What I’ve Been Doing

Mostly just grading (this spring) and cooking (this summer).  So.  Much.  Grading.  Here’s a sample of the cooking:

num num

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Good stuff.  I made it for the first time a few days ago and then again today.  Several days’ lunch!

I learned today that brief contact of skin with 350F oven walls makes the skin turn white.  It’s not blistering (yet?) so I hope it’ll heal without a fuss.  I have no idea why I was using a dish towel instead of the heavy-duty oven mitt that was the same reach-distance away, but I won’t do that again.

I melted off my fingerprints once by slightly more prolonged contact with a 400F cast iron skillet.  They grew back.

honey granola

Honey Granola Bread

I’m looking at bread machines because I like homemade bread but not kneading.  I’ll definitely make the honey granola again, with some tweaks.  It was too dense and floury the first time but otherwise was very tasty.  Nice understated sweetness from the honey, with fun textural bits from the granola.

Cheesy Potato Bread

The cheesy potato bread was good too, though an annoying shape.  I’ll probably stick to loaf pans for ease of sticking bread slices into the toaster.

Of course research goes on. Here’s a photo I rather like.

Male Swordtail

“What are you doing with that flashing thing, human?”

I spend my mornings on campus either actively data gathering (done with that now, pretty much) or reading up on previous studies of this nature.  Friday mornings are for stalking some possible PhD advisors.  After lunch I go to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and continue inventorying and otherwise tidying up the ichthyology collection.  It’s not the most exciting job, but it pays very well and I’ve had much worse jobs.

I’ve also been reading a lot this past month. I recently purchased Chalice, Dune, Elantris, and the first 3 of the Foundation series.  I’ve read 5 of these so far.  I’m assembling a massive Amazon wishlist of all the things I want to read at some point, but am waiting for the better paychecks I get during the semester.  I really liked Elantris, which makes me more interested in buying more books by that author.  I’ll also get the last 4 of the Foundation books.  Love me some Asimov <3

I should probably get a Kindle at some point, or some other variety of digital reader.  I’ve moved around 12 times in the past 6 years and will move again next summer to wherever I’m doing my PhD.  Hopefully after that I’ll be able to settle in that place and not change apartments for 5 years…  Anyway, all that moving has made me very aware of just how heavy books are.  I prefer having a physical copy, but meh.  Practicality will eventually win out over preference.

July 24, 2010 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

Decade in Review

It has occurred to me, after seeing someone else’s recap, that 2000-2009 is the first decade of my life that I remember relatively clearly.

Following is an exercise in memory, since I usually have trouble remembering yesterday’s breakfast:

2000:  Started high school.  Lots of math (algebra II / geometry) and my first completed afghan.  The electricity was out for a week during a very nasty ice storm.  Crocheted by candlelight.

2001:  First plane trip.  My grandma and I visited Washington DC.  Fell in love with the subway system.

2002:  Lots of English and Biology.  Chemistry also dropped by for a visit and dissolved a penny in nitric acid.  I got my driver’s license and a borrowed ’89 Pontiac to drive myself to high school.

2003:  Calculus and physics, mostly.  …I think?  Don’t recall much specific to this year.  I think I did the National Merit applicationy business here, along with college apps.  Both important.

2004:  Graduation!  Truck!  White ’97 Ford Ranger.  Summer of factory work.  Lots of scars.  First semester of college, introduction to Honors General Chemistry for Majors.  Hello college, nice to meet you.  Broke left radius warming up for a rugby game.

[Speech / Debate / Drama featured prominently in the latter 3 years of high school, but I don’t remember which events went with which years.]

2005:  19th birthday, surprise party thrown by roommate and hallmates.  They decorated my door with balloons and streamers.  Met Seth properly and became best friends.  Took Intro Zoo and met my major.  Stared down Microbiology until it admitted my superiority.  Drew lots of pretty organic molecules.

[Had to look at my transcript for reminders of 2006 & 2007]

2006:  Spring semester of general unpleasantness.  Physics II, Physics II Lab, Organic Chemistry II, O Chem Lab, Spanish II and Genetics.  Physics handed me my butt and first B along with.  Seth’s first semester as RA.  Fall I took the RA training class and applied, got in.  Moved out of Traditions, where I’d really only slept, not lived.  See semester of general unpleasantness for reasons why.

2007:  Year of the RA Adjustment.  Paperwork Monkey!  Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy always made me high on preserved animal fumes right before I went to Animal Behavior with Dr. Schlupp.  First encounter with future advisor.  Also first encounter with Animal Behavior, love of my life.  Read entire textbook for fun.  Fall, Honors reading and research with Dr. Schlupp (hereafter referred to as Ingo).  Identity crisis.  Not premed?  Months of angsting.  No, definitely not premed.

2008:  Accepted new goal in life.  Train for grad school and career in science / teaching!  Took statistics and focused more on research.  Much maniacal laughter at no longer being premed.  More reading and research.  Got second B out of sheer spite and finished my Chemistry minor.  Started on my “victory lap” year.  Met Caitlin during summer RAing.  Friends!  Dieted over the summer and most of the fall.  Lost 25lbs.  Also lost most of sanity and health due to stress over picking a grad school and lack of sleep from RAing.  Finally picked Ingo and a Masters here over going somewhere else.

2009:  Learned how to deal with my crazy body and make it be healthy.  Answer?  Lots of water, 8+ hrs of sleep / night and fruit and veggies every day.  Otherwise I get very sick.  Thanks Dr. Huong!  Defended Honors Thesis.  Graduated!  Chased out last residents, moved into apartment, got first proper tan since grade school.  First semester of grad school and adjusting to life on a self-motivation schedule.  SO.  MUCH.  READING.  First time I’ve ever had to do the reading for all my courses.  Bed at 10pm, awake about 7 – 8am.  Body is pleased, only sick once.  First semester teaching, went well.  RULE, established first day of class:  No e-mails from students answered between 10pm and 7am.  That time is for sleeping.  Always room for improvement.  Experimental cooking in shiny apartment kitchen.  Broke right radius by falling on ice.  Bought a shovel for defense against Ice and Snow, the Enemies of Bones.

2010:  Here I come. :)

That’s not everything, of course, but it’s been a nice memory stretch.  I’d recommend it, if only to clear the cobwebs from the last 10 years of your life :)  

December 29, 2009 at 11:23 pm 1 comment

More foodish ramblings

The pie is gone. I am saddened by this.  Fruit (peaches!) and cottage cheese is an acceptable replacement.

Data collection goes slowly when fish will not cooperate.  I would get more frustrated but the fish are just so cute and fat and frill their fins at me and awwwww.  *emits hearts*

I like Oreos far too much for my own good.  More than pie, even.  …Oreo pie?  I might just implode with happiness.  The cafeteria had Oreo cheesecake occasionally and my goodness that was  nearly the best foodthing EVER.

Bright mornings are lovely but this dark at 7pm business is inconvenient (and dark, obviously).  I request a return to summer ASAP.  Baking in the heat is very pleasant once you’ve acclimated, and I miss running around in a tanktop, shorts and flipflops (work attire, when work is with fish in a greenhouse).  The feeling of being warm down to my bones is worth the constant stickiness (though hair escaping a bun sticks to my neck terribly).
I still wear tanktops on weekends when I go up to campus, underneath the jacket or whatever, regardless of weather.  Sleeves get in the way when you’re changing water.

9:30 is close enough to bedtime to go to sleep.

November 7, 2009 at 9:33 pm 1 comment


I approve of pumpkin flavored things.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin bread (need to make!), etc.  Since ’tis the season for pumpkiny whatsits, I am enjoying the abundance of tasties.

Life currently consists of class, teaching, grading, data collection, reading (for class mostly) and pie (this week).  These things either do not make good stories or I am not going to tell you the stories because of confidentiality issues and The Internets Have Eyes and that’d be just rude anyway.

Pie is pure joy.  The rest are a mix of joy, frustration, contentment, boredom and wanting to smash things with a sledgehammer and then set the remains on fire.  Things balance out towards contentment, overall.

Saturday night I dreamed that I was watching an underground battle where princesses were riding around 50ft tall giant blue and white strider insecty things.  They died in an explosion but didn’t seem too bothered (or exploded for that matter) since they promptly glowed, reanimated and went back to battling.  Later I owned a ranch and someone had filled it with puppies and hundreds of children.  I was very upset by both since I do not much care for either.  Fur + high-pitched = no thank you.

I do my best, but really I am not much of a people person (as if that surprises anyone who knows me).

Ah well.

In case you missed it: My roommate and other best friend are getting married in June. I am the Maid of Honor. These two things make me very very happy.

November 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm 1 comment

TA Training



  • I will be one of 3 TAs for Intro Biology: Molecules, Cells and Physiology. It looks like I’ll be teaching 2 lab sections but I’m not sure yet which ones, when or how many. We’ll find out more specific assignments later this week.
  • We had 2 days of general TA training today and yesterday.  I had Professional Ethics Training on Friday and Saturday (ick, Saturday training).  Department-specific stuff comes Thursday and Friday.
  • Classes start Monday.  Somewhat nervous.
  • I’m enrolled in 3 courses:  Population Ecology, Physiological Ecology and Neuroethology.
  • I’m enjoying the social aspect of grad school.  It’s fun to meet other people with similar interests.
  • This summer I’ve been working at Sam Noble helping organize stuff in the fish collection. Good job, good money.
  • Uhhhh…
  • I think the severe lack of items on this list shows how relatively uneventful my summer has been. I’ve kept busy enough but haven’t really done that much that might make a good story.
  • Oh look, ducks!!
  • Yeah we’re done with the list now.  Will update again once I have more of interest to say.

August 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm 1 comment


My room is almost completely arranged to my liking. I have one more painting to hang, but I’ll need some nails for that.
This apartment is 2 bed, 2 bath, fully furnished, 3rd floor, all bills included. The bedroom came with the bed, desk, dresser, and that chair I stuck in the closet. Everything else is mine.
View from the door
EDIT: Forgot to mention! The desk chair,chair mat and desk lamp are all from IKEA! We went to Dallas last week, I think. I really liked IKEA and hope to go again someday. :)
View from the other corner by the foot of the bed
Closet! Lots of storage space in there
Dresser + closet again
My sink is right outside my door
Attempt at bathroom panorama
My half of the hall. Caitlin’s to the left

So that’s my bit of the apartment! The living room and kitchen are nice, fairly roomy, and came equipped with standard appliances + washer and dryer. We haven’t done much to the living room yet, but are thoroughly enjoying the kitchen.

June 6, 2009 at 8:56 pm 1 comment


Since I cannot sleep, here is a picture of me, post-graduation ceremony. I’m examining my most excellent graduation present from the Kinast family. :)

The red thing means I was summa cum laude.  The blue drape thing was for Phi Beta Kappa.  My dad’s in the background.

More later, perhaps? I’m almost done arranging my room to my liking. Perhaps a photo post once that’s finished.

Also, I am short.

June 6, 2009 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

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