a little science lesson

As I left this morning I looked down and noticed that our crocuses are coming up! And not just a little bit. Could it be a sign that this interminable cold could someday end? Is spring on its way?

On a related note, I just ran across a bunch of drawings I did for a little educational book about vernal pools. I worked on it for an old job, along with my friend Andy (who coincidentally just emailed me to say hi. Hi Andy!) Andy and I also worked together on a book about wastewater treatment, but that's a story for another time... poop on a conveyor belt! wheee!

The annual migration of amphibians to vernal pools is my absolute favorite rite of spring. During the first rainy spring nights, the earliest emerging frogs & salamanders migrate to temporary woodland ponds that form from snow melt and rainwater. Think Serengeti wildebeest, but with salamanders, in the dark, in the rain. And maybe not quite so many, but a lot! So many that in some towns they set up roadblocks around high(salamander)-traffic crossing points, or install tunnels under the roads.

Vernal pools are critical habitat for a whole host of organisms, such as:

Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum)
Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica)

and fairy shrimp (Eubranchipus spp.)
Yes! Shrimp! In the forest!
They survive all year long as little tiny eggs on the forest floor, then for two weeks in spring they hatch, grow, breed and die, and their eggs spend the next year hanging around in the leaf litter. I'm telling you, it's things like this that make me wonder:
Why doesn't EVERYONE want to be a biologist? Biology is just so awesome.

All of the other organisms that breed in the vernal pools have to hurry up & get to it as well, as they have to be grown and out of there before the water dries up. It's a mad dash.

For a real multi-media vernal pool experience you have to listen to Adam's story about amphibian migrations here. You can hear all the peepers & wood frogs go wild in the background.

could anyone spare a taxidermied waterfowl?

I have been on the hunt for some old photocubes for some time now. It started as my brilliant holiday gift idea; I'd fill them with various meaningful pics for various meaningful people. I scoured thrift stores with no luck and I finally tracked some down at Target, but they were too pricey for a block of plastic, if you ask me. Anyway, I scrapped the present idea, but I've kept my eyes open, and this weekend I found a few at TFA.

I've had a few ideas about how I would fill the cubes:

  • pictures of my puppy
  • pictures of cupcakes!
  • old family photos of our parents as kids, etc.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to top the pictures that came with the photocube packaging:

A miniature golden piano (being caressed ever-so-gently by Barbara Streisand's doppelganger), a collection of creepy plastic dolls and a senior portrait with a ship replica? Honestly people, how can I do better than that?


two for one

Just when I was beginning to think that maybe I don't hate all clowns, a wet puppy nose came along and swiped this one. I guess now we know what Moxie thinks of carnies.

Whenever I can't think of something to draw I just ask Adam for an idea. He's like a random-number generator for picture ideas. He comes up with things like A robot surgeon, operating on a squid! or three cats fixing the sewer lines! Last night's gem was this one:
A yeti holding two pennies!



Just dropped the guests off at the airport.
After this weekend I have a new rule:
If you want to come and visit, you have to bring a toddler. It was so much fun!
An easy thing to say when in the all-of-the-benefits-none-of-the-responsibility type of role. And also easy to say when she's as fun as this little one.
I'll wax poetic about the pros of toddler visitation once I download some pictures.

On another note, my friend Carrie, over at fortnest, just finished her studio in a little shed on their property in Maine. You should go on over to her site and peek at it. I would love to have a space like that (especially in Maine!). All I have is a corner in the basement:

I dream of a day when we'll have enough space for me to sprawl across a whole room. An event that will have Adam going into spasms every time he walks by -- my clutter gives him hives. I promise to shut the door, honey!


almost fully funtional adults

This weekend Parker is coming to visit all the way from Maine, with his little munchkin Haley-Jo in tow. I know the arrival of a bachelor & a 3 yr. old shouldn't send me into a cleaning frenzy, but I wanted to make sure she didn't toddle out of the bedroom with an empty beer bottle or a pair of dirty underwear.

Just kidding! Well, sort of. There are not any empty beer bottles... in the bedroom.

However, while vacuuming under the bed I did find this:

The sock that I have been missing since... oh, maybe all winter. At least since New Year's.
What does it mean about me, and my tenuous grasp on adulthood, that the missing sock was just two feet from my head every night, being colonized by dust bunnies, for lo' these long cold months?

I am pretty sure that in my early twenties when I pictured myself, some day in the future, married and in graduate school, that I pictured myself living in a world where the floors under my bed were cleaned on a much more regular basis. It's just that I FORGET.

I am, however, happy to report that the area behind the television was much less dirty than I expected, and in fact, was hardly dusty at all. I guess the vacuum has made the rounds to that deep dark recess a bit more recently. And from that small, dust-free corner, I take some bit of solace.

A Note on Cleaning Attire:

When I vacuum & mop I like to wear heels. It makes me hate the vacuum less, and, since I never remember to take everything I need out of a room before I start mopping, I don't leave dirty footprints on the wet floor when I have to run back in to answer the phone. It is a practice that I highly recommend. Apron optional.

And since I never can wrap things up succinctly-- have you noticed how many times I used the word "vacuum" in this post? Just let me tell you that at first, every single instance was spelled differently (and then nicely underlined in red for me by Blogger), as I tried to figure out how to spell it. Two c's? Two m's? Oh. Two u's.


drawing a blank

Its been coooold here. I think it froze my brain.  The best thing I can think to write about are my favorite bizarre food combinations, like grape Gatorade and Doritos, or radishes and blue cheese.  For now, I'll let you keep the precious space those facts would occupy in your brain free for more important things, like the lyrics to Piano Man. 

in hospital

Just brought Moxie home from the ol' snip-snip. Dogs are so cute when they are all drugged up on pain killers.


truly, madly, deeply.

I know it's belated, and V-day was last week and all, but I forgot to post the Valentine that I made for Adam this year. You know, because our love is just so visceral.

Smooch smooch smooch!


i just happened to notice

Contents of driver's side cupholder:

  1. one pair dollar store sunglasses
  2. four pennies
  3. four pesos
  4. three bobby pins
  5. one Jimi Hendrix button from MOJO
  6. one packet ketchup


shake things up

I just ran across this pic while rooting around in a box of stuff from when we lived in Maine (ahhhh...Maine....). This was drawn during a Workplace Wellness employee conference for a job I had in Portland. Specifically, this was drawn during a sexual harassment skit. It was one of those cringing audience participation drills. It involved Joe, a middle aged blue-collar man who looked like Santa and kept our sewer lines functional, and Randi, a billing department secretary. Reading from cue cards, he told her her blouse looked nice. Then he asked her on a date.

I wanted to die, right there, on Joe's behalf. This kind soul who probably hadn't thought about blouses since he last put his wife's delicates in with his dungarees. I was doodling to create a distraction for myself, but I have no idea how it ended up in a box of seashells, bumper stickers and a flyer from a Kid Koala concert at the Space. I do remember that at first the doodle-people just had regular bodies but, my boss looked over and said they looked like salt shakers, so I went ahead and embellished them.


i totally called the beagle

Just ask Adam. That beagle walked onto the floor at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog-stravaganza and I said, "that's the one." Moxie, on the other hand, took her time, and under carefully consideration had her money on the Boston Terrier. But she obviously let her personal bias color her decision, as that dog didn't even win his group.

On another note:

Check out this post-it drawing blog. Crikey. Compared to those, mine look like something your kid dragged* home from pre-school. Good thing it's just a one month theme.

*Since I'm drawing this post out, might I also note that Moxie started puppy kindergarten this past weekend and I couldn't pay attention to the instructor b/c she kept saying "drug", as a past tense of drag. And I'm no stickler for proper English, but I do prefer real words, and I couldn't stop thinking about how one would 'properly' spell that word. And does she spell it out that way? Or is it like when I drive Patty crazy because I say cereal like "sir-e-ul"?



DefectiveYeti had a funny post once about how commuting by bike fills him with his three favorite substances: endorphins, adrenaline and self-righteousness. At the time I was a daily bike commuter and could totally understand what he was talking about, but I have been driving to school a lot lately, since it has been so terribly gross out; cold, slick, and windy. I feel pretty guilty about this fact, as I live just 3 miles from school.

Back when I didn't have a car I took the bus every day that I didn't ride, so at least I could still keep up my sense of superiority. But now that I have car access for a few months this winter, and I discovered a street with free parking near campus, my resolve has gone out the window. That and the $3.50 round trip seems a bit more steep when its not my only option.

Today I caught a ride to school from Adam and took the bus home, which seemed like a nice, earth-friendly compromise, and my smugness was returning until we passed a biker on the way. Argh! Mocking me, in my not-yet-warm-prob.-won't-be-by-the-time-I-get-to-where-I'm-going car! ... Except:

And here's where I get on my high horse:

Except for the fact that it was way-way super icy slick out today, this guy was riding on Grand Ave., the busiest street in the neighborhood, and (most importantly) was NOT wearing a helmet.

If you ever want to raise my biker-ire, ride by with a baseball cap on. I'll yell at you from the sidewalk.

I mean, really, even if this oh-so intrepid biker had no other option to get to work on this treacherous morning <cough-bus-cough>, and hates riding the side streets (me too, I understand, it's out of the way), at least put a helmet on so that when the crazy Missouri driver next to you hits that patch of black ice and freaks out all over the road and right into you, there is something between your skull and the curb. I'm just saying.

Wow. Ok, so now I, my opinions, and my plethora of hyphens are going to bed.


in other news...

I finally finished posting all the eye pillows and baby books on etsy. Sheesh, that takes a long time. Check out my shop if you have a chance. I'd promise stuff more soon, but now that I realize how long it takes, I'll promise more... sometime...



Despite being a biologist, and pretty much studying plants for a living, I cannot keep houseplants alive to save my soul. I do ok with gardens, but once they come inside they shrivel and die in short order. I do best with plants when I can just hover over them in their natural environment and count them, measure them, do anything with them but try and grow them.

So, needless to say, I'm a bit freaked that I not only proposed to do a little greenhouse project as a part of my thesis research, but I also went and got it funded. Now I have to plant a bunch of desert grass seeds and pray that a miracle occurs.


Poor grammar aside, I'm excited about my theme for February: Picture-A-Day.
I'm going to pretend that it's a double-entendre, wherein one side encapsulates my desire to one day have a balance between the artistic-leaning and scientific-leaning sides of my life, and the other sums up my blatant disregard for proper English.
But to be honest, its really just laziness. My own personal challenge to myself, since I can't seem to find time to read, is to make a picture every night before I go to bed, so why not recycle them here? Read-made posts.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time today on the website for Neighborhoodies, trying to decide between "TOWER GROVE" in Wiggety font on a black hoodie, or "South City" (Adam's recommendation) on navy. In the end I remembered that I can't afford either, and closed the window and walked away. Its a cathartic maneuver I learned from Patricia; fill the online shopping cart, then close the window. All the fulfillment of picking the things you like, with none of the credit card debt.

letter to Laura

Where did the time go? Is it really the 10th? I have a February theme comin' atcha soon, I swear. Until then, I'm going to recycle the second half of a convo. between me & my sister from this evening...

OF COURSE I'll be a braidesmaid. Especially since you asked me to be a BRIDESMAID and not a MATRON OF HONOR. You know, since i'm so old and rickety. Wheeeeee!!!!!!! I feel like I want to really talk with you about all of this, in a non-wedding-planning-pressure sort of way. Just that since i recently went through it all (not that my experience necessarily mirrors your at all), but I have fresh impressions of the whole endeavor. Anyway. I'd love to chat about it, and I promise not to ask about table settings. All I wanted to focus on when I was wedding planning was the big stuff, like what it all means to me, as a person, etc. but all anyone wanted to know about was catering, and I was all F@!K THE CHICKEN! Whatever.

I hear you re: being in a rut. Except I have it in the opposite way. I'm supposed to be focusing on school, my research , etc. And all I can think about, all I have inspiration on, are all the things I want to MAKE! I have ideas coming out of my ears, but I have school-work guilt holding my back from getting any of my arty ideas out, so in the end, NOTHING gets done. Its terribly unproductive.

I miss you and I love you.


PS-- Obama is totally rocking the shite out of these elections and I'm so pumped. My friends Mike and Xtina in Maine are all up in the Obama action and they went to caucus today and he sent a pic of her, holding a Obama sign to me. I told him he should get her an Obama-Mama t-shirt, as it would get him all revved up nudge-nudge. And he said-- "That would be one raucous caucus!"


three cheers for civics!

Oooo, the great claps of thunders, the bright flashes of lightning. Such a dramatic backdrop to this great day of civic engagement! Adam has taken to calling it Super-Freaky Tuesday, which I think is hilarious. But you know what I DON'T find funny? Not voting.

Despite my rampant cynicism and general air of jadedness when it comes to all things "participation", I LOVE voting. It fills me with a big welling sense of doing my part, and of being a small particle in a much larger movement.

That's a feeling I've been getting a lot lately. I am three-sheets-to-the-wind excited about this election. Because a) there is nowhere to go but up, so no matter what, we win! and b) i'm convinced the tide has turned and we're destined for a Democrat. Wheee! And, to have a choice between an African-American and a woman? What a lovely predicament to be in.

Not that I'm in much of a predicament, as I'm on the Obama wagon 100% and I'm also convinced, and I'll lecture you long and hard about it, that Obama is the feminist choice. Because we've come so far, that, voting for Hilary just b/c she's a woman? Oh, that's so passe, and also goes against everything our mothers fought for (thanks mom!) If you prefer her as a candidate, well, good for you, and I'll leave you alone. But if you are choosing her b/c you feel bad NOT voting for her, come on! Let's vote for people, people! Not for labels.

And now, a break for some admittedly cheesy inspiration. But as the man says, listening to Obama's speeches gets me all riled up and feeling feisty and OPTIMISTIC, wonder of wonders. If you had told me, four years ago, that this is where we would be at the next election cycle, I wouldn't have believed you. I wouldn't have believed that the future could look so bright and that I might once again feel a sense of pride in the choices of my fellow Americans.

so busted

good advice

From random