Sunday, July 31, 2011

Barkley's new toy

Took it out this weekend twice - was awesome! I'm so happy we can get out on the water together - she was a little nervous on day #1 (but still sat through 1hr 45 of paddling without complaining!), but today she was awesome, even laid down to go to sleep on the paddle back - yeah! I see some fun times ahead this summer!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Monhegan Diving!

I finally got around to downloading the photos from a diving trip to Monhegan Island I took with the UMaine dive group almost a month ago! It was a great trip, such a beautiful place to dive. And the best bit....i'm going there again on Monday! This time to learn Nitrox diving and to do some deep dives to see what we see - yeah! Maybe i'll get around to downloading the photos from Monday a little sooner! All photos taken by Chris or Mike! 

Myself (right) and my dive buddy Jen face off before we head out on our dive!

It looks a little green, but the visibility on these dives was AWESOME! 

The UMaine dive group, except Mike who was taking the picture......shame you can't do the timer underwater!

Lobster! Jen and I saw some HUGE ones! 

Underwater moose?

My first fish sighting in Maine! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three things Thursday

In an effort to blog more, it's back with three things Thursday! It might be 9.30pm on Thursday.....but it's still Thursday!

1. Went up to Orono yesterday, had to pick up some more boxes of books and teaching material of John Dearborn's, a retired faculty member here who died this winter. He was one of the greats in Antarctic Research, particularly in reproduction and development, so i'm very sad we never overlapped at all here in Maine. He'd been retired for a few years, but still remained active and kept quite literally everything. His daughter has given me much of his Antarctic collection of books, reprints and teaching materials, which will be so invaluable.

2. While up in Orono I bought Barkley a present. You'll see what it is by the end of the weekend, but i'm hoping she'll like it.

3. Whatever will be will be, so there's no point in worrying about it and there's no point in letting 'stuff' bring down the day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A weekend in the Whites

A weekend trip to the White Mountains is never enough, it always fly by way too fast. This was the briefest of visits too, I probably should have pushed it and went on friday night instead of driving up on Saturday, but oh well, a short visit was probably enough for a first camping trip with miss Barkley anyway. We had a great time, and Barkley was a trouper, both on the trails and in the tent, I think she enjoyed herself, and at the moment is asleep exhausted on her bed in front of the TV.

Ready to go!

First stop was Mt Washington! I've hiked up the largest peak in the east three times now, but decided to drive up for the first time - quite the windy road! We then did a short 2 mile hike most of the way to Lake of the Clouds, one of my favorite spots in the Presidentials.  

It was pretty windy up at 6288ft!

The view down the western end of the Presidential Range - Monroe, Franklin and Eisenhower are down the trail. 

Our turn around point, time for a cookie or two and some photos. For an old girl she did great amongst the boulders. 
Lake of the Clouds Hut. Would have been nice to go all the way and revisit one of the weirdest hiking experiences i've ever had (bagpipes and weddings....ask me about it if you haven't heard the story!), but it was late in the day and I didn't want to overdo it for Barkley. I really want her to enjoy camping and hiking, so didn't push anything too hard this weekend. 

Back to our campsite at Cocker Pond, just east of Evan's notch. Barkley was a great tent companion, other than snoring quite loudly! 

The view from our campsite....pretty sweet! 

Today, after a quick (very quick as the bugs were out!) 2 mile hike from the campsite to Round Pond we drove home via Evan's Notch, checking out other campsites for next time on the way. There is an overlook on the road through, so we stopped and found this marker - I love markers and have a photo collection of them from all over the US. 

There was also a historical site in the Notch - Brickett Place, an old farmhouse currently being restored. We got talking to one of the rangers and he convinced us into a short hike from there up to a small waterfall. Someone was lagging a little as we entered the wilderness (it was all uphill till there), but soon perked up on the flat and took off to the water as soon as she heard it. 

Trying to get a good self portrait on the self timer is hard. Trying to do it was a fidgety dog is even harder!
The hike was a great end to a great day and we've scoped out some great camping spots for next time too! Evan's Notch is just stunning, and being in Maine it's only 2 hours away, so i'm hoping we get back at least once this summer.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heading for the hills...

It's been a bit since i've blogged sorry, to be honest, the last few weeks have been a bit of a bust, so I haven't had much good to say. To start with the good - Barkley is awesome, I am adoring having a pup around and I think we were made for each other; I love Maine, I am really enjoying being here for a good period of time; and I still love  the Darling Marine Center, I am so enjoying being around in the summer, so many people, so many students, so much good science going on.

And the bad, funding just sucks right now, so i'm not sure where my life is headed. Makes it hard to blog. I've had my three big proposals submitted this year rejected and i'm not sure where to head next. One wasn't unexpected, but i've had good vibes from the foundation I submitted it to to resubmit next year, which is something. I didn't get a second year of the Alaska project funded, which is painful. We've found such great things there that need the extra year of observation so it's frustrating to say the least.

But it's not just the frustration of rejections, you need a thick skin to get through those and I mostly have the ability to dust off and try again. If science funding was what it was a few years ago i'd not be too worried about 3 big rejections, as i'd know something would come along. But it's not. This many rejections though begins to erode at the confidence and i'm really begin to question my ability to do good science. I think my general malaise comes from the fact that I do really like it here and want to stay, and i'm now just uncertain how to make that happen. I'm usually happy to keep on plugging away at proposals, but with major funding cuts to science it's all becoming pretty depressing.

The next immediate step for me is a paycut, so that will start next month - i've moved, I have furniture and it's still much cheaper here to live than Hawaii, so I can swallow that now. It's not what I want as I want to build up enough money for a house deposit and that will have to stop, but at the moment it's just survival. I can pick up some teaching next year and have been talking around getting suggestions for smaller pots of money - all in all, it's been mentally exhausting. With some creative rebudgeting, teaching and hopefully a bit of luck for a little more, i'm good through the end of next year - which sounds good, but my creative rebudgeting is not going to help my science get done (other than keeping me in a job I suppose).

I know whatever will work out will work out, it always does and so far i've been lucky. I think i'm just ready to settle and have this instability stop. I'm applying for jobs, but it's lackluster, as I really like it here and don't want to leave. It'll be the hardest decision ever if that happens.

So that's the scoop, i've not been into taking photos to post and I don't like just posting the bad, so it's been few posts instead. I'm about to head to the hills with Barkley tomorrow to do a camping and hiking trip, see how she likes sleeping in the great outdoors. I need some outdoors time, and at the moment we're socked in with oppressive heat and humidity, so some elevation will hopefully provide some much needed relief. I'm looking forward to getting in my tent for the first time this year - yeah!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Emily Jayne!

Welcome to the world little Emily Jayne - can't wait to meet you, I hope it'll be soon!

A quiet and relaxing weekend all around here. Saturday saw Rod and Kathy drive up for the day with a washing machine in tow - I can now do laundry - yeah! I still can't believe they came up for a day, I really do know some simply awesome people, I owe them big time for that one. Sunday saw a nice walk with Barkley followed by a day of sitting by the pool with friends and a few games of Bocce in probably my favorite Maine pub to date. Can't get a much better weekend than that now can you!

This week is a busy one. I've just hired some help around the lab for a day a week, a guy who's done some histology before and is super experienced, but between jobs right now. I'm really hoping that works out, though I know it probably won't be a long term solution, I could really use the hands right now to keep up with the mountains of general lab things that need doing. I'm still waiting to hear about a big grant, and it's totally stressing me out, rejections started coming out last week and i'm at the point of just wanting to know. I need to get my head around new proposals, and I need to keep my nose to the ground for opportunities. Basically, I just need to knuckle down more on the long term, and i've been finding that hard since I got back from sea. Thursday I get to go out diving all day which i'm excited about, and Barkley gets to go to doggy daycare, which i'm sure she is probably excited about too!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This week

This week Diane has been here, which has been awesome! It's been nearly a year since I visited DC, so it's been super fun to catch up, and we even got out and seen some sights I haven't seen yet. The weekly routine with Barkley is going relatively well - we managed 2 mile run/fast walks on 4 mornings (friday was just a little too much!), she had a day with my friend Chris when I went to Orono on weds and by all accounts was a star and little by little she's settling in.

The rest of the week in photos.....

I picked up Diane on Monday and, as it was such a beautiful day and still light, we headed to Pemaquid Lighthouse for a little wander around.

Barkley was quite the climber, enjoying the ocean and the walk.

The lighthouse.

We followed the walk with some good Maine 'Lobstah' at a place I went to with Chris and Gabby on the weekend before - they're fresh off the boat and cooked right there in a big water vat and it's great deck seating with views over the harbor.....can't get too much better than that can you!

Then I put Diane to work......a bunch of furniture arrived this week, so we made a couch, desk and a set of shelves....woo hoo!

Friday saw a "hot dog festival" for charity at some friends of friends, so we went along and took part in some paint-ball sausage shooting, puppy shoe throwing and hot dog eating and beer drinking....but we left the pie and hot dog competition eating to the professionals..... these little guys and gals.....

 ....and especially this little fella.....the winner of the pie eating contest.....

Then on to the mens division hot dog eating.....the record this year....11.5 hot dogs in ten minutes.....barf...!

 Today, after Diane finished up working we went over to Camden hills. We drove to the top then did a "short" hike around. We weren't overly prepared for this hike, with flip flops and jeans, and although it worked out to be a little more strenuous than planned, the views were more than worth the effort!

Best of all, Barkley loved it all and was a trouper. I've definitely found my hiking companion! 

A little break at the top....

....and the hike back down....