Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A week in the Life - Wednesday

Somewhat "closer" to a normal day today......!

Morning - woke up at 5am, eye felt much worse so got up and checked, and yes much more swollen than yesterday! Argh. Cup of tea and a hot pack to encourage it to drain, which it is now most certainly doing! Breakfast of homemade yogurt, an english muffin and jam, antibiotics and painkillers, wrote a couple of emails. Got into work at ~8am, had my first cup of coffee. Nice woman in the department came in and gave me the numbers of her dermatologist who she loves (so i have an appt with them next week) and their doctor in case I need another one - it's so nice to get recommendations, I find it so hard to do the doctor search. 9am went up to the Dean's office to sort through my work visa paperwork. Slogged through for half an hour, now waiting on the secretaries to do some more, and have another meeting tomorrow. Getting there. 10am meeting with the undergrad officer to "train" me in how to pay my fabulous undergrad assistant, that took about an hour. Back and another cup of coffee, couple of work phone calls and some manic emails flying around about (yet more) proposals. Stomach is off (from antibiotics) so had a Jamba Juice lunch with a colleague, talked proposals and how to deal with this students other advisor.

Afternoon - Finally caught up with this students other advisor. He's the type of scientist who gives scientists a bad name, and I never want any student who ever comes through my lab to be like that, and that's all i'm going to touch on the subject. Undergrad assistant started at 1pm, showed her how to stain slides and set her off sectioning and staining. She's still fabulous! I can totally just leave her to it and I love that, and she seems to really enjoy it! Came home at 4pm, via the bank to drop off a check (finally reimbursed from Canada) and then home. Pulled off the dressing on my eye and had a good clean - phew - looks so much better now! Totally gross, but it's doing what it needs to do! Lay on the couch with a hot pack on my face and dropped off for half an hour. Went upstairs to pay my rent check, chatted with Alison and Les on the deck and watched the sunset.

Evening - Put some banana bread into the breadmaker, dinner of couscous and chicken and vegetable stir fry. Made some soap (from bases so not the cold-pour), watching the third series of MI5 from Netflix. Pulled the ingredients out of the freezer for a tofu indian curry for tomorrow (one of the Dean's secretaries told me I had to eat spicy food to fight infection, she's so cute!), and i've been looking forward to a korma for a while, maybe i'll see if Laura can come around, pay her back for taking me to the doctor yesterday.

Picture of the day - the beautiful sunset tonight, very orange!

Happy Birthday Jack!

Happy Birthday nephew Jack!
Seven this year, who would have thought it......

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Week in the Life - Tuesday

What an interesting week to do this. Not totally representative I promise - maybe i'll just have to do it again in a few months!

Morning - so i'm going to admit to taking some left over painkillers from my arm last night to help me sleep, and as a result slept right through to 6am and woke feeling refreshed. Got up and put the kettle on and then sunk a little bit, my eye was not looking any better, in fact more swollen. Sigh. Cup of tea in bed while writing emails, caught up with some antarctic buddies and then shower and breakfast of oatmeal (with raisins and cranberries). Went into work at 8am, had a cup of coffee, tried again to raise this faculty from yesterday to talk over this issue (which I am still too mad about to talk about), but did not connect. Wrote a few emails. 10am and my meeting with a student and postdoc to knock their heads together about some samples (not my students, but over a histology issue, so I offered to help them figure it out) . Actually went really well, both willing to share and compromise and we worked out a good plan. Took them to the lab, taught the postdoc to section on the microtome, left them to it at 11.10. Cancelled my other morning meeting as the only time the Dr could fit me in was 11.30. Laura came with me in case I couldn't drive back. He tried numbing it (why does that bit hurt more than anything??) with limited success and so started draining. He was super nice and gentle, but I worry he wasn't harsh enough on it so hasn't drained it enough, but he was worried about scarring. He wants me to see my eye doctor, so i'll try and get there tomorrow, and I guess if it needs more draining my eye doctor will probably do it.

Afternoon - Laura did drive me home (first time she's driven in the US - woo hoo Laura!), more because i was trying to keep pressure on my eye than I couldn't, it was helpful. Picked up more antibiotics (ug). Came home had a cheese sandwich, celery and carrots with goats cheese for lunch. Hot cloth on the eye, some crappy TV and a nice nap. Finished the National Geographic proposal and that got submitted - yay! Wrote some more emails, talked to the student and postdoc to check they did okay after i'd gone and they did great. The afternoon kind of whiled away after that, did a little on some job applications (hoping to finish one this evening), vacuumed, napped, hot clothed, doodled on facebook and blogs, ate some chocolate (thanks Mum!). Opened a parcel from Nicola, that made me smile! Started working on another crochet project. Dinner tonight was the last of the tuna pasta bake (one of my favorite dishes, I don't care how boring it is!) and an ice pop, watching Cake Off on TV (i'm addicted to that show!). Watered the garden, the lettuce is really coming up now, as are the beans. Had a gecko drop on me when I opened the door. It happens a lot, but still scares the shit out of my everytime.

Tonight more hot cloths, hope to finish at least one job application. Sigh, another not too productive day, but tomorrow promises to be a busy one, so I guess chill now, as i'm going to have to face people tomorrow with a face that still looks like i've been in a fight. The student today was cute, she said she hoped I had won.

Hope you've all had a good tuesday!

Picture of the Day - my owwie (post draining, and no i'm not gross enough to actually show it). Shame i'm not teaching this week, the undergrads might have sat still and listened.....

No dice

Or should I say no So not looking forward to this day.....

Monday, September 28, 2009

But I want to be a lion....

My friend Annette just sent me this. It made me laugh and feel less sorry for myself.....:0) From the Cheezeburger collection

A Week in the Life - Monday

Blah. That should be the title of this post. I guess after such a fun sunday it was inevitable monday would suck. Basically I got very little sleep last night as my eye was really sore and just not draining. It looks so ready to go. So when I finally gave in at 6 am and got up I decided I would just run into work, get some work to take home and work at home all day.

Morning - This morning I woke up early, went straight for the hot cloth to try and encourage this abscess on its way. Unfortunately when I have the hot cloth on there I pretty much can't do anything else, as a) it hurts and b) my eye ends up being totally covered and I have to hold it on there, so I find it impossible to work on the computer. After my breakfast of tea, berry smoothie and english muffin and toast I took a hot shower (again trying to encourage it to go) and headed into work. Dropped by the lab and looked in on a student (who's first words were "wow, are you okay?" at the sight of my eye). Tried to deal with a major issue with this students other advisor that i'm just so angry about I don't even want to deal with it, maybe for another post (and after emails and playing phone tag all day we still haven't resolved it). Finally got to my office and downloaded a bunch of files onto a drive to take home. Stopped by the post office on the way home and into Safeway and grabbed some fresh juice (orange and pineapple), grapefruits and some cheese (comfort foods) and went home to tylenol, more hot cloths, goats cheese and carrot snack, and actually a nap, that was nice.

Afternoon - uploaded a bunch of files online to a proposal i'm trying to submit, discovered i'm still missing some small vital information from collaborators (argh - this proposal is so futzy), emailed a lot of work stuff (actually caught up with some emails i've been needing to write so that was good) and did some online research for another proposal (too many proposals). More hot cloths, more tylenol, more crappy TV. Lunch of Sunchips, a chocolate bar and a cheese and lettuce sandwich. More hot cloths and my eye is still sore, emailed my friend Jenny to see if she would be around tomorrow to get me to and from the doctor if necessary, she will so that's good as i'm pretty sure I won't be driving after that. I'm so hoping it drains before then, I am so not looking forward to having it done right there, right on my face. Unless my eye does it's thing overnight, i'll call the doctor in the morning and get in in the afternoon (I have meetings all morning) to get it drained. Then a migraine decided to hit (nice timing), so more hot cloths and Imitrex and another half hour nap (that stuff knocks me out). Migraine is still with me which is a pest, but it's gone to a low level which is better. It just got really hot in here too with the afternoon sunshine.

This evening, I have left over tuna pasta bake for dinner, i'm going to try and go out for a short walk just to get some air, more crappy TV i'm sure. What an unproductive day. Ug.

Update - well the evening wasn't a total wipe out (though still not a highly productive day) - I went for a 30 minute walk which made me feel more up, watered my garden and then sat on the couch and edited a 2 page pre-proposal. Then ate my tuna pasta and a banana for dinner. I'm also on my last day of steroids, so am having a (weak) G&T to celebrate while catching up on blogs.

Picture of the Day - the view from the couch.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Week in the Life - Sunday

What a fun and relaxing day for my first "Week in the Life" post!

This morning - I woke up at 7am, but managed to roll over and go back to sleep until 8am, got up and got a cup of tea, small berry smoothy and some Jaffa Cakes (thanks Mum!) and went back to bed. Sat emailing and doodling on the internet (facebook!) until 10am. Nice! Got up, ate some oatmeal with cranberries and raisins, showered, worked a little on a christmas craft project, did the washing up, cleaned the kitchen (including the microwave - man that needed it!), packed up all my camping gear finally (from Canada!), did a bit more on the craft project and sat down to watch TV while having a cheese sandwich and two large glasses of Nuun electrolytes (still trying to rehydrate after a 12 mile run yesterday). Emailed some more, looked around for fun things to do on the Big Island when my dad comes over next week (he and his wife are over for two weeks - we're all going to the Big Island for 3 days, then they're going to island hop - so fun!).

This afternoon - chatted with Laura R. (from Woods Hole) on the phone, talked about a proposal we're debating submitting, caught up on business, whined about bad scientists, it was good to catch up! Then drove down to Laura G's and we went to Home Depot. Bought some herbs and pots for my front porch, a stepladder for my lab and she bought some anti-cockroach materials (draft excluder tapes, not chemicals). Then off to Waikiki, we had ice-cream in mind. I had a voucher for the Cold Stone Creamery, but after driving into Waikiki, I found I had left it at home. By this time our hearts were set on ice-cream so we went for it anyway. It was the Honolulu Century Ride today (112 miles - the ride that inspired part of the IronMan - alongside the Waikiki Rough Water Swim - 2.4miles - and the Honolulu Marathon - 26.2 miles) - so Kapiolani park was really busy, but we found parking and walked past a lot of tired looking cyclists. I had a Mint Oreo creation, it was very tasty, and we sat on a bench facing the ocean and caught up on gossip. After we decided to walk through Waikiki, it can be quite fun just people watching, and Laura wanted to find a present for her sister. Well, we ended up at the Royal Hawaiian, also known as the Pink Palace - the oldest (and most expensive) hotel on Waikiki, and well, the bar was calling, so we sat down on the exclusive Patio and had a $10 Mai Tai (actually, not a bad price for Hawaii) and some fries. It was a gorgeous spot I have to say, I haven't been there before.

After drinkies we walked back through Waikiki (where a drunk had collapsed in the middle of the street and there were a gazzillion police cars, ambulance and fire trucks around) and back to the car. Dropped Laura off, came home, potted my herbs and am now watching Extreme House Makeover, one of my favorite programs. Dinner, not sure, still full on ice-cream and fries, so maybe i'll just go for a sandwich or english muffin and jam later. I need to vacuum, so will pull up stakes in a minute and do that.

Hope you've all had as relaxing and fun a sunday as me (or more so!).

Picture of the Day - The view from the Royal Hawaiian Patio Bar, Diamondhead Volcano.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Weekend!

A day of ups and downs, luckily the ups came at the end of the day. This morning I woke up guessed it.........another abscess. Ug. This time right by my eye. Luckily small so it's barely noticeable. Back to the doctor, and he wasn't worried about draining it, so just keep an eye on it (ha ha) and do the hot compress thing, hope it does it's own natural thing. This one apparently looks like a blocked duct, supposedly common in hot and humid Hawaii. The steroids are working though thank goodness, much much less itchy.

But the day got much better. I snuck out of work today and had lunch with Jenny and Hannah at Chilis, was so nice. Then I had an undergrad lab assistant start this afternoon. This is a girl who has worked with one of my grad students before, so I knew she's super nice and motivated. I'd finally come to the conclusion this week that I just don't have enough time in the day to do everything, and i'm not getting in the lab as much as I would like to (ever?). I'm struggling with my salary at the moment, so it seemed hard to consider hiring someone, but I need publications right now, so bit the bullet and just hope to hell I get funding in January.

So I hired a lab assistant. I would love to hire an already trained person, higher up, but undergrads are cheap in comparison, and this girl has asked me a few times if I could teach her histology. Histology is one of those things you just get or you don't and struggle (it's called more of an art than a science), so it could have gone either way. She was awesome, totally got it, a notetaker, and said after 2 hours slicing on her own that she had fun and really enjoyed it. So i'm excited, this could really help me get back on track with results. Cross fingers it continues this way!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A week in the life....

I had some time this morning to catch up with some friends blogs and have noticed a few posting "a day in the life" type posts. Steffi set out a day comparison between her and her husband, and Mark posts his daily activities (including miles driven, cycled, walked and run) while his wife Cheryl is away in Antarctica (and if you haven't checked out their Green-Build in New Hampshire, you really should!). 

So this got me thinking - where does the day go? Why do I always seem to get home and feel like I have done nothing all day? Can I be more efficient in my day? 

So I have decided to do a weeks worth of posts - one post a day, with my daily activities listed out (i'll carry my trusty notebook to make sure I don't miss anything - or I may update throughout the day). Everything, from meetings to doodling on facebook at lunchtime to what I had for dinner. May not be the most exciting week of posts for you guys out there, but it might just help me pin down ways i'm not being efficient with my time. I'll start on Sunday! 

And as I enjoy seeing what people get up to on a day-to-day level - anybody else want to join me in my "week in the life"?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I was right.....


The Itchy and Scratchy Show!

Well, i'm still itching. Still itching since I went to Canada. That is nearly 2 months now. Not only is it driving my totally insane (esp. since it just got really hot here in the last few days) I am also terrified i'm going to get another abscess in my other armpit (which is now raw again). So I finally went to the doctor today and i'm now on steroids for a week to try and sort out whatever it is (he thinks some kind of allergic reaction). Blah is all I can say. Blah. But if it stops me itching, it'll be worth it, my skin has just had it. And it would be nice to be able to wear deodorant again sometime i'm sure my co-workers will agree......:0)

Monday, September 21, 2009


What a day. I'm toast and it's only 5.30pm! I had several phone meetings to do today that started at 8am, followed by sitting in on my undergrad class to watch a lecture by the other professor (geologist). Now that was interesting. Times have oh so changed. 

None of the undergrads know me yet, as I don't start teaching them until November (Science of the Sea - our basic undergrad course that has 400 students in it from across all disciplines). I snuck in and sat at the back left hand corner and watched. Watched as people walked in and out throughout the hour. Watched as people (20 at my count just from the ones I could see!) doodled on Facebook throughout the entire class. Watched as cell phones were brought out and many texts sent. Watched as earphones were plugged in and other material read through. All while the class was in session. I still remember a lecturer stopping the class, walking to the back and prodding a couple of people who were sleeping in my undergrad days! To the geologists credit, he just kept on going. I guess you develop a knack for ignoring it and ploughing through, getting to the students who are listening. Disheartening though! 

I went primarily to watch a new system being used for the first time in this class - iClickers (picture above). I then went to an iClicker class for faculty. It's a very cool system, and chatting to the geologist after (who has been teaching this portion of the class for over 10 years) he is totally sold on them - he said that even last year, before these were used, he used to get less than half the class attend, now it's almost everyone every lecture. Basically every student has one of these handsets (we were told today that over 3000 students at UH now have one) and they have 5 buttons on there. They cost the students $36 and the same ones can be used in any classes that use them (and more and more are), for all their years at university, and when they finish, they can sell them back to the university for 50% of cost. So they're totally accessible to all. Throughout your lecture you throw in multiple choice questions that the students then use the handset to answer.  Once they've all "voted" you then get a bar chart up on the screen seeing how the class answered. 

This can be used in 2 ways - 1) to see how the class is absorbing your material, and re-covering concepts that are not understood, and 2) to mark attendance. All the data is stored from all your classes, so what we are doing in ours is giving out 5% of marks for attendance (so just answering a question per class - you can only miss 2 classes) and 5% for getting the right answer on those tests. On average we'll put in 2 tests per lecture. Pretty cool, I would have loved this when I was a student. The class I took today showed different ways to integrate it into your lectures, so i'll definitely be using some of their suggestions, and am actually excited to start using them. 

And then I had a meeting with a grad student to go over her progress and where she's headed. I enjoy talking to this student, she's fun and totally motivated. And that was my day. One meeting to home to eat, clean up and write. And rest my sore body from yesterdays hike! 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mt Olympus

Today was an awesome day, so much fun! I went for a 6 mile hike up Mt Olympus with my friend Russ, followed by a swim at Kaimana beach and a "Cheese Burger in Paradise" (yes, it's owned by Jimmy Buffet). I'm now back in my apartment nursing my dehydration, stiff legs (I did a ten mile run on saturday too!) and bruised butt (and by bruised, I mean BRUISED).

I wish I had taken a photo of me on this hike, but I forgot. By the end of the hike I was literally covered in mud, all up my legs, my butt and my arms. It's a typical Hawaiian muddy trail, but also steep and really slippy in places. I managed to take a good slip (one of many by both of us) onto a tree root, my right butt cheek is now black. At least the outcome is indicative of how much that hurt, I hate it when you take a good tumble and don't even have a bruise to show for the pain. I've also ascertained my Keens might be beyond their useful tread-life. I kind of knew this, but was hoping to eek them out a little longer....

The hike (topographic map here) -

The trail on the Wa'ahila Ridge trail. This is looking back into Waikiki.

Some beautiful views of Diamond Head volcano.

Looking down Manoa Valley (right - where my house is) all the way to Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. Palolo valley is on the left, we're right up on the ridge between them.

After two hours walking up the ridgeline we finally came to Mt Olympus - this photo is taken from the top looking down to Kailua, on the windward side of the island (the opposite side from where I live, and the opposite from the previous photo). It was gorgeous, but a little cloudy, so this photo looked better in sepia.

Kailua town. It was getting pretty cloudy up here, but otherwise we were lucky with the weather, no rain.

There was a short trail down from Mt Olympus towards Kailua that we investigated, it didn't go too far though. But there was a ton of Korean hikers sat on the Mt Olympus viewpoint, so we didn't feel like sticking around there too long.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It's the weekend! Though a broken night of sleep (it was a hot a sticky one, and the power went out sometime and came back on at 3am, turning on my TV...), I stayed in bed until 9am this morning and feel so much more alive for having caught up with some sleep. Today I have no plans either (other than to go for a long run this evening), so it's been great to have a lazy morning so far.

First thing on the agenda - sand the bases of my new batch of pottery (made and glazed before I went to Canada, fired while I was away). I had enough pieces i've actually used up my sanding blocks, so will have to wander and get some more paper to finish up. This was definitely a mixed batch - some I love, some did not come out so great, but it's all a learning curve. I'm a little sad though, with my teaching load this semester, I think pottery is going to have to take a back seat until after christmas. I was hoping to pull out some pieces for xmas presents, but now don't think that is going to happen. I'll talk to the instructor this week and see if he minds me sitting in now and then just to keep my skills up, he's been great letting me do that, but know this is the busiest season for him, so there may not be any spare wheels. If only there was more than 24hrs in a day....

Tomorrow i'm off on a hike, up Mt. Olympus with a friend, should be fun, as long as it's clear. Apparently you can see the whole island from up there, and one of the trailheads is just behind my house, so it's a good location. From what i've heard it is quite a hike up, so it'll be some good exercise......and we're already planning to top it off with a dip in the ocean and ice-cream. I'll definitely take photos.

So here are some photos for BSA, some of my favorite pieces from this batch!

Lined up on the deck ready for sanding..

Three grades of sandpaper to get the bottoms smooth. The clay the class uses is very sandy, it makes it easier to work with for beginners and you don't have to work so fast. I personally love porcelain, which the instructor had some left over for me to play with once. You have to work much faster with porcelain and can't take it through a million shapes before you decide which one you like (one of my favorite things to do!). I think I might make the switch though, as it's softer to work with and I haven't really got to experiment much with it as yet. That's for my next time!

I need to improve my moniker on the bottom.....

My two favorite mugs so far - aren't they beautiful! These two are actually gifts, and are special. The brown on the bottom is made from Antarctic mud, from my coral site on the Western Antarctic Peninsula. These two mugs will go to my two colleagues Dave and Craig who invited me on their 3 Antarctic cruises, and gave me the time to collect corals just for me.

They came out better than I imagined, and the photo really doesn't do justice to them. I love the way the turquoise dripped down there, not a look for all, but just what I wanted.

Doesn't this bowl just scream ice-cream? It does to me. In fact it might be right now......

I've started making a few of these little goblets. Just the right size for a glass of port....:0) I love the small little beaker,just the right size to fit in the hand, probably the thinnest thing i've made, but alas, the glazing on the inside is a mess!

It's all a learning curve. I can definitely see a pottery studio in my future.


Time to set t' mainsail and sail in t' sunset me hearties - tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

The only day you can talk like a pirate and not be entirely insane!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What are you doing today?

Nicola posted this list today, so I thought I would fill it in myself.....pass it on! 

 a special xmas gift for a small friend
Cooking :
 chocolate mousse
Drinking :
 chocolate macadamia coffee
 my emails
 to read something else
 for a permanent job
 on skype
Wasting: not much, every minute counts

 crochet caps
 to win the lottery and make at least that stress go away
 talking to Adam S. and seeing new pictures of Elise
Waiting: to get motivated to write a paper
 that I biked into work today
 if i'm going to be able to cycle back up my hill today
: my latest batch of pottery
Hoping: I am a good lecturer
Marvelling: at how much I got done last week
 a lie in
 coffee (sorry for the theme here, but it's either that or my stinky sneakers)
Wearing: cropped pants, purple shirt and birkenstocks, my usual work attire

 the Yale murder, so awful
 the piles on my desk, I really need to tidy or move offices (something that should have happened last week)
Knowing: that I do good science, and knowing I just need to be more confident in that

 of tomorrows Red Cross simulation day, should be an interesting and testing experience
Bookmarking: other blogs I read, it's a while since I updated that
Opening: payroll bills
Giggling: at pictures of my time in Canada, now that was fun
Feeling: Like I need another coffee to keep impetus on this day.....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grocery Store Wars

I just found a link to this You-Tube movie on a friends Blog (thanks CL for posting it!). From Free Range Studios......a hysterical way to plug organic veggies......go get your Chewbroccolli.....

Not long ago in a supermarket not so far away. Help fight the dark side of the farm.

Climate Change Affects Beer Supply

Yet another reason to start thinking of ways you can help reduce your emissions.....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Life is all about pacing isn't it. A quote i've heard often now i've become a 1/2 marathon runner (insert big grin here) is that "life is a marathon, not a sprint". How true is that.

I've been keeping up with the running, pretty well (up until my armpit thing), and i've found that I really have no clue how to pace. Just before I went to Canada I decided to purchase this doodad, it's a Nike+ sensor - basically an accelerometer that tells you how far and fast you are going. In theory you purchase an expensive pair of Nikes to put the sensor in (in reality you buy a rip off case to attach it to your laces) and then you wear the wrist band and off you go. As well as it telling you what you're doing on the go, you download it to scrutinize after too and it keeps a record of your runs online to compare to. Although more than a little skeptical at first, I now adore this apparatus and won't run without it. Using this wee gadget I can now actually pace myself properly, and for the first time while I was away actually ran a 7 miler without walking - a first. AND, my overall time was by far a personal best. My regular 5 mile runs were slashed by 15 minutes (from an hour to 45 mins) just by using this gadget to keep me slow and steady, rather than going too fast and having to walk more.

Pacing my runs made me FEEL BETTER too (and no sore shins!), and unlike through my 1/2 marathon training, I actually felt like I could bounce out the next day and do another run!

If only there was a Nike+ sensor for life too. We had the most depressing faculty meeting yesterday. Cuts are still happening around the board, and now we're down to the wire. The Oceanography department has to cut nearly $200,000 from our budget by the end of the year, and, unknown to me until now, it's likely to be much worse next year. We were given a few choices - all permanent faculty take a 5% pay cut, lose our Teaching Assistantships (which many graduate students rely on for salary to get them through graduate school), lose courses (including my undergrad course i've been spending oodles of time on preparing), lose two admin assistants who actually know what they're doing (our two awful admins are employed by the state, so, as much as all want to (and that was brought up in the meeting) we can't fire them, only contract employees), or lose five non-permanent research and teaching positions (again, not me, as i'm 100% funded off of research grants I revolve rather than having a contract they can terminate). Decision, or an alternative plan, has to be made in the coming weeks.

With a meeting like that it only felt like a minor victory that my position is not on the block. Amazingly most people seemed to think losing the Teaching Assistantships are the way to go, yet with one of my PhD students relying on one of those to keep him in graduate school this year, I don't feel this is an option we should consider. How many students will we lose? How many students will we fail to attract if we can't offer TAs? Same with getting rid of courses - the undergrad course I am part of is the largest course we offer - over 400 students from all disciplines take that course each semester, how is it going to look to the wider university community if we drop that course? Will the department still function with this loss of 'young blood'?

And the bigger part of this - pacing. If things are really looking as bad for next year as it seems, we need to pace our response, otherwise there will be nothing left to give next year when times will truly be tough. Nothing except all our jobs that is, like other Oceanography departments around the USA.

Monday, September 14, 2009

High or Low Maintenance...

Well, aside from the shoes and the odd pedicure now and then, I fit into the latter category......:0)

Signs you might be High Maintenance:

1. Grooming & Primping are done in a salon: Examples: haircuts & colors, waxing, facials, mani/pedi's, tanning

2. In combination with each other, there are 5 or more colors, pattens, prints, and/or fabrics you refuse to wear: Examples: pink, yellow, brown, polk-a-dot, floral, animal, leather, polyester, fur

3. You will turn down precious metals or stones based on their color alone: Examples: Gold, brass, topaz, turquoise, coral

4. You own more than 10 pairs of shoes

5. You own more than 10 purses

6. You carry more than 3 lip products at one time.

Signs you might be Low Maintenance:

1. Majority of grooming & primping done at home. Examples: box-dye, sunless tanning lotion, super market scrubs, microwavable waxing kits, you do your own nails.

2. You sleep in your yoga pants and have been known to work out in your pajamas.'

3. You don't have a regular dry-cleaner, and you do all your laundry in cold water.

4. You own less than 10 pairs of shoes.

5. You count your insulated lunch box as a purse.  

6. The only lip product you own is balm.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I really needed this weekend to roll around, this week has been so busy and i've been fighting with a cold all week that, although not a bad one, is persistent and doesn't seem to want to go away. But I'm finally feeling like I am just about getting on top of the pile that is sitting on my desk, just about, still a couple of large things I need to do before I can breath again a little. And of course I need to start ramping up to teaching this undergrad course, bear that that is going to be.......

The weekend has been nice though, I've managed to sleep in on both mornings (and by sleep in I mean 7am, I so wish it would be later, but my body tells me that is a sleep in right now), yesterday I tidied my house (I need to do a good "fall clean"), went for a swim with Jenny and then a colleague at the university was having a wine tasting party (that I generally avoid, but it was good to catch up with people).

Today I need to go to Costco and I want to look at bikes at the bike store. I would like a road bike, but living up a hill am nervous about how much i'll use it so don't want to spend a fortune. I've been looking around craigslist here and haven't come up with anything, so want to stick my nose into the bike store and see what they have - it seems impossible to get a road bike cheap here (anywhere?), and I really don't want a mountain bike as I know that will be too heavy to lug up my hill everyday. I would really like to try a sprint triathlon next year, so having a bike is kind of a pre-requisite for that, and with my knees actually stronger from the running, i'm hoping they might be able to handle cycling again (which is again another unknown and a reason I don't want to spend a fortune). I also need to finish editing a paper today and send that off to New Zealand, would be great to have that one off my plate.

Another thing i've done today is to sign up for our local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event - a 5K race to raise money for breast cancer research and patient support. Breast cancer has recently hit two of my aunts and so it's a cause I like to support. It's also a good way to keep my running motivated. If you'd like to make a donation to this fabulous foundation, i've put a button up on the right where you can donate.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And finally.....

I can shower! Saw the doctor today and he said it looks great and is healing well. Still to keep it covered and goo-ed up with antibiotic cream, and to pass on swimming for a few more days, but I am sooooooooo excited about a shower! I feel like bunking off work to go and take one.....maybe when I clear a few piles off my desk......

Yesterday was a bit of a bear (to say the least), I spent all morning (literally) on the phone with my insurance company trying to sort out all the medical care I got in Canada. Even though i'm foreign to insurance paperwork, i'm not totally convinced if I was a native I would be able to get my head around all the politics. The long and the short of it was that (despite not being told this by the international line I called up in Canada multiple times) I was supposed to get a doctors order from a doctor here for the treatment I received in Canada. I hadn't yet found a primary care physician (like a GP in the UK) to work with, so this caused all kinds of issues, as it was supposed to be them who did it. Luckily I found one yesterday who could see me today and check out my arm, but I was also hoping for his good graces in agreeing to give me the doctors order after the fact and agree with the treatment I was given. This lead to quite a sleepless night, as without that I would be landed with a $3K hospital bill, and he certainly didn't have to do it. 

Luckily he totally agreed with everything they did, and was amazed the insurance company was giving me a hard time about it. So he's agreed to give them anything they need, and I now have a primary care physician! Who knows when it'll come, and i'm sure there will be much more back and forth with my insurance, but at least I know i'll get some of that back eventually. 

So what to do tonight other than take multiple showers (if only my eco-conscious would let me)? Maybe a nice G&T and maybe i'll use up that Ben and Jerrys coupon i've had lying around.....:0)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sleeping Giant - our last day!

Someone figured out how to escape the "Ducky Containment System"....

A short 2 mile hike to the Sea Lion...I got to snuggle with Taylor, she was so sleepy! (photo by Kim)

And here it is. Apparently the top looks like a lion. Apparently....

Out of the cabin and a lunch picnic on the shore of Marie Louise Lake! (photo by Carney)

The on to Silver Islet - a small village at the end of the Sleeping Giant Peninsula.

For Ice-Cream!

And then on the way out, a quick stop at the Thunder Bay Lookout. Quite the cliff, and a platform that stuck out from the end. I'm not such a fan of those platforms, but Sammy went right out there....

Sleeping Giant - Day 3

Day three and a chilled out day! A morning on canoeing - checking those lifejackets fit!

With my armpit still sore, I wasn't sure if paddling (ie - extending and moving back and forward, whereas hiking with a pack on my shoulders and cinched down, wasn't touching or rubbing anywhere below, so worked well luckily) would work, so I got to sit in the middle and entertain Taylor. It was quite the sweet ride!

The water of Marie Louise Lake (the lake we were camped on too), was flat calm and beautiful. Kim taking a photo of......

Bald Eagle! Beautiful!

The family - thanks so much for doing this cabin trip with me!

Lots of Loons, but only one photo - came out great though!
Two little Hawaiian girls! Luckily the weather was nice enough all week to wear these!

An evening board game and beer after the kiddos were in bed. This is after I had come back from the hospital (from one of the more painful visits) so was feeling a little sore and sorry for myself. But I was met with a delicious dinner (Kim is quite the gourmet to take camping!) and some good company for the rest of the evening.

Sleeping Giant - Day 2

A hiking we will go! A full 14 mile day, all the way around the Sleeping Giant. A beautiful day, clear, sunny and just a little breezy to keep it cool on the trail.

Lots and lots of bear tracks and scat, but no, we did not see the elusive bears.

Our first stop on the west side of the Giant (right by the head) at Sawyer Bay, it was gorgeous!

Kim and Sammy, and me and Taylor, enjoying our snack stop at Sawyer Bay. (photo by Carney)

Carney and Sammy enjoying some dadda time, throwing rocks into the water.

Those are the Giant's Knees up there! Still on the west side, facing out to Lake Superior, and about to go over the toes.

The trail was generally good, but there was some ups and downs and trees to climb through, not quite as simple with a kiddo on your back! We pretty much all swopped around packs at one time or another, I had Sammy from Sawyer Bay on and she was awesome at tucking down like a turtle when we passed overhangs and climbed through down trees.

Down from the Toes - now this was STEEP! And slippy in places (Kim took a slide, luckily with just the snack bag on her back and no major damage!). Steep downhills are one thing, with someone elses precious cargo on your back are quite another - I don't think I have ever come downhill so carefully, my quads were burning by the end!

Along the home straight, and the only fussies of the whole 14 mile trail. Carney had run on ahead at this point to move the car from our start point to our finish point (and extra 3 miles for him!), and Kim and I moved the kids along the last 6 miles of nice old logging roads (this is a stretch I have done before on a previous trip too, so I knew it was easy going). Taylor decided she was done with the Ergo, so I carried her like this for ten minutes or so and she enjoyed it, so we swopped Taylor into the backpack where she had more room to play and observe, and Sammy into the Ergo on Kim's back, which is a snugger ride. Sammy wasn't overly happy at this change (Taylor loved the backpack!), but she chilled out and enjoyed the ride after a short while - and soon Dad came back down the trail to take her on his back.

The end of the trail - Perry Bay. Gorgeous.

Sleeping Giant - Day 1

Day One and we arrived around midday. After unpacking the cabin and a light lunch we went for a walk around. We went to the visitor center, checked out the beach and the playpark, and then walked around the 1 mile nature walk, right along a river. Beautiful and a great light start to the vacation.

Taylor enjoyed the scenery too I think, all snuggled with mamma.

Back to the BBQ and.........
(photo by Kim)
(photo by Kim)
Peeking around the deck!

Lots and lots of deer, everywhere!

Sitting in front of the propane fireplace, which we didn't need, as it was so hot, but I bet it would be gorgeous on a chilly winters night (these cabins are available in winter for cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails!).

Enjoying beers and cheese in the covered deck. This cabin is so well insulated, I bet you could even use this deck in the winter!
(photo by Kim)
Getting ready for bed. There were three bedrooms, each with a bunkbed. Mamma and Taylor in one, Dadda and Sammy in another and I had the luxury of my own....:0)

The view from the beach outside our cabin - the Sleeping Giant.