Sunday, August 16, 2009

Does summer really have to end?

I am not sure if I want to be a teacher. But the one bonus over doing research full-time is having the summers off. Okay, okay, I realize I spent two months doing research, but it was my choice. School work officially begins tomorrow and I am deeply saddened to end this fun time. Back to the grind of lecture writing, grading, and meetings. At least I have a job.

Speaking of jobs, I am pondering what I should do with myself when I move to Alaska. Should I try to get an adjunct position teaching? Should I write a grant and collaborate with someone up there doing research? Should I leave academics and find something else to do? So many choices.

I realize many of my friends are going through similar changes. Any suggestions on how to deal?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tying up loose ends

Somehow the past two months have slipped by and I only managed to update the blog once while I was in Maine. It has been a crazy summer but the last couple weeks have been the craziest. On the 14th of July, I gave a talk at the Frenchman Bay Crustacean Symposium. It was followed by a lobster bake complete with lobster, corn on the cob, potato salad, steamed mussels and blueberry pie. Yum. Here are some pics from the evening:

Me with my former post-doc advisors and their son:

The view from the lobster bake site in Somesville:

The lobsters:

Me with my dinner!

Then the very next day I went out on an all day boat trip to collect copepods.

I got seasick. Barfed right over the edge. This has never happened to me, but I had all the signs it was coming. Shaky, weak legs, cramping in my stomach and legs, hot flash, and puke. Luckily, only one of the passengers saw me; she gave me ginger to settle my stomach and I felt relatively fine the rest of the trip.

Our copepod collection trip piggy-backed on the boat via a Marine Mammals course being taught at College of the Atlantic. The ten other passengers, therefore, were not interested in our little copepods, rather what was eating the copepods. We saw whales! A set of finbacks, a minke, and the highlight of the trip: a humpback female and her calve. They were having "breaching lessons":

Here is one of the breaching:

I will try to post a cool video or two as well when YouTube gets their act together-

In the meantime, I am trying to wrap up my last week and a half here in MDI. The students are presenting their work next Tuesday which means that I am spending lots of time on the confocal microscope capturing some images for their posters. I will leave on the 31st and hopefully meet sir Keelay in Pennsylvania where we will visit the environs of where I grew up - The Grand Canyon of PA, the old berry picking spots, Lyman Lake... we're going to hit them all. And I'll get to see my precious pup. Sure do miss her:

and, of course, Jasper the cat too!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hallo from Maine

I have a few moments this morning to reflect on the past month up in Downeast Maine. Working at the BioLab has been amazing!

A usual day involves dissecting some part of the nervous system of a crustacean-typically a green crab, sand crab, a lobster or a copepod. The copepods, of course are pretty small, so the dissection is challenging and involves some microdissection skills I garnered during my post-doc. The unfortuante part of working with copepods is that they are too small to EAT. Not so with the larger crustaceans. The poor lobsters and crabs have tiny nervous systems and a whole lot of muscle. And we aren't doing anything with their claws!

So I am looking for some recipes. I found one so far involving artichokes, cream and lobsters but haven't had time to make it yet. Preferably I need something quick. I need my extra time to work on this manuscript I have been putting off for, gulp, a year now.

To top off the wonderful eats, Maine has delicious produce and blueberry season is just around the corner. There is a large lobster pot in my cottage that may fit some jars, so in my best procrastinating, I may set out to make some jam / jelly as well.

In summary, working in Maine is awesome, but there are several distractions. I will write another post about the biking around Mount Desert Island. And all the old housemates/ guesthousemates that are coming to visit next month. And the trip to Colorado over the Fourth. And all the manuscripts that WILL get written!!! Just need some focus!

And for the electricity to stay on. Just had a flutter. Happens quite often, and typically when one of my students is trying to run a PCR. Or when my hard drive with all my data is still connected to the outlet. I better go check it...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Columbus baseball

K and I beat the rain tonight and headed to a Columbus Clippers game against the Charlotte Knights. We were getting killed when we left in the middle of the 6th inning, but it was nice going out and supporting the local team (update, mid 8th, score is 1-11, ouch!). Being at the game reminded me of a Sidewinders game except without the beer specials. Was it a "Thirsty Thursday" special the Sidewinders used to have? The Huntington ball park is brand new, so the only promotional deal we lucked into from our scalped tickets was entrance into the Toyota Zone, where the beers were more expensive and you had to tip the bartender. So much for a deal. But it was fun and it would be nice to go back if I wasn't leaving for two months on Friday. Ohio is so nice in the summer, but I have a feeling Maine will be quite nice too. I probably won't write on here very much, but stay tuned for sporadic updates. Until then, happy summer (ooh, except for K who still has 3 more weeks of teaching because the OSU is on quarters!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh crap!

I forgot I had a blog.

For the last two weeks or so I totally forgot about you, poor blog. Did you miss me?

Busy? Yes. The semester at Denison has drawn to a close and I have two weeks to figure out how to pack K's car full of all the things I need to take with me to Maine. A thermocylcer. 100 petri dishes. Pipettes, beakers, flasks, oh my! How will it all fit?! Now, have I been as busy as some of you? Pro'ly not. Two babies were had. A PhD defended while taking care of a 4 month old. I feel pretty lame for mentioning "busy" compared to all that.

In my spare time finishing up the semester I have also been wedding planning. Wedding planning is just now becoming tolerable and fun. I did not enjoy it at first and I blame my hatred towards the many things wedding-related that are commercial and consumer driven and just plain lame. Perhaps the best advice came from one of my fellow bloggers, "Do what makes you happy, not what anyone else expects you to do. That, and generous amounts of booze." Amen, brother B! Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A mountain bike heaven in Ohio?

Yesterday K and I decided to ignore our colds and headed up to Mohican State Park. We had previously seen some signs for a 25 mile loop and read about a 100 mile mountain bike race held there (Sat. May 30th. Just in time to get in shape, lol). So off we went to check it out.

Boy, was it beautiful. A nicely paced climb up through a deciduous / hemlock mix that smelled and felt a lot like riding in Flagstaff. When you got to the top of the loop, you just went up and down some bluffs along the Clear Fork Creek Gorge. Fun, fast, not too demanding or technical, but still challenging in places. It was heaven. Not to mention the spring wildflowers peaking their little head out from under the leaves just about everywhere you looked. 84 degrees and it just was one of those perfect days, capped by some Shiner Bocks waiting in a cooler, chilled by a frozen, roasted turkey breast that we later thawed and grilled for dinner. Gaffney faired a little less well, with the heat and her aging hips slowing her down. But she cooled off in the river and didn't bother any of the dogs along the trail, so it was a successful day.

Enjoy some pictures of beautiful Ohio!

Kyle along the trail

A yellow violet

Gaffers, fresh from the river

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm almost to the finish line of my first year of teaching at Denison. Only 2 1/2 lectures remain. Shoo. I am relieved for the summer so I can do some research again. I will be up at the Mount Desert Island Marine Lab, near Bar Harbor, ME if you want to swing by!

More later. Congrats to all the new PhD's and soon-to-be mothers in the blog audience. Good luck to you all!

Friday, April 10, 2009


K and I are headed to Pittsburgh tonight to meet up with Clint, Sarah, Ms. Buns, and Sgt. Brown (oh and soon to be Baby B!). I love visiting Pittsburgh-my favorite part is coming out of the tunnel on 279 and then-BAM- there is the city, laid out in front of you with all its bridges to the right, and the stadiums to the left. I don't know why but it always gives me a happy feeling. Last time we visited Clint et al., we rode up the Duquesne Incline to Mt. Washington and had cocktails overlooking the city. We also ate at the restaurant where S works-Legume- it was delicious. If you live in P-burgh, you should DEFINITELY check it out. This time we plan on antiquing, with inspiration provided by all the Antiques Road Shows we have been watching these last few months. Is it really possible to find such treasures? I am hoping Pittsburgh is just the town for diamonds in the rough.

Then on Saturday afternoon it's off to my brother's new house in the 'burbs of Pittsburgh for some good old-fashioned three year old birthday party action. My niece turned three earlier in the week and we will celebrate this momentous occasion with the rest of the family. I am trying to see my family a lot while I am on the east coast. Visits will be fewer and farther between when we live up in the great Northwest.

Happy Easter weekend to everyone. I wish I were in Portland, OR, at a certain someone's Easter party!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A clean spring house

I hate cleaning. But yesterday, the inner compulsive side of me emerged and cleaned. And cleaned. Back aching, spring cleaning but boy did it smell fresh and look nice and tidy.

For about an hour.

Two animals with muddy paw prints (and noses), misplaced shoes, a blanket gone awry. The clean is so fleeting. Just like spring.

I am trying to enjoy Ohio now since I will be gone to Maine for most of the summer and then next year we will move to a whole different state. This is the last spring Kyle will have in Ohio, but I'll get one more. I hope it is as beautiful as this year.

I will try to take pictures later of our beautiful flowers, buds on the trees, and little animals basking in the big backyard. Days like yesterday and today (weekends in general with my family) make me very happy indeed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More news...

The other news I forgot to mention last time...we're getting hitched.

Drs. Hampson , Drs. Wilton or Drs. Wampton? You decide...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An update!

Aloha, loyal blog readers. March has quickly flown by without so much as a peep from this newly revived blogger. I promise to try to blog more often in the next coming weeks. There is much to talk about indeed:

#1: As you may have already heard, this blog will soon be called, "The other Alaska bloggers" or maybe , "I wish I were Alaskaboy" or "A-LASK-A". In any case, K has accepted a job up in Anchorage so we will soon be neighbors with our great friends from the north. I am excited about this move for a number of reasons and terrified for some too, but I will spend many a blog posting on those thoughts another day.

#2: I had a great trip in Telluride last week visiting with my sister and soon-to-be-married cousin, Elaine. Along with brief discussion of wedding details, we hit the slopes for three days mainly on blue cruiser hills, but occasional double black diamond hills when I got up my confidence enough. Here is actually an image of me on the slope, "Confidence":

This photo was taken on the third day, a day that I was really quite terrified to go down anything steep. While I normally have no fear of skiing down big hills, I took quite a spill on the 2nd day of skiing that left me rather rattled. KK, luckily, was above me when I supermanned down the hill, so she could slide my skis down to me. I don't really like falling, but will consider a ski helmet in the future as I age and get weaker on the skis. Especially considering we heard the story of Natasha Richardson when we got back. I am not sure if a helmet would have prevented an epidural hematoma but it probably couldn't hurt, right? This story is also interesting because we have been talking a lot about cerebrovascular accidents in my Neuro class this semester. Locked-in syndrome (like in the movie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) is probably the most fascinating case. Watch the movie, it's good!

#3: Where was I? Oh yes, it is my favorite time of year. Spring! And currently the month when some of my most wonderful friends were born (yeah, Aries!). In no particular order, Happy birthday to: Melissa, Steph, Carla, Kim, Megan, Megan, Sarah (the 12th, I think!), and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone.

#4: More news later, I have to get back to work!

Friday, March 06, 2009


Thank goodness it is finally spring! We got out on the road bikes yesterday. We have a beautiful path that goes alongside the Olentangy River for about 7 miles each way, plus we add a loop through a neighborhood at one end to bring the grand total of the ride to about 17-18 miles. The weather was so nice yesterday but windy. We had a tail wind going up the river, but I was really hurting even with the help of the wind. A winter of sloth has led to very sore muscles today.

The good news is that I get to count my bike ride as part of Denison's Exercise Challenge. Biking for 1 1/2 hours counts the same as a 1/2 hour work (one activity), which I found out the hard way after skiing last week for 4 hours (1 activity). My total activities for the first 6 weeks only totaled 29. Sadness. I just can't work out in the winter. Hence the need for inspiration for running. If you have any more ideas, let me know!

In other news....Lame Cocks :(

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

The anticipation is KILLING me!

So much waiting here in Ohio. I am waiting to hear about a summer job in Maine. I am waiting to hear about whether we need to change the name of this blog to a different state again. I am waiting for spring. And the biggest thing I am waiting for....

Thursday night's SC vs. Tennessee game.

It all comes down to this, folks. K will be crossing his fingers. Wear your garnet to support the Cocks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grammar junkies

You can probably tell from my writing that I forgot much of the grammar I learned back in elementary school. One thing I have a huge problem with is remembering when I is the subject vs. the object.

It looks like I am not alone. It's nice to know that the president has this problem as well.

But give the man a break. (And maybe this man too). When you are speaking, you have no chance of editing what comes out of your mouth. Sometimes it is going to be grammatically incorrect, or not make sense at all. Having taught now for two years, I know this feeling well. "Did I really just say that?!" Ah, lecture in three hours...

One of my goals in starting this blog again was to practice writing. And to share the adventures of Kyle and me. No, that can't be's Kyle and I, isn't it? Or is it better to say "share Kyle and my life"? Or is it lives at that point?

I give up!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Go see Coraline in 3D

Hit up the matinee for Coraline yesterday and it was AWESOME! (This is C, btw; I was too lazy to log out K). I read Neil Gaiman's version of this in grad school and I loved the story. But the movie, wow, what a clever, kind of creepy, awesome film. You can't go wrong with flying angel Scotty dog-bats. And half-naked, well-endowed 80 year old actress cartoons. OH and the mouse circus! Bravo!

Read this NY Times article if you would like to learn more. This is the first stop-motion animated feature done in 3D. Curious as to how they make 3D movies? From the article:
The stereoscopic 3-D the filmmakers were using was created by taking a picture for the left eye, moving the camera a preset distance and taking another one for the right eye.
For a stop-motion film, this means moving the grass, the trees, everything each frame. Wowser.

Sixty million dollars was worth it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Brewsky's Saturday

I miss writing on the blog. Facebook has satisfied some of my primal urges to talk about my life, but the one line updates can't compete with the long, open space permitted by the blog format. It's not that my life is particularly exciting, but I kept a journal most of my life and I just have this urge to document it, however mundane and banal it may be. Living in Ohio has actually been quite exciting and I have had the itch to start this again without any follow through for six months now. And so, this morning, I awoke with a goal. Spruce up the blog and write something new!

Since July when we moved to Columbus, we have explored quite a bit of Ohio, and many of the state parks we visted are incredibly beautiful and wonderful places. You can see some of the pictures we took above in the heading. But this weekend, it got cold again after a small bout of spring, and it is, quite frankly, a bit depressing. So K had the idea of going to watch the UCLA / Arizona game this afternoon. I looked on the internet for a sports bar with good ratings, since the last one we went to this fall to watch a USC game was abysmal. Brewsky's sports bar, a mere 2 miles away, was described as, "Nice laid back sports bar with large screen tv and lots of pool tables and cheap drinks" and "Great service , the two ladies that work the weekend nights knew my whole party ' s drink order after the first round." Good enough...

What a fun afternoon we ended up having! The clientle included a ~65 yo man with 4 PhD's (one in molecular biology), a Boston man who is a self-made handicapper (K talked to him for quite some time about his favorite subject), and a retired handyman who can't stay retired cause he has to "support his favorite habit: drinking". Everyone was friendly. The bartendress knew our names, our drinks, our love of the Wildcats, all without batting an eyelash. You could tell that everyone loved the place. I can't even imagine how crazy it gets during an OSU football game.

We will probably go back. We don't go out to bars much anymore, but it is nice to know that there is one out there that is friendly with decent food, and clean, nice-smelling bathrooms. The little things matter, you know?

As a side post, this weekend is the Kaimana Klassik frisbee tournament in Hawaii. Wish I were there, Sally. Wish I were there!

p.s. Wildcats won. Barely. They had a 25 point lead at one point that narrowed down to nine at the end. Shoo. Way to pull it out. Bear Down!


Blog under construction. Ohio news to come!