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Oh my goodness, I’d forgotten how nice it was to sleep with a dog on the bed, but I’d also forgotten how large dogs tend to take up even larger spaces in the bed.

I’m happy, but once the ibuprofen kicks in and the kink in my back is gone, I’ll be even happier.

Now we’ve got one more night to teach Bob to sleep at the foot of the bed, not between us. HA!


I get to dog sit this weekend.

This, for me, is the highlight of the last couple of weeks.

My family has had dogs my entire life. I, personally, have had dogs until freshman year of college, when my dog had to be put down the Wednesday of finals week. That did NOT go well. My mom brought him to me so I could say goodbye, and I think it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, almost evenly on par with saying goodbye to my grandmother the night she died.

My dog was Einstein, because my family is full of nerds. My sister’s dog? Pearson, after the statistician that came up with the chi-squared test. Yeah, nerds, all of us.

He was a labradoodle before they were an AKA recognized cross. Somebody’s standard poodle got hold of somebody’s lab, and nobody wanted the result (not being purebred and all), so they were sold at the country fair from a box. Our house had recently been robbed, and these dogs promised to be big, so we came home with one.

I can still remember that (relatively) small bundle of black fur wriggling around in the backseat between Amy and I. I was 5, and could barely pick him up even then. He grew into a huge dog, equivalent to a large lab, and was so homely that he truly was someone only a mother (or me) could love.

He had the beautiful shapely head of a poodle, but the big barrel-chested body of a lab. That sat atop the spindly little poodle legs to complete the picture. He had curly hair like a poodle’s, but it was coarse like a lab’s. His tail had been bobbed (grrrr), so when he tried to wag, his entire rear-end moved.

He was, to me, the world’s best dog. Although he was a family dog, I quickly adopted him as ‘mine’. He used to sleep in my bedroom, and we played together in the backyard all the time. Later, I was the one who took him for walks and always gave him a treat or two.

Our backyard was full of orange and grapefruit trees, and he could easily fit 2 oranges and a grapefruit into his mouth. He loved to chase them, and the citric acid did great things to his teeth!

I remember, with Amy, dressing him up in tutus and other random outfits. He was always very patient with us children, and never minded what we put him through.

When we moved to the Midwest and acquired a house with stairs, we had to teach him how to go down and up. Pulling and pushing a 100+lb dog up and down a flight of stairs caused a lot of giggles and was a lot of fun hard work.

In middle school, when I had a really tough time, I’d often go to him and tell him my problems, which always made me feel better. He’d lay there with his head in my lap, seeming to listen, and looking at me with that incredibly intelligent and noble expression of his. The eyebrows helped enormously, too.

He got older, and eventually we brought home Pearson, who loved to rough-and-tumble play with Einstein. Einstein would always flip over on his back, as Pearson was small for a lab, so the playing was more equal. I think it’s just another example of his good nature and even temper.

They played happily for several years before Einstein just got too old. The rough-and-tumble was less frequent, and walks were shorter and slower. He didn’t chase the ball much anymore. He stopped eating at one point, and the vet announced he had a cancerous mass blocking his intestines, and the kindest thing to do would be to let him go. I have a picture of myself with him that evening, in the park of my college town, and it still hangs on my fridge today. He really was my best friend for the longest time, and got me through one of the hardest parts of my life.

Through college, and into the present, I’ve never managed to live in a place that will let me have a dog. And John argues that, since I want another big dog, it would just be cruel to have him in a small apartment. I agree, but as the years go by, my need to have another doggy companion is becoming stronger.

So a diving friend is going out of town this weekend, and has asked me to dog-sit Bob. I absolutely cannot wait. I’ve got an Open Water class all weekend, but I get to go on dog walks three times a day and sleep with a dog on the bed instead of cats once again. This, I think, might really be some therapy for me.

Things are slowly improving mentally. I went to lunch with Elizabeth yesterday, and we re-hashed old times, and talked about our lives now. I spent yesterday evening baking two cakes (one for dinner with the dog’s owners and one for James F’s birthday tonight in class), as well as gigantic pasta salad for James F’s potluck dinner party Saturday night. Then we got to play with the dog all evening.

I won’t say I’m completely okay, because honestly I probably won’t be until this repeat-everything-you’ve-ever-done business is all over, but I’m getting there. And finally having a dog to spoil and love again, even if it’s only for a weekend, is going to be a great help.

It will probably make me more desperate to get a dog of my own, but I’m not sure that’s in the cards.

The trick there will be what to name a dog when I do get him. I’ve got a physicist and a mathematician, so I should probably name him after a chemist or botanist. Yeah, I’m a total nerd, but eh, I’ll have a dog, and that’s what matters.

Only a couple hours until I get to pick up Bob from doggie daycare!

Lab Member 1: So they’re having a half price sale and the antibody is only $700 this week.

Lab Member 2: Half price sale? On antibodies?

Me: The antibody we ordered was $700ish without being half price, and they guarantee it.

Steven: More like $800.

Lab Member 1: Well then, what’s the big deal with the half price?

Dr. M: It’s like a troop surge. You send in 30,000, and then take out 21,000 and call it a withdrawal.

Lab meeting yesterday was *hilarious*!!!

And apparently, I lied well enough that even I believed it, although I will say that sometimes fooling yourself is easier than fooling other people.

I may or may not have pretty much had a complete breakdown last night, in front of multiple people, at the Dive Shop. John’s coworkers, our particular staff members, random other staff members, random customers, random people in general.

Yes, I was the person walking around saying she was fine and then breaking into tears.

So I threw up my hands and admitted defeat and went home to John. He’d balked at going, since he wasn’t having fun with AI training, and I think that may have been the straw that broke my the camel’s back.

After explaining everything to Greg and some of John’s coworkers, including Matt, who’s been gone and missed the beginning of the drama where work imploded on me, I went home to John and we talked.

Apparently, he’s feeling too pushed to do AI, and I have to admit that I’m probably the one who’s been pushing the hardest. I know he tends to sit back and do nothing unless forced to or it’s fun, like computer games, and I guess I felt like if I just pushed him through it, he’d have it done and it wouldn’t matter any longer. And frankly, I wanted to get through it ASAP and have the company.

So we’re going to take it slower, because I do want to do it with him. We’re supposed to be helping Greg with a class tonight–no idea if John will want to go, despite saying he would last night. Today he jibbed when I asked, so we’ll see.

I’m preparing myself for a ‘no’ and crossing my fingers for a ‘yes’.

And this isn’t going to be my week.

Not only did I break down last night, fairly completely, but today I poured a full bacteria culture overmyself. That was fun, and necessitated an immediate shower and laundry, as well as scraping most of my work plans for the day so I could go home to do said shower and laundry. Grrrrrrrr.

Oh well, if the chlorine in the pool can kill the bacteria from all the little kid poop that gets in there during swim lessons, it can probably kill the bacteria we use to grow plasmids, right?


I used to clean when I was upset. Argument with my mom? With John? Bad day at school? Bad hair day? My room would be so clean you could eat off the floor. (Ignoring, of course, my dog and the fact you could NEVER get all the dog hair out of the carpet.)

So today I cleaned house, which I have to say I wasn’t really upset enough to do, but it needed doing and it helped with the whole cleansing process anyway. It was sort of cathartic to scrub the shower, I’ll admit.

I also went shopping with John, who isn’t quite as fun as Amelia in that he tends to lean towards the don’t-spend-money end of the spectrum, but still nice. I ended up getting another pair of size 4 jeans. If this is a fluke, Gap and Anne Taylor are in on it together, and I’m really okay with that. Macy’s is too, but not for the same price. I also got new bras to (finally) replace the ones that were stolen from our laundry room awhile back.

Steven, a post-doc in the lab, called me a slacker for not coming in, and then offered to set up some cultures for me so I didn’t have to. Go figure. But it was a really nice gesture, and one which I appreciate a lot.

I’ve also played a lot of dominoes with John this weekend. Mexican Train Dominoes isn’t quite the same with only two people, and the game goes pretty fast, but we’ve had fun. It’s been nice to just sort of laze around or do the errands that need to get done without worrying about work.

I think my new policy will be No Work On Weekends until I get my head on straight. Unless it’s setting up overnight cultures or something. (And we’ll ignore the fact that we’ve got Open Water scuba class the next two weekends, so I couldn’t work even if I wanted to.)

Stanford spectacularly lost the football game last night, but we played well in the first half, after letting Oregon score 14 point sin the first 3 and 1/2 minutes. We were actually up at half-time. Of course, we then let them continue to score in the second half without actually doing so ourselves.

All the undergrads are back on campus, as classes start Monday (I think). I will never understand the concept of wearing a miniskirt to a football game, or taking a gigantic purse. Or having a blackberry as an UNDERGRAD. Geez, I wish my parents loved me that much. But noooo, they had to go teach me the value of earning money on my own to buy myself stuff. Stupid life lessons. Hrmpf.

Let’s see… What else can I ramble about?

Oh, yes. Food. We had salmon for dinner, in a tasty honey soy teriyaki glaze. Now I just have to hope I still fit into those size 4s in the morning.

But you know what? I think this whole weekend has done me a lot of good. I think I’ve pretty much come to terms with trashing the last 2.5 years worth of work and starting over.

And if I haven’t, there’s always the kitchen floor to scrub.

I’ve complained a lot recently about how crappy things are at work.

I’ve done my best to stay busy, focusing on getting Assisstant Instructor training done, so I don’t have to think about losing the last 2.5 years worth of work and starting over.

Thursday night, we did the Standards Exam, and I missed one measly little question–stupid mistake–damn! And then John took Saturday out of my hands, bailed on Greg, and ordered me to stay home and sleep.

On the way home, I broke down a bit trying to explain to him how I felt I needed to keep busy to avoid thinking, how I was worried that that would lead to a complete mental breakdown. He suggested that maybe I needed to have that breakdown to get over the hurdle.

So in the past 24 hours, I’ve read two (!) books (which is probably more than in the last several months), watched Top Gun on TV (how is it that I only ever see that movie on TV, and never all the way through in one straight shot?), and cried twice. It’s also been raining, as if the weather is matching my mood.

As as much as I hate to admit it, I think John was right. Crying did end up making me feel better. Being at the ocean at 7am this morning would not have done that.

Yes, I know this situation sucks. Yes, I know I’m going to have to repeat the last 2.5 years worth of work. Yes, I know this is what part of grad school is all about–the failures and the learning. Yes, it might now take me 2.5 years instead of 2 to graduate.

But the process should only take me 6-9 months to redo, since I’m not in classes, I know the experiments now, and I know what I’m looking for. If I don’t get the same results, big deal. It might just lead me in another direction. And if it does, then that’s something else to publish. Better now than after publishing–having to retract a paper is never good.

So maybe now that I’ve gotten over the anger and the frustration and the sadness and the helplessness, I can just dig in my heels and start working like a bat outta hell.

I don’t think I’m done with all that, and it’ll probably take some time to get me straightened out, but I’m on the way.

And there’s gyros and football and friends tonight, so for now, at least, the rain needs to stop.

It’s raining, I’ve got coffee, and the only good Tom Cruise movie is on TV.

Man, if only I could get my hands on Maverick, just for a day. Or night, as it were.



“I don’t think you’re allowed to smoke in the command room.”

“Well, you might have been able to in the 70’s, or whenever this movie is from.”

“It’s from the 80’s. 1986, I think. Hey, this movie can drink!”

Murphy’s Law: Everything takes longer than you think. Nothing is as simple as it seems. If anything can go wrong, it will.

O’Grady’s Law: Murphy’s Law is very optimistic.

Last night we were scheduled to practice our Assistant Instructor classroom presentations for knowledge development with James F. Before leaving, Greg asked for our outlines.

Outline? What outline?

So then we got the whole nine yards lecture about not winging it and all.

Winging it? Weren’t we going to practice it tonight? Doesn’t that mean not winging it?

Anyways, so we’ve (I’ve) written outlines and we’ve (I’ve) practiced them, and we’re (I’m) hopefully all ready to go tonight. I can’t vouch for John on any of these. He’s supposedly done it at work today, but we all know how well that plan is likely to go.

I’m nervous.

I can get up in front of people and talk. I can do scuba. So it goes to reason I should be able to get up in front of people and talk about scuba.

I’m not worried about the pool or ocean sessions–we’ve done that enough in real life with students that I think it’ll just be fun.

The skill circuit? Done it before, I can do it again, dammit.

The 800 meter swim? Ugh, but same as above.

The standards exam? Frankly, it’s how well you can look the information up in the Instructor Manual, so again, not real worried. We may actually do this tonight.

But the classroom presentation? I’ve never done it before. I’ve watched Greg and James F and Ben countless times, as well as other instructors, but I’ve. Never. Done. It. Myself.

So I’m feeling better now than I did last night, and we are definitely more prepared with our outlines in hand, but I’m still nervous.

Especially since, if I screw this one up, the other thing I have to teach is 7 slides instead of 2. Ugh.

Stick to the outline. Stick to the outline. Sticktotheoutline!!!!

Get it? Got it! Good!

The weather, the last couple of weeks, has been strange.

It’s been calm and cool, with hazy mornings and almost-cold evenings.

If we were still in the Midwest, it would be the sort of weather where it’s 90° with horrendously high humidity, and the hazy on the horizon would be an approaching thunderstorm. I’d be subconciously checking for where my family, friends, pets were, and aware that I might need to check weather reports for tornado watches and warnings.

Other than the humidity, I love those storms. They come rolling across the plains, so powerful and so full of lightening.

Growing up in Arizona, I used to lay awake and watch the monsoons come rolling in off the mountains, full of thunder and lightening that would eventually lull me to sleep. I’ve always loved the power of those storms.

However, in the midwest, I became very aware of how that power could mean destruction as well.

(And sadly, why is it that tornados always seem to hit trailer parks? You think it’s a myth, until you see it happen over and over and over and over again.)

Here, when I got outside, I’m not immediately suffocated by the humidity. It’s cool instead of hot. The haze never moves closer, never materializes into anything.

It’s as if the weather is waiting for something. What, I’m not sure, but that’s the impression I get.

Then, today, there’s wind. The trees are not quite whipping around, but definitely more than a gentle breeze is moving them. It’s still cool, and there was still a bank of clouds out on the coastal range this morning. But now its as if the waiting has become restless.

I don’t really believe in weather omens, but sometimes I wonder.


September 2007
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