header-photo

Sleepy... with a chance of insomnia

I'm sleepy. I need to sleep. But, I've been sleep-deprived for the past 8 days. My husband and I are currently in different states. I had to leave to start this postdoc, but he hasn't found a job here yet (thanks, crappy economy!). So we're 2000 miles apart. I'm in a nice little house in the middle of town just close enough to a busy intersection to get rather sketchy looking folks wandering by in the daytime. I figured I was being paranoid, but whatever, I'll lock my bedroom door at night if it helps me sleep.

I'm glad I did because someone tried to break in last week. While I was home. Just after I went to bed. I have an alarm on the back door, and it went off for the first time ever. I called 911. They sent the police. Joy. The door alarm apparently scared whoever it was off.

And where was my tough guard dog during this? Sleeping, lounging, nothing. The appearance of policemen with flashlights in the backyard brought out a soft, but determined "woof" from Gibbs. So much for being like his namesake.

So I didn't sleep for a few nights after that and when I did sleep I'd wake up with nightmares. I usually have nightmares, but home invasion nightmares are generally worse than the other run-of-the-mill ones. Isn't anxiety fun??

I wish the husband would get here. He helps keep me on a schedule. I stayed up until nearly 2 last night researching a project for work, forgot to eat breakfast, and have nearly no clean clothes. I think that makes me a walking hungry disaster in whatever clothing is left. If Gibbsy isn't going to be a guard dog, he should at least try cooking and cleaning. I suspect that will be a losing battle!

September and Busy!

I realized I haven't managed to post anything for a while. I have been busy this month. Well, I was busy, then I had the flu-from-hell, and then I was busy. The new semester has started, which has brought hoardes of undergrads... scantily-clad undergrads. The Sunday before classes started, I went in to feed my bees and nearly ran over a group of girls walking around in bikinis. This is the desert. Its not like there's a beach nearby. Sure, its hot outside, but seriously. Sadly the bikini bottoms are more modest than the tight little shorts the girls also wear. It makes me feel old because my first response is to yell, "Get some damned clothes on." Of course today in the lab, one of the PhD students made a joke about a cartoon from the mid-80's and all the undergrads were like, "What? I wasn't even born then."

Being a cranky old lady aside, my experiment has been running well. We finally worked out some of the procedural kinks and I figured out a nice way to keep the foraging bees motivated without making the colony suffer. Did I mention I managed to kill off a colony? Yeah, bees don't do well on persistently crappy food. Now I'm rotating the colonies between awesome food (when I'm not testing them), and moderately crappy food (when I am testing them). So that works out to moving between 50% sugar solution and 15% sugar solution (by volume)

The picture is of a bee on a training slide (a photo-op bee). They are choosing between different colors, which are covered with microscope slides. The little diamond is just a target for the bee- where the drop of sugar solution reward is found.

So we tested our 26th bee today. I think it is a decent number considering each bee has to make 80 choices... about 4 hours of work per bee. I'm aiming for 120 bees, so hopefully it doesn't take too horribly long. I already have the next experiment designed, and it is super nifty also. Its much shorter (2 months in duration), but addresses a much simpler set of questions. And it will be fun to do.

So, working hard. I'll have to write separately on the other bee schemes I have going. Plus my gardening schemes. And writing schemes. And travel schemes. So many schemes, so little time.