Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A great day!

Three little coral polyps, all the way from Alaska...:0)

Today was one of those days that makes me love what I do. There are so many low sides to science, it's great to have a day that just makes me excited in science. The Alaska samples have been exciting from day 1, but today I got to put them into the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and take a closer look. Initially I was kind of bummed, because the preservation wasn't great, they've all cracked up and didn't dry as well as I would like them. But after looking at several samples I found a bunch of new things - eggs, larvae and even a specialized structure to house those larvae, something that hasn't been described before. I love a puzzle and these corals are certainly that, some exciting things are going to come out of this project!

On top of that I also had a paper accepted for publication, swopped my half of a -80C freezer for a microscope and some supplies (instead of losing it totally to an ass in the department trying to screw me out of it), got two new pieces of equipment delivered and actually got into my own lab for an hour this morning.

Probably sad I know, but this definitely counts as a great day!

Broom broom!

Jenny just sent me this one from her phone......broom broom!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This week

The view I will probably miss the most, the sunset over the city. This is on my regular running route, and on my walk home from work. It's at the top of a KILLER hill, so I always stop to catch my breath and admire the view.

Well, the week certainly started with a bang. Toothache - argh! Went to the dentist today, potential root canal (sigh), but first he tried aligning my bite a little better and seeing if that fixes the problem, oh I hope so, but my luck with teeth, i'm doubting it! This weekend was good, didn't make it to the beach, but I did get to do some pending errands, bought a bunch of packing boxes, ran 12 miles, caught up with Jenny, Doug and Hannah, and did some much needed laundry! I even packed my first box (camping gear from Alaska that had yet to be tidied - might as well just pack it)!

Jenny and Hannah "driving" at the mall this weekend. Often on the weekend i'll meet Jenny and Hannah at a smaller mall just around the corner from their house - it's air conditioned, so a relief in the middle of the day, and Hannah runs around the walkways, expending some of her (never ending!) energy. Jenny and I, well we get a coffee and follow Hannah around, catching up on the week just gone. It's a nice ritual, who knew I would enjoy some mall time! This weekend, for the first time, Hannah discovered the arcade, she spotted the horses and car and stood mesmerized for ten minutes before venturing in. No money was spent, but it was fun to see her play on the "neigh neigh" and the "broom broom".

So my schedule is starting to fall into place. I have a container arriving that will take all my lab and personal belongings to Maine in the first week of November (it takes that long to get there!), at which time i'll move in with Jenny, Doug and Hannah for the last 6 weeks on Oahu (since I spent the first 4 weeks with those guys, we figured why not spend the last few weeks too!), then on the 22nd December I head to Woods Hole, and from there Maine (not sure on the exact date there yet). It's getting there, I think i'll feel better when it's moving in that direction. I called the car people and they're sending me new paperwork, maybe my car will get to go soon....

Friday, September 24, 2010


Sailing into Tracy Arm Fjord. Probably one of the most beautiful places in the world....insert longing sigh here...
Friday never seems to come around soon enough. Boy it's been one of "those" weeks. Culminated today by arriving home, dripping wet (walked in today and it rained on the way home) and receiving my long awaited permission letter from my car loan people to ship my car to Maine (it has to be notorized and all that fun stuff). Yay! Only on careful reading the letter gave me explicit permission to transfer my car to Minnesota. The hours of the company are crappy (well, they are crappy if you're on Hawaii time) so it was hard to get hold of them in the first place, let alone again. Another large sigh. I really want to send my car soon before I have to deal with "winterizing" it (the car companies won't take it without it being winterized past November), so it's just one more thing that needs dealing with, again. If I knew someone in Minnesota I would consider sending it to them right now.......

So went over for a nice G&T with Jenny after work, they've had a crazy week too, today one of the pups decided to jump out of a window after the mailman during the day, breaking the window. It's the second time crazy pup has done that. So in reality a mess up between Maine and Minnesota is a mild thing...:0)

Tomorrow we've all agreed a few hours on the beach in the AM is in order, so I think that's an awesome way to start a weekend, especially one where I know I have to head into work a few times.

Happy weekend everyone!
"Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret."

Miguel Ruiz

Monday, September 20, 2010

Calm, collected and.....oh crap...

Can I have a re-do on monday? Preferably one that involves going back to Alaska? This morning I woke and discovered the sweet smell of gone off milk and yogurt, my fridge had died in the night (turns out the thermostat had died rather than the fridge, which is a good thing), alongside a day full of meetings and students and lab work, from 6am I knew Monday was going to be a Moanday. My landlady was none-too pleased and though got it fixed today which was awesome, was somewhat rude and hard to pin down to what exactly went on (isn't fixing things like that part of what I pay (a small fortune) in rent for?), yeah it probably didn't make her monday either, but still, it's not like I broke it, on purpose, on a monday morning just to piss her off. I'm pretty sensitive to people's feelings, and when someone is wound up and pissy, it makes me stressed, so that has pretty much been my day, that stressed out feeling.

So, in an effort to try and ward of the Moandays, here are my 5 things that made me happy last week (this one is not easy, since the wind down from Alaska has been tough) -

  1. Making the video from the Tracy Arm cruise. Probably pathetic, but I find myself watching it and smiling.
  2. To catch up with Jenny, Doug and Hannah, little H is as cute as ever, and though my name is now "Mary" (she has an aunty mary), she is still adorable!
  3. Alaska samples - processed a few and found some really funky things, this particular project is probably my favorite of the last few years.
  4. Having a colleague stick her head into my office and say "don't go" on a regular basis. Though it makes me sad at leaving, it also makes me feel warm and fuzzy that i'm appreciated.
  5. Looking over all the photos from Alaska. Like the above, there were some very memorable moments. Thanks again to Stian for lending me his camera for the Juneau trip.

Be sure to check out the short public radio link below, I usually hate radio interviews, but I think this woman did a good job with all 4 of us.

On the radio

A lady from Hawaii Public Radio was wandering the building last week and I got interviewed on some of the Antarctic work i'll be headed out to do next year. Short but sweet!

UH Scientists Bound for Antarctica

Saturday, September 18, 2010

First Week Back

Well, i've been back almost a week, and it's been a whirlwind. I have to say too, I miss Alaska. A really beautiful place, definitely on my list of favorites in this world, somewhere I feel like "me". The beauty of the mountains and fjords, the laid back atmosphere, the quiet stillness. The Tracy Arm cruise was a complete success too, I was very very sad not to be diving, but the two people I went with were a lot of fun and we got all the samples we need tagged and ready for this long term experiment. I'm really excited about this project!

Luckily Maine makes me feel like "me" too, and with my return is the return to reality and that in just under 3 months I am making a move across the widest part of the US. When I say this week has been a whirlwind too, I really mean it - in the last 5 days i've not only caught up with work and life, processed the first set of samples from Alaska, ran 20 miles (that marathon is looming!), booked the moving container (12th November), my car is being fixed before shipping, car paperwork to ship it applied for and even booked my flight (22nd December). All this and I still haven't unpacked my camping gear.......

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010


Off on the boat tomorrow morning, so all will be silent for a while again. Today we loaded the boat and were done by midday, so I took myself off on a hike up Mount Roberts, as it was such a beautiful day! 

I didn't go all the way up Mount Roberts, as I wouldn't have had time to get up there and back (and I didn't want to pay for the tramway). This is from just about "Father Browns Cross", beautiful views of Juneau, Auke Bay, and even into the mountains by Glacier Bay if you look way in the background. 

The Gastineau Channel, we'll be headed out in this direction early tomorrow (7am) to the Tracy Arm fjord to work. 

Juneau, Auke Bay (far back) and beyond. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Arrived in Juneau yesterday after a 4 hr delay in Gustavus for weather and went straight to work. Stian has been super nice and leant me his camera for this Juneau portion, so I can still continue to blog and get photos of this awesome experience. The downside to Juneau for me is that it looks like I won't be diving, NOAA changed their rules on us, and to things I don't have, so i'll no longer be diving with the group. I'm pretty bummed about this. But at least I still get to go to Tracy Arm, several people have told it is one of the most beautiful spots in Alaska. After the beauty of Glacier Bay, i'm not really sure that is possible, but we'll see! 

Yesterday as soon as I got off the plane I went to work with Bob Stone in the lab, getting the chemicals ready, getting boxes packed, looking over lists. This morning we did some more packing and took the first of the crates down to the pier, ready to load on the boat on Monday evening. Bob and Michelle then took me on an awesome ~2hr hike at the Mendenhall Glacier, just outside of Juneau. The sun didn't quite shine, but it didn't rain either, and the trail was awesome, some great views. Back from the hike we then went and moved another load of boxes down to the pier, and now i'm officially pooped! 

Photos from the last two days - 

Officially the smallest plane i've ever been on! It was mostly great, was a little bumpy in places though as the weather was still so so. In a normal large plane turbulence doesn't bug me at all, in one with only 4 seats it was a little disconcerting! 
I even got to sit in the front seat! The view coming into Juneau. 
Downtown Juneau. It's been odd coming from a town of 300 to a city of over 40,000. Juneau is a nice city though, somewhat touristy, but there are a lot of different cultures here. 

Float plane landing in Juneau.

A "fresh" piece of the Mendenhall glacier.

Bob and I at the high point of the hike, overlooking the glacier. 

The Mendenhall Glacier

Bob and Michelle looking up at the waterfall. 

Me and the glacier - it was mostly warm today, though really cooled off by the evening. 

Looking back at bergs on the lake created by the glacier.