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House Hunting

I felt like an ant today, out hunting for a new home. My husband and I are trying to find a new place in Arizona and a new place here in our current town, simultaneously. Ah, the joys of having to live apart.

The Arizona search has involved searches, craigslist, and a lot of checking up on Google Earth. I think we've finally found a good place, with a tolerable price, in a nice neighborhood. I'm ready to send a check and be done with it.

As for Minnesota-land? This was more of my husband's choice since it will be his primary domain. We drove by lots of places, did the usual internet trolling, and went on some tours. I thought this would take forever, but I think we've already found the perfect spot. It even had a large window box in the kitchen for growing plants and perhaps a cat-napping spot.

Both are right on target with the budget, have lots of windows, and make the husband happy. Even better? We can get the dates to overlap in a way that should make moving as painless as possible. Not that moving is ever painless, but that last one nearly killed me, the husband, and my sister. Only my little niece K-Dog had energy to spare- and she was 5 at the time and carrying floor-sized lamps down 3 flights of stairs. The girl is hard-core: she's 7 now and could probably bench press me.

More uncertainty nailed down. That's always a good thing.

Adventures in Medicine

The character-building continues. I finished my second of three doctor's appointments this week, and had to do yet another blood draw. Tomorrow: the neuro ophthalmologist for some optic neuritis fun followup. More eye drops. Yuck.

Today was the neurologist. I can't say the news was uplifting or happy, but it was an odd change to have a neurologist not treat me like a neurotic grad student. Now I'm up for a round of all kinds of evoked potential tests, a 5 day video EEG in the hospital, a follow-up with the same neurologist and an appointment with an MS specialist.

I would be more freaked out, but after all the IVs last week, I don't have much of a drama response left other than, "Well, this sucks." Plus, I have more pressing worries at the moment: how am I going to finish this dissertation while stuck in tests and the hospital? I was already pushing it. To quote my advisor, "You definitely have your work cut out for you this month."

It should be a fun challenge. All of it. Life is life, you know.

Space Shuttle Launch!

I got to watch the launch of the space shuttle today! We're over 100 miles away, but it sure was nifty to watch. Huge plume of vapor behind an incredibly bright flame. I've always wanted to see that in person, and it seemed like with the shuttle being phased out and fewer flights, it wasn't going to happen.

When I was a kid, we'd watch the shuttle launches at school. The Challenger explosion actually happened on a day when we were out of school. Emily (my sister) and I saw it on the television at home. The way everyone had pumped that launch up at school, it was particularly traumatic. No first teacher in space.

I still wanted to be an astronaut. I didn't want to be a pilot or anything: I wanted to run the experiments. And of course, when I found out how hard it was to become an astronaut, it only made it that much more intriguing. Show me a brick wall, and I seriously want to climb it or blast through it.

As for the research... I managed to count 70 more scans of fly eggs.

Eventful "Vacation"

Life has gotten interesting here in Florida. My dad had foot surgery, I found out I have nerve damage in my left eye, my brother seems to have discovered red wine, and my little niece is taking after me and actually enjoys reading (unlike her mother).

Dad's doctor took lots of pictures during the surgery, which no one wanted to look at except for me. How often do you get to see someone's foot cut open like that? Now Dad is a Bionic Dad with a metal screw in his ankle. I guess he needed some straightening out.

As for the eye thing, it is optic neuritis for the third time. I am surprised about the actual damage. Kinda scary. I really don't want to do the shot every week thing, but I guess its better than the potential much nastier alternatives.

We went to Fort Lauderdale tonight for dinner with my Uncle Robbie. He and his wife are down here for a cruise, so the timing was perfect. It was fun. I am always amazed at the ostentatious displays of wealth here in south Florida. I saw a parade of extremely expensive cars, but the flashiest was a bright banana yellow Bentley convertible.

Oh yeah, and I got more scans of eggs counted. I am enjoying the system I set up. I'll have to post about it tomorrow when I'm more awake. I'm too busy watching one of those giant-monster-animal-attacks-small-town movies on SciFi. This time it is giant squid. Awesome.

Not Cool

Florida is great. It is warm, not too humid, and incredibly wonderful. I got a little work done this morning and settled myself in.

The not cool part? I'm not here a whole morning, and I already had to go to a doctor. Stupid ophthalmologist thing. And I get to go back tomorrow afternoon. My optic nerve for my left eye is unhappy. Or something like that. We'll see tomorrow.

They say that suffering builds character. I make it an art form.

How much progress have I made on the dissertation? Not a whole lot. But now my eyes have gone back to normal after 6 hours of massive dilation. So perhaps I get a little more done before bedtime. I can hardly see how the results turn out on that last experiment- it is going to be cool no matter what it looks like. That's a what I call an ideal design.

On the Road

I'm at the Tampa airport waiting for my next flight. You know how sometimes air travel can be a total bust with regards to productivity? Well, today has been pleasantly productive. I outlined the revisions to two manuscripts, my steps in compiling the remaining data in that last massive experimental evolution study with fruit flies, and did some nice strategic thinking about the manuscripts I really want to get done in the coming months. Of course, being stuck in the same seat for 5 hours helps focus thoughts!

On one hand it is fun to have so many ideas. On the other hand, I hate knowing I can't get to them all. I suppose I should be happy that I've made it to the point that I can recognize what I have time for and what I need to cut out. I am also hoping I have things prioritized properly. I am really trying to focus on the good, big ideas that will contribute to a nice research program. Dave would be so proud.

Watching this last faculty search has been educational. The job talk is so important and I think it really does need to tell a good, cohesive story that makes really nifty and important future directions very clear. Being on that search committee came at a perfect time in my career, I think.

What an exciting time! So many potential opportunities and directions... surviving the job hunt is going to be an experience, that's for sure.

Euphoria!

I see that word and always want to think euphorbia for some reason or another. I guess plant bio never leaves one's brain.

I am having one of those afternoons where you tie up loose strings and get prepared for a vacation, feeling accomplished and organized. Except I'm not really going on vacation. For the past FOUR years, my life has been dictated by the reproductive cycle of Drosophila melanogaster at 24C. (except those months when the flies tried to kill me and I ended up on bedrest...) Anyway, I'm heading to Florida to work on data and writing.

There is so much to do, that I am starting to feel the pressure. However, at least I will feel pressure and warm sunlight all at once! And most importantly, I will be hanging out with my family.

But more on the euphoria front. I may be scanning in petri dishes, but I have a new manicure and pedicure. Bright coral pink. I got a nice sea salt scrub, a mud mask, a parafin treatment. Lovely. It makes me feel better about not fitting into all of my old summer clothes!

Sunday Adventures

Well, adventure is strong word. I am scanning in petri dishes of agar and Drosophila eggs. Hundreds and hundreds of petri dishes. Usually I do these in the lab, but the lab is cold, it is hours and hours of work, and I still have an awful migraine (5 days and counting!). So I brought my work home with me. Scanning at home is far superior to scanning at the Ecology building.

I scanned all last night and much of today, and I'm still not done. The huge assays I'm running right now just generate so much data so quickly, it can be hard to stay on top of things. On the plus side, I cleaned up my laptop: the registry, the files, a little spy ware. Now my laptop is zipping along.

Stuff and Things

It seems my life has become so complicated that I can hardly keep track of myself. This is a new attempt at keeping track of myself, and making it easier for family and friends to keep track of me (when they feel like it).

My cat had/has a blog, but she got lazy. And let's be honest, a cat's life is fairly simple and boring.

So let's give this a whirl and see how it goes.