Monday, January 31, 2011


We buried my grandfather on Saturday. He died last Wednesday, surrounded by all of his children and my granny. Except for being in the hospital, it was pretty much the way he wanted to go. The service was simple, but it was nice; as nice as a funeral can be, anyway. It was very difficult, very exhausting. I'm mostly concerned now about my granny. She's never been alone, and she was kind of brought up to fear being alone. I don't know how she'll manage as she moves into life as a single person for the first time ever. Thankfully, the money situation seems to be better. My grandpa's daughter Barb bought a condo, hoping that my grandparents could move in together. Obviously my grandpa didn't make it, but she promised him that she would take care of my granny. So my granny can live there rent-free for as long as she wants. All of my grandfather's kids are pretty awesome. Funerals bring out the best or the worst in people, and this time the best came out.
I said a little tiny thing at the funeral when they asked for stories about my grandfather John. Here's what I said.
"When I was really little, for some unknown reason I decided that I wanted to be called Fred. The only person who indulged me in this insanity was John. He called me Fred for the rest of my life. Every time I would come to his house, he would say 'Hey Fred' or 'How's school, Fred?' I'm really going to miss being called Fred."

Monday, January 24, 2011


My grandfather is much worse. At this point we are being told that it is hours to days. The situation is pretty much as crappy as it can possibly be. There's not a lot else to say about it right now.
Work is actually going pretty well. Aliccia has come up with a bunch of different experiments, and she is planning them all in a way that enables us to get out several papers fairly quickly. I'm plating for an ATP assay this week, and next week I'm plating for a ROS assay and making virus for an array knockdown. It's a lot of work, especially since we moved and don't have everything in place yet, but it's nice to be actually planning real experiments instead of just sitting around. Aliccia also said that the goal is to have at least one paper in publication/in press with my name on it by the time I leave for graduate school.
At least, I hope I'll be leaving for graduate school. My application to Iowa State's microbiology PhD program has been complete and in the committee's hands for a little more than a week now. I'm trying to be patient, although that isn't my best trait. I'm really hoping to hear something by mid-February, at least an invitation to come interview. I'm fairly confident that I'll get into the program, but it's not a sure thing and I'm extremely nervous. I really don't want to go anywhere else for graduate school, and I'm not sure what I'll do if I don't get in. If all else fails, I can take a couple of classes at Wayne State and then reapply next year, but I really want to get moving with my life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


My grandfather is back in the hospital. He had another stroke today. The tumor is pressing on his heart so much that it makes his blood pressure drop and then he starts throwing blood clots. It's very possible that this will happen over and over until he dies.
This is horrible. I can't say anything else.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Today we moved out of Steve's lab and into Dr. Bepler's lab. I am so relieved to be off the eighth floor. It was getting too awkward and really weird and dramatic. I don't really want to talk shit about people, but I will say that some people could benefit from acting like adults. It was not fun sitting there wondering what people were thinking and saying when I hadn't done anything wrong. But it's all over now, and I'm on the sixth floor. I met all of Dr. Bepler's lab people and they all seem really nice. Dr. Bepler is really nice too-he wrote a letter of recommendation for me when Steve refused to. I'm looking forward to the rest of my tenure at Karmanos now.
As for my grandfather, he's out of the hospital and at home. He has extensive stage small cell lung cancer, which is the kind people usually get from smoking and definitely the crappiest kind of lung cancer to get. He chose to try chemotherapy, which he starts tomorrow, but it is not nice chemo and I'm really concerned that it will actually shorten his life. But I'm glad that he's not in the hospital anymore, because I would hate to die in a hospital. It's rough on my grandmother. It's rough on all of us, really.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 In Review

I like doing these questions every year, because it's easier than trying to sum up the whole year without any prompts.
1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
I got in a car accident. I joined a gym. I visited someone in the hospital.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not really. My weight plateaued this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not anyone particularly close to me, although I know several acquaintances who popped out babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my great aunt Barbara.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Certainty about graduate school.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory?
My great aunt Barbara died on Memorial Day. I paid off my student loans on December 2nd.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Paying off my student loans completely.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not losing thirty pounds.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not anything serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
This is a hard one. I didn't buy anything huge and awesome this year, but I bought a bunch of smaller things that all added up to awesome. I guess the Absolute Sandman volumes are pretty awesome, although I still need to get #1.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Nobody did anything amazing, so I'm not sure.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The crazy people who chased my mom down the street after their dog bit her. It was weird.

14. Where did most of your money go?
To the government and the Harper cafeteria. Oh, and to the gasoline companies.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Making my final student loan payment. Seeing Christopher Plummer in the Tempest!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Raise Your Glass-P!nk

17. Compared to this time last year, you are:
Happier or sadder: Happier.
Thinner or fatter: Exactly the same. I guess that's okay.
Richer or poorer: Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Watching DVDs that I'm behind on. Making jewelry. Working out.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Work. I like my job, but I'm pretty sure that I'll always wish I could get paid to do whatever I want.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it with my family. It was difficult because my grandfather is ill.

21. What was your favorite month of 2010?
Probably August, because we went to Stratford and I got to see Christopher Plummer in the Tempest. And I sat in the front row.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
Nope. It's slim pickin's out in Detroit. Also, I'm probably moving soon, so it'd be a bit stupid to start a relationship right now. Actually, I was pretty happy being single this year.

23. How many one-night stands?
None. I don't do one-night stands.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Doctor Who-I finally finished the last season with David Tennant. Intervention-it's my guilty pleasure. Deadliest Catch-I cried and cried. Mythbusters-yay science!

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No. I don't have a lot of people on my hate list. Hate's a very strong word.

26. What was the best book you read?
Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson. I'm peeved that I have to wait an entire year to get the next book.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Is it bad that I have to say the pop station on the radio? Lady Gaga is my extremely guilty pleasure that I don't tell anyone about because it's so embarrassing. But to make up for it, my brother introduced me to Dream Theater.

28. What did you want and get?
Money. Lots of money. Although getting it by having my great aunt die was not really what I envisioned.

29. What did you want and not get?
A laptop. I'm waiting until I know I'm going to school to get one.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was my favorite. Also with Christopher Plummer!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 23, and I honestly don't remember what I did. I do, however, remember having the most awesome ice cream cake in the world. It was awesome because it had dinosaurs and a volcano on it.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not having to commute. I have realized that I hate commuting.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Jeans, nicer than t-shirt shirts at work, boots. I'm slightly trending towards steampunk. A little bit of country, a little bit rock'n'roll, but all work appropriate? I'm waiting to start changing my style until I'm in a size I'm happier with.

34. What kept you sane?
Weekends. My family.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Robert Downey Jr.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The DADT repeal. I'm so glad it finally got repealed. All the arguing about it was so stupid.

37. Who did you miss?
My Iowa friends, especially Mike and Tessa.

38. Who were the best new people you met?
Mike Byrd at fencing.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
Don't live far away from your place of work. Commuting sucks.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
One day I'm here, I'm on top of the world/And the next it's falling in on me/I can get back on, I can get back on-Far Cry, Rush