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Note to self: After biking 23 miles after being inactive, bike-wise, for so long, it is inadvisable to sit with legs pulled up against chest and scrunched into a ball for over 30 minutes while talking to parental units. This may result in an inability to move the legs.

So the bike ride was good. We got out and went for it, avoiding the hillier parts of the route, as we both hadn’t ridden in 5+ weeks, but Amelia definitely still has an edge on me on the hills. And frankly, she probably always will. Hey, I’m just happy it went well.

No mention was made of any significance to all this, or anything, but I definitely prattled a bit more than usual, basically due to unease. However, all is well, and I/we survived.

Except for my total body meltdown, of course. And mental meltdown to top it off.

My mom called while we were out, and so when I got home, I sat down on the ground outside our door in order to pet the neighbor’s cat and simultaneously call my parents, who are visiting my grandparents. They’re all doing well, and things are fine with the move that my grandparents are undertaking. But I was sitting upright against the fence, and had pulled my legs up against my chest and sort of braced myself in that particular sitting position for about 30 minutes.

By the time I tried to move and stand up, my legs were so stiff it was painful to stand. So I went and laid down. In the bathtub. That helped a bit, but by the time I got out, and John had pishawed my plans for dinner, I was so sore and cranky and ravenously hungry that I bit his head off and ate it fajita-style.

Well, I almost did, but then he put real fajitas in front of me, so I temporarily forgave him. I think it didn’t help that I’m about to get all emotional and weepy and cranky for the next couple of days. Gah.

Woke up this morning feeling fine, as the song goes, so something must have been done right. That’s definitely one of the things I really appreciate about biking compared to running: I never, ever, ever have hurt after biking the way I used to after running when I hadn’t done it in awhile. If I’d run yesterday after 5+ weeks instead of biking, I wouldn’t have been walking at all today.

The only lingering sign of anything is that my throat feels all closed up. You know how if you’re eating fast and don’t quite chew a bite fully and it feels funny, like pressure on your throat, to swallow (eww, sorry)? Well, that’s what I’ve been feeling like today. I can eat, drink and be merry, but if I try to breathe too deeply or whatnot, I feel that pressure.

And having just watched a CSI episode involving anaphalactic shock, it’s kinda strange. I’m not allergic to anything that might cause that, and I’ve been stung by a bee more than once, so I think I’m okay there, but it’s a little weird.

But the day is almost done, and I’ve made what feels like significant inroads on the figures for my paper, which wasn’t as painful as I felt it was going to be, so I’ve just got to finish up a transfection, and then a friend and I are off south, me to help with Open Water classes, and him to take a different class.

Of course, I plan to be reading and revising my paper in the back of the room during said class, so it’s not going to be the most thrilling evening, but I do believe, for all my talk of procrastination, that the end is in sight. Thank goodness!

This past week or so has been sluggish. I was sick—not really with any definable symptoms, but feeling crappy nonetheless. I had a friend who was in the ER. I had a bunch of writing I was trying to avoid. I have an Open Water class going on that’s sucking the life out of my evenings (but in a good way).

I did finally finish Harry Potter, and I have to say I loved it. I know some people think JKR sold out for a happy ending, but it’s a CHILDREN’S BOOK, people. Did you really expect a horrible dark ending? And let’s face it, in the world today, we need a happy ending to stories sometimes.

My only question is, what exactly did Mrs.Weasley do to Bellatrix Lestrange? The book isn’t clear, and Wikipedia says she kills her, but not how. And there’s the whole mention of BL laughing just like Sirius did before he died…

*shrug*

I did go to brunch with Amelia Saturday, which was lovely and tasty. Between Belize and my conference, and the two conferences she went to, we hadn’t seen each other in about a month, so it was nice to catch up.

There was also a pool party Saturday, which was fun. My classmates and I don’t do nearly enough hanging out anymore. We used to do stuff all the time, for people birthday’s and for random events, but now that we don’t have classes or anything together, the nebulous bounds that tied us up in the first place aren’t as strong.

Rhiannon didn’t show up, and I haven’t seen her in awhile. I’m kind of worried about her mental state, but she never seems to have time for lunch when I ask, so I just hope she’s coping.

Sunday, I meant to be productive and do something useful, like go bike riding or actually work on my paper or sort out the dive club files. Instead, I cleaned the closets in our apartment. Semi-productive, I suppose.

We have a bunch of stuff that we crammed in the back of them three years ago when we moved in, and haven’t touched since. I tried to at least sort through it all and throw away the old stuff, but I only got through one closet before I was defeated and had to give up. Plus, I’m short, so it wasn’t easy.

John has promised to help, so in another 3 years, we should be done with the other closet.

And, wonder of wonders, Amelia wants to go on a bike ride this afternoon. With me. I guess it was inevitable (in a good way), and I’m looking forward to it, as I don’t particularly like biking alone, but I’m a little worried about it, as you might imagine. She suggested it, and so I don’t think I actually have anything to gripe about, but I’m paranoid like that.

Ah well.

So I’m hoping this is a sign that this week will be less blah than last week. I’m not sick (knock on wood), my friend’s out of the hospital and should be fine with about 6 weeks of PT, which coincides with our trip south to go diving, and there’s actual science-y work to be done in order to avoid science writing.

And if I get bored with the lab work, there’s always the closet to sort or the dive club files to organize or AI stuff to work on or dive classes to help with or my lab notebook to catch up on or the giant stack of papers to read or or or…

Funny how avoiding one thing can make all the other things you were avoiding look attractive as avoidance methods.

With what, I don’t know, but please just leave me here to be miserable in peace.

How sick, you ask? Sick enough not to have devoured the entire Harry Potter Wednesday, despite staying home from work.

I blame the clams.

John finally finished Harry Potter around 3am this morning.

So now it’s my turn, just as soon as I’m done with work and a Belize meeting.

Wheeeee!

Neither John nor I are particularly clean people, but we’re not exactly dirty people. We both tend to leave stuff laying around, but eventually we put it all away. And every once in awhile, the clutter gets to us and we massively declutter in one fell swoop, only to eventually fall back into our old ways.

This weekend ended up being all about cleaning.

I went out with James F to finish off a student in Open Water on Saturday morning, and it was a beautiful day–warm, sunny, with high water temperatures (59deg). We thought it was a great day to dive.

Apparently the clams thought it was a great day to go about their business. And they did, with gusto. Very re-productively, you might say. I’ve never had someone give me that particular sign underwater and have it actually mean what it’s supposed to mean. It was disgusting, and it took the viz from 20 feet to 10 feet.

Yes. There was that much of if. Ewwwwwww!

It was a great morning, and two beautiful dives, but I could not wait to get home and get clean!

Then it was off to Mongolian BBQ. Yuuuuuummmmmmmmm.

Sunday, we ran some errands, including stopping by the bookstore to join in the crazy and buy the 7th Harry Potter. The rational for one book being that we don’t need two eventually, so we I should just have patience for now.

I don’t need to know all the details, and I will admit that I wish I didn’t know some of the ones that I do, but I just needed to know if Harry survived or not. If he didn’t, I was of two very divided minds to just not read the book, as that way he’d always be alive. Regardless, John and I agreed that if I could check the end for that particular outcome, he could read the book first.

I had thought the plan was to spend the afternoon letting him read, but in a brief clean spin through the apartment, with me sorting all the bills and stuff and him vaccuuming, he decided he couldn’t stand the state of our carpets.

Thus, we spent the rest of the day cleaning them. We rented a carpet cleaning machine from Safeway and did two passes over the apartment (and had several arguments about how much, if any, furniture needed to be moved).

We got up early this morning to do one last pass over the particularly dirty parts. All of our movable furniture is stacked in the kitchen, which means cooking is interesting.

Anyways, the carpet is much, much cleaner, although some of the dirt still shows through and I think we’ll need professionals to deal with it.

But in the grand scheme of needing to massively clean once we get started, I now really feel the need to clean the kitchen floors, the bathroom (especially the tub since we dumped the dirty rug water down the drain), and to declutter by packing up the stuff we stacked in the closets three years ago and never have used since.

I’m not sure where this cleaning is going, but hopefully to a better apartment and use of space. I don’t have time right now, between lab work, writing my first manuscript draft, Open Water classes starting, and working on AI status, to go into a clean freak mode.

I used to clean a lot when I was upset, which meant whenever John and I had a big fight. We haven’t had one in quite awhile, so maybe that’s why I feel the need to just cleancleanclean for awhile–things have been thoroughly cleaned in quite awhile. Not even when the in-laws last visited, as I didn’t have time. Probably it was last December, before my parents came.

Ah well, at least everything will be clean.

And heh, the clams had a good weekend!

Temporarily give me your tired, your poor skilled, educated workers,

Your huddled masses yearning

To be free paid a lot less than any American would be willing to work for.

Don’t send the wretched refuse of your

Teeming shore, especially if they don’t speak English.

We’ll send these, over-worked the homeless, back to you after six years so that they can reapply for permanent residency

Tempest-tost to me.

I lift my searchlight lamp beside the

Golden door! 700-mile fence.

*****

by Lockley in Funny Times

I’m not sure why, but on the drive to work this morning, I started thinking about my first job ever.

I detassled for the son of my middle school English teacher.

Detasseling? What’s that, you ask? For those of you non-midwesterners (and I’ll admit that I had no idea what detasseling was until we actually went out and did it), it’s pulling the tassel off the corn plant. Obviously.

In order to make hybrid seed corn for next year’s feed corn, midwetern farmers plant one row of type A corn, four rows of type B corn, one row of type A corn, etc, etc, etc. Then, when the plants are just about to put out their tassles (those spiky grass-like parts on top that produce pollen, and thus are the ‘male’ parts of the plant, hence the castration), they hire tons of 14-year-old kids to come out and pull the tassels off.

In Iowa, at least, this is pretty much the only job a 14-year-old can get. It sucks, but it pays good money. We worked from 6am to anywhere from 12pm to 4pm.

Early in the morning, the plants are wet, and thus you get soaked to the bone, no matter how much rain gear you wear. Later in the day, when the sun is out and had been up for awhile, it’s miserably hot.

There are mosquitos and flies everywhere.

If you’re freakishly short, like me, the corn is often taller than you, and thus you work all day with your hands over your head.

And that’s not even mentioning the corn rash, a nash series of small cuts and scrapes you get across any exposed skin, like your neck, from walking through corn leaves. And if you’re allergic to corn? Don’t bother to apply!

It was not fun work, but a lot of my friends did it, and thus the company was great. Also, my English teacher and her son were awesome, and the pay was good. A kid could make a decent $1-2000 over a three week period.

The first year, I was on a crew of four. Each kid got a row of B corn, and went along and detassled it, making sure not to miss any.

The second year, I was a crew leader. I had four kids of my own, and I followed them through the corn fields, making sure they didn’t miss too much.

When the owners came through to check, we couldn’t miss more than 10-12 plants per mile, or 5-6 plants per row, as the fields were half a mile long. There were always fields, especially those that we did early, that always had to be redone.

One time, when we had a surplus of crew leaders, and the original field needed a third check, the boss came and tagged those of us who worked fast and took us over. He gave us each a quarter of the field, so about 8 rows, half a mile long each, and send us off to check it all. Fun enough, my crew leader friend had just that morning on the bus told me the plot of ‘Children of the Corn’.

Now, I have an overactive imagination, and I probably walked those two miles in a new land speed record. I’ve never been so nervous in my life! Every time the wind blew and russled the corn, I about jumped out of my skin. I mentioned this to Mir the other day, which may be why I was thinking about detasseling in general this morning.

After finishing the field, we had to go catch up with our crews, and I again speedwalked about 3/4 of a mile before I caught up with them. Boy, was I relieved to see them!

My crew of girls was great: they were all close friends, and adopted me as their ‘mom’ for the summer. A good friend of mine was another crew leader, and my girls made up a song about me and him and our two crews to the tune of the Brady Bunch song. It was hilarious. I think (hope) I still have it written down somewhere. They also had a habit of naming corn both before and after detassling it, as in “First you’re Bob, now you’re Brenda.” Good times. Two of those girls later came and ran cross country with me, and I still vaguely keep in touch with them.

The third year, I became a field leader. My job, instead of actually going into the corn field, was to direct all the crews and their leaders into specific rows, guage how fast we were working, how fast we might finish the field, when people needed a break for snacks, water, lunch, bathrooms, whatnot, time those breaks and make sure they got back to work in reasonable time, and if I thought we were capable of doing a second field. And how clean we were being. And, of course, most importantly, I got to work on my tan.

I had rovers, ususally tall guys who had been working for several years, who went out and roamed the field behind the crew leaders, checking the checkers, as it were. And sometimes, I had a back-field leader. The girl who got this job was a royal pain in the you-know-what. She only got the job if there were too many leaders, and always complained ‘why can’t I do the front?’ (cause I’d been there longer), ‘why can’t I have a radio?’ (cause they’re weren’t enough to go around and she was low on the totem pole), ‘why can’t i do the back field today?’ (cause we need you crew leading).

After awhile, I was making really good money, getting a 50cent raise every year, and in two to three weeks I could make bank! However, I started having real jobs, first at a department store in town, and then research jobs, and was restricted to detassling on the weekends. Eventually, it was too much of a hassle, and I just dropped out. It helped that the English teacher and her son had quite, and the guy who ran it, ironically the History teacher from the middle school, wasn’t nearly as fun to work with.

It was a fun job, though, despite the mud, the dew/rain, the sun, the bugs, the cuts, the scrapes, the laundry (had to do the clothes every day and then basically never wore them again after the end of the season, same for the shoes) and the heat and humidity.

I’ll never, ever, EVER do it again, but it was a fun job.

Well, that was interesting!

We just lost power here at work for about 40 minutes. Now, that’s not a long time, but it was completely out, except for the emergency wall outlets, and it took much longer to come back on than all previous outages I’ve been a part of here.

And it’s handy when you start to notice that the oh-so-important things, like the centrifuge and the microwave, are plugged into the red emergency power backup outlets, while the trivial stuff, like the INCUBATORS WITH ALL OUR CELLS or the FREEZERS AND FRIDGES WITH MANY YEAR’S WORTH OF SAMPLES IN THEM are plugged into regular wall outlets, and are thus off.

GAH!

So we spent a few minutes thinking eh, it’ll pass. And then wondering why it wasn’t passing. And then wondering what the heck we should do.

Finally, we finished up what we were doing–the joys of working in a sterile hood that is not on, and thus not sterile!–and ventured outside to the “Emergency Meeting Point”.

No one out there seemed to know much, and as we’d stood around long enough to grab computers and purses and whatnot, as well as finish up bits and pieces of experiments, and as it had taken 20-25 minutes for them to sound any alarm, in this case a fire alarm, and finally as said alarm had been turned off almost immediately, we stood around for a couple minutes and then wandered back inside.

At this point, one of the post-docs and I considered starting to move the important stuff to the important wall outlets, which probably would have involved a lot of heavy lifting by two small women, or zillions of extension cords.

Explain to me why (a) fridges and whatnot only have tiny short electrical cords, and (b) why none of them are near an emergency power outlet? Of course, that does explain (c) why they weren’t plugged into said outlets in the first place.

Sadly, although science does make sense in the long run, it’s a complicated process, and the same can be said for the minds of those who design science labs, apparently.

Anyways, the power came back on (hallelujah! we have internet again!) and I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth setting up overnight stuff, on the off chance that the power will blink again.

No word, of course, from the administration, as to WHY the power blinked–er, snoozed, maybe–in the first place. That would be entirely too easy.

Apparently it’s that time of year again when the marriage bug starts to bite people. A bunch of my friends are getting married!!!

There’s my best friend from high school, Dave, who’s marrying the cutest, sweetest girl for him in the world next spring in Florida. They are adorable together, and I’m so glad he’s found someone to make him happy. We dated in high school, and most people probably assumed we’d end up together. Needless to say, things ended, and I got John (that worked out well, don’t ya think?), and we all became friends after a bit. But there’s always been a lingering sense of something, not really guilt, but responsibility (maybe? still not quite the right word) about his happiness in relationship-land. It’s along the lines of I found John and we’re happy, and I want that same happiness for him. Now he’s found it, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Plus, I love her, so it’s even better!

Then there’s my childhood best friend, who’s marrying next October in Arizona. We’ve loosely kept in touch, but I know she’s occasionally struggled in the past with boys, and I’m so happy she’s found someone!

Then there’s a guy in my class, who just proposed to his girlfriend. I’ve only met her a couple times, but he’s a great guy and I’m sure they’ll be happy.

There’s the Brits, Nate and Shelly, that we know through diving, who are getting married in September. You should have seen me running down the street in a 7mm wetsuit to find her when John told me they’d gotten engaged. Imagine a short all-black penguin waddling really, really fast. It was hilarious to watch, I’m sure, but I had to find her and congratulate her/them! They leave in just a short time for England, and will be gone for two months–we’ll miss them, but they’re going to have so much fun!

Then there’s Rae and Aaron, another diving couple, who we met during their Advanced class. They’re not quite as far along in the planning stages, but are also a great couple, and we love to hang out with them. Theyr’e thinking of getting married up in wine country, which would be beautiful!

And finally, last night at the shop, I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in a couple months. I knew his girlfriend was moving here from Thailand, but I was certainly surprised when he introduced me to his wife! She’s a sweetie, and he was getting her ready for her first diving weekend in Monterey. I wish them luck!

Good thing I’m already married to John, or I’d start to get my hopes up about finding someone! 😉

Is it a bad sign that, the day after our anniversary, I noticed a stone missing from my wedding band?

It was 7 small seed diamonds, and one is gone. I’m off to the jewelers after work to raise hell, if need be, and get it fixed.

One of the labmates pointed out this means we only have 6 years left. I think he’s just bitter over women right now, and let’s hope that’s it!

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