Monday, May 28, 2012

Des Moines Botanical Center: Christmas Cactus

 I never finished putting up my photos from the botanical center back in March. Whoops. Anyway, this is a Christmas cactus. I thought this one was really cool because it was started from a cutting here in Iowa in 1810. This cactus is over 200 years old!
It had a few blooms on it. They're really pretty. I have a Christmas cactus myself, that my grandma started for me from a cutting from her plant. It's been growing really well over the past year and hopefully in another year or so it will bloom!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Dan and I went tubing on the Skunk River! It was a lot of fun. We started up near Ada Hayden Heritage Park. We got out near Carr Park because it turned out that where we thought we would get out was on  a different fork of the river. Oops. We had to walk to that spot and I have a million blisters now on my feet, but the tubing part was a lot of fun. There weren't a lot of people on the river, and the water temperature was really nice. Some parts of the river were too shallow and we had to get up and wade, but for the most part we could float. I saw a bald eagle fly over the river, which was super cool, and Dan spotted a deer looking at us from the riverbank. There were lots of cool little birds around and we even saw a freshwater mussel while we were wading at one point. It was really neat, and it was so quiet. We were floating through places in Ames, but from the river you couldn't tell where you were. It was like we were in a completely different world. I had so much fun (even with the walking barefoot for more than a mile and getting blisters lol) and it was my first time tubing so that was doubly fun. Next time we know where the best place is to get out so we won't have the same issue again. And Dan was really sweet and brought over epsom salts and rubbing alcohol for me so I could lance some of these blisters and get them healing. Overall, it was really fun.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hanging in There

Work so far has been going well. I'm going to learn how to do a gene knockout by the method they use soon, so that will be neat. The hardest part is honestly getting up in the mornings. Even though I get enough sleep, every morning I have to haul myself up and get there. Once I'm there, everything is fine, but man, mornings are hard. I wish that was easier, because it is not easy to start the day feeling that low. I have a sinus headache too, and I've had it all day, and that doesn't help. Hopefully I'll start feeling better and get more into the groove of everything and it'll be fine. It is easier right now since I don't have class so when I get home I have no homework to deal with. That makes the evenings nice. I just wish I had the energy in the mornings so that they weren't so hard. But I'm hanging in there, and everything is going to be alright.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day Off

So I had the day off work today. There was a conference that everyone had to attend except you had to have been registered for it, and obviously I wasn't, so I got the day off. It was nice. I got to do my laundry in the morning so I don't have to fight for the washers in the evening. I am really looking forward to having my own washer and dryer when I move in August. Sharing is such a pain in the ass.
Speaking of pains in the ass, I have some kind of obnoxious heat rash right where my thigh meets my butt. I know, too much information. It hurts like hell, but nothing will pop and it's not hot to the touch so I don't think it's infected. I've been putting hydrocortisone cream on it and taking acetaminophen which seems to help a bit. I've spent most of the day on the couch in pajamas hoping that keeping the pressure off of that area will help it heal. It's so annoying. I wanted to go for a run, but I think I'll wait until this heals up. I just hope it goes away soon and isn't something like MRSA because that would just suck massively.
Anyway, I'm back to work tomorrow. But I also get to see Dan tomorrow. So even though I'm already feeling a little tired and would rather sleep until noon, I'll be at work counting down to 5pm so I can leave and enjoy myself and not think about school for a while.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I told myself so

So just as I totally predicted, I feel about a million times better after spending my first day in Dr. Bobik's lab. I can't be too specific about what I'm doing on the internet because people would definitely try to scoop us all over the place, but I can say that I'm engineering E. coli to produce industrially relevant chemicals to replace petroleum derived products. And that's about all I can say about the research. However, I can say that the people in the lab are pretty awesome. It's currently pretty small because several people recently graduated and got postdocs, but that is fine with me. The two guys I'm working with are both pretty chill and have that sarcastic kind of humor that I do, so already I feel comfortable around them. One of them had no experience in this kind of stuff before he started working there as well, so I don't feel totally in over my head. Dr. Bobik is in the lab actually working on experiments pretty often as well, so it's neat to see my PI more than once a week in a lab meeting. It's a nice lab too, with plenty of room and windows (oh god the windows are the best) and we don't have to share too many instruments. It probably sounds bad, but I hate having to share all my lab equipment with random people so if I'm in a lab that has all its own stuff that makes me happy. Anyway, I feel a lot better now and I think everything is going to be alright.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Argh anxiety

I am already so nervous about starting to work in Bobik's lab. I am afraid that no one will like me, that I won't get accepted to the lab, that I'll get thrown out of the program and I at least want to get this stupid MS so I can say I have an advanced degree and get the hell out of academia. I know this is the anxiety disorder talking, but I am so antsy right now. I've already packed my bag, made a lunch, checked the map of the Molecular Biology building so I know where Bobik's office is and where the bathrooms are, and now I'm just drinking tea and trying to relax so I can sleep. I will definitely need to make coffee in the morning because I have no idea how well I'll sleep tonight. I'll feel so much better after this first day but right now I am freaking out.
In other non-related stuff, it stormed and the internet went out for about an hour. That was the first time it actually went down and I couldn't fix it by turning the modem on and off. It was out for about an hour and then came back on. Annoying, but whatever. When I called the provider, the lady on the phone said that all of their lines in Ames were down. The weird thing was that the storm lasted about ten minutes and that was it. It was silly.
And now I'm watching an interview on MSNBC of Jeffrey Dahmer's parents. Why? I have no idea. I like that kind of true crime and psychological stuff. Maybe I should have gone into criminal justice and been a forensic evidence technician person. Maybe I'll do that if I can't get my microbiology MS. It will totally be fine and I'll grind through this MS, but just in case, I'm already looking at various and sundry options.

Nice Weekend

I actually had a pretty good weekend, which is refreshing after the stress of final exams and the general stress of switching programs. On Friday, Dan and I went down to Saylorville Lake. I had never been there before and he had only been there once, so it was new for both of us. It was really hot out and I was sweating like crazy, but otherwise it was a lot of fun. We went down to the spillway, where they release all the water into the river. It was really open and the water was really gushing out like crazy. There were two guys there fishing with bows, which I had never seen before. They had caught a couple of big carp so I guess it works as a fishing technique. Anyway, Dan and I walked along the river, and to some of the parts of the lake further back, and then we drove around to the boat launch area so we could walk out on the rock pier in the big part of the lake. It was really cool and it made me feel at home, being out on this rock outcrop in this big lake. It was really nice. Afterwards we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. I'm not a big wing person, but Dan likes them, and I had a cheeseburger which was actually really good. Then we went back to my place and watched a Godzilla movie. I had a great day and my only wish is that I could see Dan every single day, because I love being with him.
Saturday was a laid-back day for me, just hanging out, watching Ghost Adventures and playing video games. Today I went down to Mike and Tessa's for Mike's 40th birthday party. It was great to see them again because I hadn't seen them since February, which is way too long. Since Tessa is done with school and I'm essentially working full time this summer, hopefully we'll be able to hang out together some more. And I was happy to see the kitties Satine and D'Artagnan, because they are adorable kitties.
I just finished grocery shopping and I think I'm just in time because the weather is looking like it will storm again. It stormed like crazy this morning, so much that water actually leaked in one of my windows. It wasn't a lot, but it surprised me because it had never happened before. I'm going to relax for the rest of the day, and try to be calm about starting my rotation tomorrow. I start tomorrow at 10am, hopefully everything goes really well!