also trying to improve the education system starting at kindergarten. Every child is different and individual improvements every year is not leaving a child behind. A successful school year for a child is one when a seventh grader with a third grade reading level improved to a fifth grade reading level. It is sad that the child went 4 years without improving, but finally improving means something. It means a good teacher, a good program for learning, and even though this child might not pass the standardized test, the child improved. Education should be based on each child's improvement every year, not what the government has decided all children should do every year. Improvement is what counts for each individual child.
  5. Equal pay for equal work. Biochemists make less money than organic chemists. Why? Because more women are biochemists than organic chemists. According to John McCain women just need more education and training to make the same money as a man. I've been in college for 10 years. Do I need more education and training???? 10 years, I think I'm done. And yet, my pay will be less because despite everything that happened in the 60s, women still do not make as much as men. I believe that Obama will do his best to close that gap.

And lastly: Sarah Palin. This woman, diva, whack-job, whatever you want to call her, might just be worse than W. She is a working mom, yes, but otherwise is against everything I as a woman stand for. Her being in charge could reverse the 60s. Betty Freidan never recognized the 'problem with no name' and bras were never burned. Honestly, she disgusts me, seeing her picture literally makes me sick to my stomach, I get a vomit taste in my mouth whenever I hear her talking. If John McCain wins this election and dies, I will be in Canada if anyone needs me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

i loathe gloves

There are many experiments I do that require I wear gloves. I must protect my hands from carcinogens and radioactivity, 'wear the proper PPE' as crazy-safety-lady would say. I hate gloves. They have this amazing ability of instantly making my core body temperature rise what feels like 1000 degrees. Now, really, I know my body temperature cannot rise that much, but regardless, I'm instantly hot when I put on gloves. But that's not all. As soon as the gloves are donned, my skin itches. Whether it is my face, my arm, my back, or my foot, I desperately need to scratch and cannot because I am in PPE. By the way, I cannot remember what PPE stands for, but just know it changes depending on the experiment and for almost everything I do PPE is gloves, closed toed shoes, and long pants, sometimes a lab coat is required, but usually not, thank goodness, lab coat makes body temp rise another 200 degrees. I digress.

Gloves make me hot and make my skin itch. And, as if I wasn't becoming crazy enough as it is, at this point my hair starts to tickle my face. Or my ear. Curly hair = problem of a curl going in my ear and tickle crazy, kind of like a dry willie (not a wet willie, the only thing worse). Needless to say, gloves are the root of my evil problem. And I don't wear them for extended periods of time, only an hour, tops. I cannot imagine Adam - in surgery he must wear two pairs of gloves, scrubs, sterile gown, sterile hat, and sometimes even a lead vest. I would explode. Adam does great. Is hotter than blazes, but he does great.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

house hunt!

tomorrow Adam and I will be looking at 9 houses in Indy. I'm pretty excited to be looking at houses, even though my mom thinks this is a bad idea. This is the market to buy a house, and I don't have to sell, so why not buy?? Granted I might not be in Indianapolis forever, but I want to be. And if we have to sell in a couple of years because we're moving to a different city for my real job, we will have to deal with that when we come to that point. We will make money I'm sure of it. Even if we have to sell for a lower amount that we bought, we won't have thrown our money at a bad landlord. After my mom saying this might not be a good idea, I am feeling icky. She just doesn't want anyone to spend any money, but we have to live somewhere, for crying out loud.

On another note, I had a super productive week in the lab (hopefully the productivity will transfer to the house hunt). I finished some experiments this week that my lab was contracted to do by a company, and they paid us $22,000 to do it. So pumped to be done with that forever. They will probably send more compounds and more money in the future, but I won't be doing those experiments! And I made membranes of 4 different yeast strains today. The most I've ever done before is 3 and that was super tough, but 4 today! WHOO OOO! And I did it in 6 hours (normally it takes 4 hours for me to do 1 or 2). So I had a great week and now I'm going to take a long weekend by house hunting and going to visit parents, brother, sisterinlaw, and baby!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

poor puppy... another seizure

Spunky has now had three seizures, that I know of. She may have had others while I was not at home, but I know for a fact she has had three. Tonight was the worst one being that it was longer than the others and ended with the poor girl taking a big dump on the floor. I brought her to the vet while she was still having the first seizure and spent a lot of money for them to tell me there was nothing they could do. I should just watch to see if she has any more. Well, the second one was in the middle of the night a month later. Both occurred the day after coming back home after visiting my parents. I have not brought Spunky to my parents in over a month, so I don't think that anything there was causing the seizures even though that's what we thought it was before. Now I know we were wrong, but I am therefore still completely baffled as to what is causing these seizures. And I don't think that there is anything I can do to help her. Because they are not happening very often (thank goodness) I don't think that she needs to be on anti-epileptic medicine, which induces seizures if you forget to give the dog the medicine (and I'm a medicine forgettor). The best article I've seen about seizures (and specifically in beagles) says that you should just comfort the puppy during the seizure and pet them, soothing words, etc. This is by far the cheapest option (which I am in course in favor of) but also the scariest because these seizures are some of the scariest things I've seen. The look in puppy's eyes scream "MOMMY HELP ME" and "I'M SCARED" and "MAKE IT BETTER" and there is nothing I can do. But also, she recovers fairly quickly, after the 10 min seizure today, she sat in her cage for 10 min (her safety zone), I pet her and she came out and ran around wagging her tail. Apparently beagles (as well as poodles, german shepherds, and belgian shepherds) are more often afflicted with epilespy than the other breeds of dog.

the moral of my story, buy a mutt. the cross breeding causes less problems. i think my future puppies will be beagle mutts, but mutts all the same. spunky is so cute and good, I am in love with beagles. my poor baby.

Monday, October 20, 2008

National Chemistry Week

For those who don't know, this week is National Chemistry Week. An organization I'm a member of takes it upon themselves to organize schools and volunteers to go to said schools to teach elementary aged children about chemistry. I've been doing this for 5 years now. When I have to chose a school for my children, I wish I could do National Chemistry Week, because that 45 minutes says a LOT about a teacher. Today I taught two classes, 2nd grade and 4th grade. The behaviour is always a little bad when a visitor is in the classroom, not to mention they are playing and making a mess. But a good teacher recognizes the bad behaviour and squashes it instantly. In my many years of visiting schools, the teachers that paid the most attention and did the best job of squashing the bad were those at the Catholic schools. The public schools have been hit or miss on the teacher's ability to squash. In the past I have been amazed because the moment we walk in and start talking to the kids, the teacher assumes that her time is done and she can therefore catch up on grading. But today, WOW, the teacher left. For the entire time we were attempting to teach she left. We are not teachers, therefore we do not know how to control a class. Especially a class of obnoxious 10 year olds. I have a hard time with 18 year olds, but they don't cry if you yell at them. Needless to say, I do have a newfound respect for teachers every year that I attempt to teach kids about chemistry. And every year I know that I did the right thing not going into elementary education. YIKES. After 45 mins I was ready for a beer.

If you were wondering what experiment we did:
Film canister + water
Balloon + broken alka-seltzer tablet
fit balloon over film canister opening
make the alka selter tablet fall into the water
balloon blows up! yay for carbon dioxide! yay for chemistry!

the other experiment is not so easy and not so fun and really messy. And for some reason the people in charge of choosing the experiments always make this nasty stuff and call it something different every year. Last year is was a bouncy ball, the two years before that it was Oobleck and this year it was silly putty. It's really frustrating to go to a classroom and have the kids tell you over and over again that they did this experiment last year.

The moral of my story, sign up for national chemistry week and go to the different schools, you might be able to find out which is the best one. Or just send your kids to Catholic school. It's expensive but the teachers want to be there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Adam is finally a certified surgical tech! The exam was yesterday, and I was in a conference completely unable to pay attention. After each speaker was finished and started to field questions, I snuck out to call him again. And again. I new he had to be close to finished, so I just turned my phone on vibrate, then checked it every two minutes. The talk was about serotonin transporters, which I would normally pay attention to because it is interesting stuff, but nothing could have taken my attention away from that phone. In the middle of the talk Adam finally called. He passed and starts back in surgery on Monday! He is so so excited. My mom said that he is having such a great month, with getting a deer and passing his test. Hopefully the luck passes to us finding a house. We will be heading to Indy sometime in the next two weeks, hopefully we can find an amazing house quickly.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Green Fluorescent Protein

The Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to the first people who used green fluorescent protein (GFP) to further their research. The Nobel Prize can only be awarded to three people. The FIRST person to clone GFP, Douglas Prasher, who shared GFP with two of these three people, did not win the Nobel Prize. In fact, Dr. Prasher now drives the shuttle van for a car dealership. See article here:

I am in complete agreement that the originators of research using GFP deserve the Nobel Prize. GFP has furthered the research of almost everyone, myself included:

This is from the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Apr 11, 2008, my second publication.

My problem is that the person who actually discovered GFP did not win the Nobel Prize. You would think that what he does now wouldn't matter. None of these other people could have done so much without Dr. Prasher.

And this is not the first time someone has been left out of winning the Nobel Prize. Rosalind Franklin, who happens to be my favorite scientist, discovered DNA is a double helix. NOT Watson and Crick, though they did win the Nobel prize, and they did get all the credit for determining DNA is a double helix. Rosalind Franklin performed an X-ray crystallography experiment on DNA and the result was stolen by a co-worker and given to Watson and Crick. This co-worker, Watson, and Crick won the Nobel Prize and all the credit and Rosalind Franklin passed away so that she couldn't even fight for her right to her own data. The moral of my little story, I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS STILL HAPPENING TO THE ADVANCERS OF RESEARCH FOR EVERYONE.

Photo 51, Rosalind Franklin's fabulous X-ray crystal of a DNA helix.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the lifestyles of the workaholic

I am exhausted. I am not really sleeping at night anymore, going over and over in my head all the different experiments I need to do in order to write my thesis. Not to mention the fear I now have of giant spiders being in my bed. I am currently feeling like I'm being pulled in more directions than I can handle, with experiments looming, thesis writing not getting done, house hunting being too much fun, and missing my family too much. I want to go and have a weekend in the Fort, my nephew has freckles on his little nose I have not yet seen. Right now I feel like I cannot take any time off, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just holidays that I will have to skip this year. Hopefully my experiments will actually work out and I won't destroy anymore equipment, I need things to work out for my self esteem I think.

Maybe I'll have an accident like lucky Alexander Fleming and cure everything in the universe with my thesis.

Figure: Alexander Fleming was a lucky dog.
Not because he had the clap, but because of how he discovered penicillin.

If you don't know the story: Fleming had a petri dish of bacteria contaminated with a fungus. The bacteria did not grow near that fungus. Ding ding ding: Fungus is producing something that kills bacteria. PENICILLIN! Luck. Lots of it. Something that could never happen again, and certainly not for me. So, I will not wish for it, but man, that would be nice.

Monday, October 13, 2008

gingered sweet potato squash puree

A new favorite recipe of mine. This is the perfect time of year as squash are fabulously in season. I recommend!

2 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp powdered ginger

Bake sweet potatoes (about 1 hr 400 degreesF) until easy to pierce.
Cut butternut squash in half, put in baking pan flesh side down filled with about 1 in. of water. Bake at 400 oF about 45 min.
Put all that yummy pulp in a food processor and puree the heck out of it.
Add butter, syrup, and ginger. Puree some more.
Yummy in my tummy, eat it up!

creepy crawlies

First, I will warn you, the following story made my labmates react by making pained faces and "EEEWWWW" sounds.

Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, puppy was sitting up looking into the living room. Puppy doesn't sit up and look anywhere. Bed means sleep for the next 12 hours. So, Adam had to get up and investigate what in the world our crazy dog was looking at. She went with him to investigate and was standing in the kitchen looking into the living room, GROWLING. Puppy growls when she has a toy in her mouth and you're trying to take it away, that's it. So now both of us are on edge, wondering what the heck is going on. We shut and lock the door to the bedroom and Adam gets his knife to sleep with it by the bed. So, obviously we are on edge and it's going to be difficult falling asleep. And then I felt a bug on my arm. Well, I pushed it off, turned on the light, and jumped up looking around for it to actually kill it. Adam proceeds to convince me that I was dreaming. So, lights back off, back to trying to sleep. When I was almost out, Adam yells for me to turn on the light, the bug was on him! So, we shake out all the covers and sheets, no bug. I'm now convinced that we're both crazy because we watched Bee Movie yesterday. I'll also add that now puppy wants to sleep and is not helping with the bug search, she's just giving us dirty looks for interrupting her beauty sleep. So, again, off with the lights. At this point I am super paranoid and am trying to sleep covering my ears and mouth so that this bug doesn't crawl into my face. I'd say it's been over and hour of us trying to sleep and freaking out instead. So, once again, Adam yells for me to turn on the light, the bug crawled across his face. In the light, we see this in our bed:

Needless to say, even though Adam was finally able to destroy this giant spider, neither one of us could fall asleep. I left the light on reading for at least 30 mins, trying to forget about the evil monster in our bed. Finally, we both fell asleep, but it was not good sleep.

In the lab today, I have been trying to do my experiments. They require fast hands before my protein is dead and I'm working with radioactivity so I cannot touch anything else. I have had the creepy crawlies all day long! My hair is tickling my face, my pant leg moved and I jumped to the celing. I am constatly scratching myself, feeling like something is crawling on me. My arms, my legs, my back. I'm losing my mind. And it's very difficult to work when all I want to do is scratch.

One other small story. There was a squirrel in the chemistry building yesterday, in our hallway. I have never been so glad that I didn't come into the lab as I was today when I found out there was a squirrel in the building. A teenage squirrel probably, certainly not full grown. Probably very very similar to the bastard squirrel that was in my parents house last year right before new years. Labmate called someone to come and take care of this animal in the building, but we do not know for absolute sure that the squirrel is out. If there is a squirrel in the building and it jumps out at me tonight, I will jump through the roof and leave, I don't think I could even care about my experiments at that point. Ever since that awful day of chasing that squirrel around my parents house, I am unable to look at a squirrel the same. They make me shudder. Gross me out. Almost as bad as spiders in my bed.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

down with fox news

On Friday at a town hall meeting, McCain was forced to undo some of the damage that has been done by Fox News and other republican news sources against Obama. The McCain supporters in this town hall meeting booed at the sound of Obama's name. One man that was given McCain's microphone told McCain that he is afraid of an Obama presidency. When McCain told the man he does not have to be afraid of an Obama presidency the croud again booed. Then, the worst part, a woman told McCain she cannot trust Obama, she's read about him and he's an Arab. McCain told her no, she was able to say "No??" before McCain grabbed the microphone out of her hand and said no a few more times. All of this is in the video:

I have two things to say to this woman
1. If you're going to meet a presidential candidate, comb your f***ing hair!
2. STOP WATCHING FOX NEWS! The "news" reported on Fox News is twisted by the reporters in order to push their own agenda and is very rarely truthful. They like to call Obama an Arab and "accidentally" call him Osama. They have obviously forgotten the drama created by Obama's CHRISTIAN pastor looking for his 15 minutes of fame 6 months ago. That pastor was a poopoohead, but regardless, he is a Christian, and so is Obama. I do think McCain could have said more than no a few times to set that lady and the crowd straight, but at this point people watching Fox News is the only thing going for McCain, even if it is a barrel of lies. Now, I realize I could be being lied to on the news programs I watch, but they are well hidden lies and not blatant lies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Anyone that knows me knows I have a severe allergy problem. Cats, hay, pollen, grass, the morning, all make me sneeze. So, this morning I was sneezing uncontrollably for 2 hours. About 30 minutes into the sneezing mania, I took Zyrtec. I love zyrtec, I've been using it for years. Around a cat it works in 10-20 minutes. This morning, nothing happened. Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze. I tried vacuuming thinking that I could suck up all the whatever making me sneeze. Worse. Showering the sneezing stopped, out of the shower sneezing again. The point of this story about sneezing is Veramyst Nasal Spray. Now I am very anti anything going in my nose, especially being sprayed up there, but I was at my wits end. I could barely open my eyes I was so so so congested. Two sprays in each nostril and 10 minutes, it was like the sneezing never happened. And it wasn't super uncomfortable spraying the stuff in my nose. Even better, it was free!

So, if you are having issues with allergies this season, the first prescription is free!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

radar nose?

So, Adam had a ridiculous dream last night that I just have to share:

I was a surgeon and Adam was assisting me. We were performing a surgery on Spunky in order to give her a radar nose.

What is a radar nose you ask?
To help her sniff out bunnies better.

By the way, this is not Spunky, but an internet beagle with the same sadness that Spunky expresses when she cannot get the bunny.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

liquid nitrogen

Being that I do sciencey type things on a daily basis, I get the joy of playing with liquid nitrogen on occasion. Today is one of those days. I believe the temperature of lN2 is -90 oC, or really freaking cold. So cold that the evaporation of it leads to a smokey effect that spills over the dewar (a fancy container that can handle how cold lN2 is) onto the floor. And then, once the lN2 is settled, the smokey effect remains inside said container, sort of like swimming smoke waves. And this makes me marvel at how pretty science and the universe is. When you stop and look, it's awesome.

Figure: Pouring liquid nitrogen also leads to the fancy smokey effect, though bare hand that close to lN2 = frozen fingers. DO NOT RECOMMEND.

Hopefully the beautiful lN2 makes for a beautiful experiment that works perfectly!

Monday, October 6, 2008

the puppy returns

I had to bring my puppykins to the vet this weekend to keep her in the kennel while i was among scientists and fiancekins was off killing a deer. They do not have Sunday pickup (a major problem that when I move will be a major selling point for my new vet), so I had to wait until this morning to go and pick her royal cuteness up. They open at 7:30, which means when I woke up at 6am, I remained awake, too excited to fall back asleep. Picking puppykins up from the vet is such a major ego boost for me because she drags the vet tech to me crying the entire way. My baby loves me! But what I really don't understand is that she is now very very dirty and stinks to high heaven. And as soon as this blog is posted she will be getting a bath. When at home, she is always soft, and people always marvel at how much she feels like a puppy despite being almost 4. For some reason, the vet kennel creates a dirty dog. I hope I don't have to bring her there ever again, and the kennel I bring her to in indy will be so much better. And more expensive, but I should be able to afford it then!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

scientists are weird

So, I went to a conference this weekend. It was a free conference (which doesn't really happen in science, $250 is usually how much it costs to walk in the door), but I have a poster, I thought I should go and present it. I brought a labmate with me so that I didn't have to go alone. We both wore nice clothes, business casual. Half the people there were also in business casual, the other half were in jeans. So, scientists wear jeans to a conference. Odd. I knew that probably half the people there would be in jeans, but that doesn't mean that I could ever do such a thing. It's a conference. Probably only scientists would ever wear jeans for a conference.

So, My labmate and I were standing next to my poster. One of my boss's collaborators was at the conference, but he is not a collaborator on my project and I have never spoken to him before. He came up to me at my poster and stood there for about 20 minutes, basically trying to decide if there was anything else that he could possibly say. Labmate and I weren't really able to leave the poster, and professor couldn't figure out if there was anything else to say but for some reason couldn't leave. And as if it wasn't awkward enough, here comes another professor who I've never heard of and is obnoxious enough to think he has more imporant things to say than anyone else on earth. So, obnoxious prof broke up the strained conversation with awkward prof, and then obnoxious prof walked away and left us with awkward prof. It's kind of like these professors are already socially awkard and then they try to talk to women and it's worse. At least they gave us free heineken.

On a side note, a 9-point deer is dead by the bow and arrow of my finance. he is thrilled. and i am glad that he won't be gone every weekend hunting for the next two months. and i'm mighty apprehensive about the fact that he wants the head mounted. i guess our new house will have to have a room for him to put a deer head in that i won't have to go into.
UPDATE: To have the whole head mounted is almost $400, so instead the taxidermist is just going to bleach the skull and mount the skull and antlers (British style apparently). That's only $125. Still a ridiculous amount of money, but my munchkin is so proud of himself, I just hope that we can mount is certification test scores on the wall next to the deer head. That is what really counts. And it's coming up on Oct 17.

Friday, October 3, 2008

ultracentrifuge drama continues

The ultracentrifuge fixit man is here today, and brought a sales rep with him since it's obvious that after a centrifuge explodes, you need a new one. They are currently trying to convince my boss and the PI next door to purchase 4 rotors in order to get a free ultra. Now, that is a fantastic deal, but considering an ultra is about $60,000 (to my knowledge), can you imagine what 4 rotors would be? I thought that a rotor was about $5000, it's probably more like $15,000 or more, if they offer for you to buy 4 and get a FREE ultra. I will say that I would much rather these bosses of ours buy a new one, because the one that I destroyed was obtained by our lab used. Used ultras are probably not the greatest plan, but they are so so so expensive sometimes that's the only way to get one.

And I had a new thought. I love "sex and the city", and i can compare this experience with something from the movie:

Carrie Bradshaw: What makes you think something bad is gonna happen?
Charlotte York: Because! Nobody gets everything they want! Look at you, look at Miranda. You're good people and you two both got shafted. I'm so happy and... something bad is going to happen.
Carrie Bradshaw: Sweetie, you shit your pants this year. I think you're done.

So, here's hoping that the centrifuge destriction compares to charlotte shitting her pants and that now i'm done.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

to blog

as i am attempting to grow up and leave school (after 23 years in school, it's time), I need a forum in which to say whatever i want to for the day.

i am entirely too easily distracted from writing my thesis and doing experiments, but if I can focus my distractions by writing something here, maybe I'll be inspired to write my thesis. Or i hope so! i need something to motivate me.

so, a list of my distractions
1. i am thinking that when adam and i move to indianapolis we should buy a house and quit throwing our money at bad landlords. so, i have talked to a real estate firm and am working on filling out forms to get a mortgage broker to figure out how much we can borrow. and i'm looking through many pictures of houses. there are lots and lots of houses for sale (this market is so sad, another reason why i should buy now) and so i can kill hours looking through houses. so much more fun than writing my thesis.
2. this election. i am paying way too much attention when i already know who i am voting for. i check out several websites every day to see what the electoral vote predictions are for that day. i will say that today was my favorite so far, with obama having 335 electoral votes (including ohio, virginia, and florida) and mccain only 185. it was so pretty. again, so much more fun than writing my thesis (though creates unnecessary anger at times). if you're interested in the websites i like most: and
3. my puppy. little spunky munchkin is absolutely hilarious and i would much rather play with her than write my thesis.
4. the bonnie hunt show. i'm not a super huge fan of talk shows, but the bonnie hunt show is hilarious. i have always liked bonnie hunt, and her new show is so entertaining. i really want to watch it every day, and i don't need to do that!
5. countdown with keith olbermann. this is again distracting because of the election, but it is a separate source of distraction. i need to stop watching tv, and yet these shows pull me in and i can't seem to turn them off.
6. the sex and the city movie. i love it. i cannot help it, and since it came out i've watched it twice. retarded, i know, it's been out for a week and 2 days. why do i have such an obsession with movies, i wonder??
7. harry potter. i know, the series is over, it has been for well over a year. and yet i love it and i read it to fall asleep at night. and i read it to help me fall back asleep when i wake up in the middle of the night. and i should be reading scientific papers. they would certainly help me fall asleep faster.
8. waking up in the middle of the night. i have been unable to sleep two nights in a row for a few weeks now. last night i was tossing and turning for a couple of hours. this is not healthy. i'm starting to wonder if i should take nyquill before i go to bed just so that i sleep all night. it's getting old really really fast.
9. the centrifuge destructor. who is me. on monday i was doing an experiment, one that i have done many many times in my 5.5 years at purdue, that ends with a centrifugation step with spinning at 39000 rpm, or 150000 xg for that specific centrifuge. something bad happened (i'll find out tomorrow i hope when the beckman guy comes out to look at it). i think that the centrifuge froze and the rotor kept spinning which resulted in the rotor destroying the inside of the centrifuge and luckily not launching out of the centrifuge and lodging into whatever wall it happened to find first. centrifuges are extremely dangerous, and now that i've used one completely correctly (i balanced my tubes despite the constant questioning if i did, that makes me angrier by the minute) and it still exploded, i don't ever want to use a centrifuge again. and i need to perform that exact same experiment at least 12 more times to graduate (a quick guess). i have been so traumatized by that lovely experience that i haven't been able to work this week. i am so afraid that i will break something else that i have been doing the least amount of work that i have to. i am looking forward to a new week and being able to start over. just to give you an idea of what i destroyed: an ultracentrifuge of this size is $60,000-70,000 and a rotor is probably $5,000-6,000. Both of these pieces of equipment were very old and were working on borrowed time (as my boss put it). I am traumatized for life.

I think that I can end my list there and say that I am going to Chicago tomorrow to see family, and go to the midwest enzyme chemistry conference on saturday. i am pumped for this weekend, especially because i think that i need to have a big bang to separate my this week from the rest of my career at purdue. but i also think that when i need to use an ultracentrifuge, someone else will be pushing the start button for me