What's on my mind.

31 March 2009

Our Special Tonight is Green Beans.

For April I'm adding a new goal. I will go to the dance (Roaring 20's, costumes invited) AND I will eat at least 2 servings of vegetables and one fruit a day*.

It's kind of sad, that I have to make this a goal. I like veggies - really - but I don't eat enough of them. I eat out for lunch most workday and let's face it fries or chips don't count as a veggie (for one thing potatoes are a starch). I get salad when it's offered but that's not always a choice. So I'm going to try really hard to have something green with lunch. For supper, at home, I often make mac'n'cheese or a rice dish or open a can of something. Again not enough veggies and fruits.

My main plan is to eat vegetables and rice for supper most of the time. Or couscous, I like couscous and it's fast. Last time I did major grocery shopping I got a couple different 'veggie in sauce' things and some of the heat and serve rice things. The only problem is the sauces are often salty. I'd get bagged salad but half of it ends up going bad.

Same for fruit. I broke up a bag of grapes the other day so I wouldn't end up throwing half out. I'm planning to add fruit to supper, too. And, at least sometimes, mix fruit (fresh or canned) with vanilla yogurt. (Blackberries this morning, yummy and on sale) I'm not going to count FOB yogurt (usual breakfast) because somehow that doesn't seem like 'real' fruit.

I keep going back and forth on how big a gaarden to do this year. I like cooking/eating veggies I've grown. I need to get some lettuce and spanich planted before it gets to hot. I have some infant lettuce in the garden right now but I could eat all of that in one meal. I like bell peppers, particularly the pretty colored ones, and have some luck growing them. Hot peppers do well, so I like growing them, but I don't use them much. I have no luck with the sqaush family (who can't grow zucchinni?) or tomatoes. I think I'm just too lazy for tomatoes. Eggplant are iffy - sometimes ok sometimes disaster. (Do they count as a starch?) Oh, and I need to replenish all my herbs. I manage to kill them off every year.

*I don't measure my food particularly, so it may be more like 4 veggie and 2 fruit servings. Particularly with the fruit because who eats half an apple?

26 March 2009

Field Gear

I don't have a picture handy of what I look like in my field gear so I'll follow Geotripper's (et al.) lead and just describe it. What I wear/carry in the field varies a lot, depending on what I'm doing but somethings remain the same.

Hair: Somewhat unkempt. Now that it is short, it's just under a hat (baseball or straw) or tied back with a kerchief. When it was longer it was pulled back one way or another and under a hat. At field camp it would start out a down in back, then in a pony tail, then braided by the 3rd day without washing.

Sunburned Peeling Nose: Sure hope not. That's what the hat and sunscreen are for.

Beard: Can't seem to grow one, which is just as well because waxing ain't cheap.

The Ever-Present T-shirt and Logo: Depending on the weather and location the T-shirt would be sleeveless and covered with a long-sleeved light weight shirt (the better to keep off bugs, sun, and prickers) or long-sleeved and under a sweater or, rarely, a flannel shirt. Every once in a while I do wear just a t-shirt by itself. Most of my long- and short- sleeved tees have logos/slogans on them the tank tops don't. Favorites LS tees are the volunteer fire department and crab trap clean up (OK they are about the only LS tees I have); I don't have favorite SS tees too many choices. The GSA one is OK. The big seal on the back and dark green color make it a bit warm in the summer, besides it disappeared after the second time I wore it.

Belt and Buckle: Pants fit o.k. but I need something to hang my Brunton on. I have a big tool belt that I wore over my pants at field camp with a hammer holster and field pack; I don't usually wear that anymore because I'm never that far from the car.

Deep Pockets: (not in the legal sense; geologists are often poor) Keys (if I'm driving), inhaler (if I remember to get it out of my purse), cell phone (if I remember...), and occasional small sample may be in my pockets. Other stuff (water bottle, camera, Brunton, purse, tape, extra padlock, colored pencils,...) are in my backpack and/or camera bag. I usually carry my field book and a pen in my hand or shove it in the back of my pants when I need both hands. This habit has lead to my field book almost disappearing completely in one day when I wore slightly loose pants.

Assorted Scars and Bandages: Actually I can't think of a scar that is geology related.

Rock Hammer: for specimen collecting, fighting off deer flies, self-defense, installing Li-Cor collars, beating stupid computers senseless, etc.

Muscular, tanned legs: Tanned? My legs are always covered with pants. I don't like bites, sunburns, thorn pricks, or random scrapes when they are easily avoided. Therefore they are about as far from 'tanned' as possible. (And I come from northern European stock, too.) Muscular? I don't know about that.

Shoelaces:I still have the original laces that came with the boots. Guess I'm lucky or sit in my office too much.

Cool Socks! And not just for field work.

Boots: for traction on rocks, mud, and snow (hah! like anyone in Alabama would go out in the field in snow). I have two pair. My favorite are a pair I got from LL Bean 11 years ago (obviously I sit in my office too much). I also have a pair of Timberlands I bought a few years ago in an emergency (packed for a society field trip the night before, taught the next day, and ten halfway to the hotel I realized the only shoes I had were the flats I was wearing.). I need to get some steel toed boots but keep putting it off because I can think of other things to spend my money on.

Ironclad Bladders: (not pictured) I usually don't have to go far to the field but bathroom are not terribly close to the research site so this is useful. (Go before leaving the office, at lunch, and upon return). I knew all those long car trips would come in handy one day.

Brunton Compass: to determine strike and dip, fault orientations, and locating next collar location (if we ever get the access agreements signed). We also use GPS receivers to get exact locations.

Full of wisdom...yeah that's it. And behind glasses. I love my Transitions.

Brain: (not pictured) Dehydrated, half-baked, freeze-dried, but enjoying every minute.

Other stuffs: There's a lot of things that are task specific, but some common things not covered above are: safety vest during hunting season, bags (sample, grocery, Ziploc), extra sharpies, work gloves, rain-gear (when the weatherman says maybe), survey tape, bug spray, sunscreen, measuring tape, hand lens (around the neck), WD-40, large pocket knife.

I'm either lucky or unlucky in that I spend most of my time in an office. (And most of the "rocks" I look at in a well log.) When I do go in the field it's usually only for a day or two at a time and come home every night. I can usually find decent food nearby (especially if I'm out with my boss for whom this is a necessity). Since I've been at the Survey most of my field time has been spent of two particular projects. For one I and two co-workers were out collecting cores which had been drilled by a local mining company. For the other, I and a grad student were, and will be again soon, going out every week and getting soil CO2 flux measurements (this is why I have a spare padlock and WD-40 in my bag). For those days in the field, gear was fairly light. I get to do some 'regular' fieldwork, like last Friday (when I didn't take my camera, damn it.) when more of stuff is needed.

23 March 2009

Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick

It's a little fuzzy but that's me, almost all ready for the dance. I had to get Mom to come over and zip me up, because that is one stiff zipper!

I had a lot of fun. (Even if my thighs were really tight from field work the Friday. The problem with hiking down to look at the awesome conglomerates behind a waterfall is that you have to hike back up.) I sort of learned the Peabody which is a line dance not unlike the Electric Slide (we also danced the ES, too); the grape-vining is what made me notice how sore my legs were. I dance both "mixer" dances, a couple of waltzes and swings. If I could just find more partners actually taller than me it'd be perfect. Definitely going to next month's dance.

Sarah was right not only didn't the Spanx high waisted pantyhose roll into my waist and I haven't been that skinny in long time. I think wearing them (or just a pair of "Higher Power"s) everyday could work as a diet system.

17 March 2009

Happy (belated) Pi Day

Nettie and I made an apple pie Saturday. The dog thought it was very yummy. Publix's apple pie is pretty good, too.

Incase you were wondering why your nose was stuffy, eyes itchy, thoart scratchy, etc
(pollen on the pond)

Sunday we saw this on the river and Styrofoam. Obviously someone up stream isn't aware of the "normal" flood levels of the river since there was all kinds of crap washed down in January and February, too.
Wisteria are blooming:

Also, at the park they are putting in a sprinkler system - WHY?

16 March 2009

Maybe I could even charge.

Several years ago, when my SIL's middle son's girlfriend got pregnant I asked my SIL (jokingly) if she wanted me to do a little sex-ed/birth control refresher course for my nephews and her 2 other kids. (I had taught it earlier that year to kids younger than those 4.) She thought that A having a kid had scared them enough to not do anything stupid. One might think that A and his girlfriend having a second kid (born this winter) would have reminded the other 4 that they don't want to do anything stupid. Apparently not. My nephew's girlfriend is preggers. First of, I don't envy my brother having to tell his mother. Secondly, I wish them the best of luck as they will need it. This nephew hasn't had (AFAIK) the most stable employment record and much of it has been waiting tables. Also, last I heard, he was living with his mother. Boy, wouldn't that be fun?

Maybe his life has taken a turn for the better in the last 6 months or so. Maybe he, and she, have decent jobs with health insurance and sick leave. I can hope.

A couple of questions for my readers: Do you think there is a market for someone to fill in the gaps potentially left by a school's sex-ed? (if school does abstience only) Could the fact that A is a student (and I think his GF too) and they are doing OK be the reason my nephew's GF is expecting? How likely is it that my nephew and GF are the one in one thousand whom the pill fails? (or whatever method) In other words, were they actually taking all appropriate precautions (short of keeping it zipped up) and still got pregnant?

13 March 2009

Never Win.

FSP and Chad are talking about cheating. I left an amusing anecdote about my 8th graders on FSP, I thought I'd tell a less amusing story about a fellow Geo. major of mine from back in the day*.

I had at least 5 upper level classes with Obnoxious Guy (not his real name) over 3 semesters. During the first semester he seemed to get sick the day of a test a lot. He'd then call someone to find out what was had been on the test. One day KK came into class seriously pissed off because she hadn't gotten to bed until the wee hours (due to aqueous solutions needing to be run and the computer not cooperating much) and OG had called her at like 7 to find out about the test he'd missed because he'd been "sick"*. I think KK was contemplating changing her number after that. After some other test he'd had a "migraine"* for, he stopped me on the sidewalk to ask me what had been on the test; I just couldn't remember any specifics - funny that, huh?

More than halfway through the semester he told our optical mineralogy TA that he was color blind. He was hoping he'd get some help (/benefit of the doubt/get off easy) because he would have difficulty with mineral id with birefringence. Unfortunately for OG, one of the other grad students actually was red/green color blind (in geology this kind of thing comes up) and he could tell what order and high/low. Beside by this point in the semester I'm pretty sure our TA was onto him.

OG had non-subtle wandering eyes. For example: In Op Min, as I recall, there'd be 2-4 slides of a given rock type, and one weeks lab might cover several rock types. Everyone has their own microscope and often people sitting next to one another will trade off slides. OG rarely traded slides with the person behind him, he had a definite preference for trading slides with a person whose lab sheet he could see. What's sad is we were allowed to ask one another questions and for help, even when we weren't working in groups, in most labs.

In sed/strat and ig pet we'd almost always work in groups because there weren't enough samples to go around and discussing why a rock is x or y helps you learn how to identify. OG would sit there and not say a word. KK and I were to polite to tell him to fuck off so he often worked "with" us. One day she and I were going back and forth on the percentages of quartz, feldspar, and lithic fragments. The sample was close to the line between three potential classifications, and our different estimates made a difference. We had gone back and forth for maybe 5 minutes, and OG says "so what is it?". KK plops the sample in front of him, and says "I don't know, what do you think it is?" He stumbles through some words like quartz, k-spar, 50%, etc. and finishes with "I don't know, what do you think?" KK and I rolled our eyes and finished deciding what the classification was, he copied down what we wrote and we all moved on.

One day he told us he didn't like rocks, he wanted to do geologic engineering. Scuttlebutt was that he'd been in the College of Engineering but they kicked him out. Another rumor was that one geo prof caught him cheating and told him to "withdraw failing"^ or he'd be reported. Obviously I don't know if any of that is true but it wouldn't have surprised me. I don't have anyway of knowing if he was ever reported to the appropriate authorities or not (or, for that matter, if he actually did anything reportable) but God, did I wish he had been. Still, I never could figure out how he stayed in school; he took many of the courses twice. His GPA had to have been in the toilet.

I spent much of the first semester mentally making excuses for OG, his personality not the cheating. He wasn't from the US (home was in sub-Saharan Africa) and the first thing that I didn't like about him was the way he spoke, not accent but mannerisms and volume; volume was actually the first thing that annoyed me. I told myself that maybe that's normal in his home country. Then when he kept being "sick" for tests, I thought maybe he's gotten away with that his whole life and so doesn't understand how much the rest of us resent it; maybe his family was important/rich enough at home he could get away with shit like that growing up.** Obviously when he refused to help cook or clean up dinner on a camping trip, it was because in the culture he grew up in, it was "women's work". So on and so forth. One day, as I was mentally excusing some behavior I'd find annoying in anyone else, I realized that all of his countryman couldn't possibly be that obnoxious, I was being extremely unfair to them, and he was a jerk no matter where he grew up.

*Migraines can be horrible and debilitating, I know. He may have even suffered from such migraines but since he was sick with something for every test I was highly suspicious.

^After a certain point in the semester you can't withdraw for a course without grade determination (W), it's either 'WP' or 'WF'; even later in the semester it has to be a 'WF'. A 'WF' and counts against your GPA, 'W' and 'WP' has no impact on it.

**I guessed his family had money or connections because he was going to school in the US and had no obvious means of support here. He certainly didn't seem to be the kind of student who would catch the eye of some scholarship granting group.

11 March 2009

Random bits, part 3.1?

This is awesome, I wish I thought local students would be so creative and motivated to tell the hate mongers off. (via Scalzi)

To accent my nerdiness, I'm trying to figure out the best way to knit circles in both circular and flat knitting with the aid of math and spreadsheets (because the maths get tedious the 20th time through). Because, really an octagon is not "close enough" to a circle. I will let you know when I get it right, the chord length calculations are tricky (and my DPNs are busy right now). In other knitting news, Mom's shawl is coming along nicely and the rows are getting to be noticeably long. It took me 30 minutes yesterday to do 2 rows (lace pattern then knit back across).

Two Sunday's ago=snow. Last Sunday= short sleeves and Irises and Bluets.

In case you were wondering, one of the things Honu-Girl is doing in St. Pete is talking about layer cake geology. Here she's creating some classic alpine thrusts.

Triple-time Swing went much better for me last night than last time I took this class. For some reason this time around the dancing in 6 to music in 4 (or 8) didn't bother me. (I had the same difficulty with the Fox Trot to start with but that one was a little easier to get over.) Although I wanted to point out to the instructor that we weren't "dancing in 8", there are 8 steps in 6 beats (For the musicians out there: 1-a-2-3-a-4-5-6 or 1-2-3-a-4-5-a-6, depending on if you start on the triple step or the rock step; the 8th notes should be slightly delayed, like "swing 8th notes" in jazz, (almost a dotted 8th-8th triplet) but can be counted as straight 8ths).

The instructor (Can not think of his name!) made a slip of the tongue last night. In Fox Trot and Waltz the man's right hand is behind the lady's left shoulder or slightly lower, in swing it is on the lady's waist. He was showing the correct position but said "your hand is on her hip". (You kind of had to be there but) Emma's (his wife, who helps him teach) quick and forceful correction and his subsequent demonstration of what was NOT her waist was funny. I think, if you grab your partner's hip, gentleman, you may very well get slapped or worse. Remember you're in close quarters.

08 March 2009

I own 2 dresses now.

I'm a tag along, I admit it. Honu-Girl has her monthly goals, now I'm going to try it. I tried it last week but not being accountable to anyone but me didn't work out so well. So my goal (starting small here) for March:

Go to TBDC's NIght on Broadway Ball.

Now this may look exceedingly easy - get dressed up one evening and going out but, if you've been following along, you've probably guessed just getting up and going out is a kind of big deal for me. For starters, I've been a member of the TBDC for almost 2 years and haven't actually gone to a dance yet. Heck, I'm taking the introductory dance class again. There are a few things that go along with this goal, such as:

buy a dress (sucess)
not make the above-the-waist bulge any bigger
find appropriate undergarments to minimize the awb*
find a wrap in my or Mom's closet in case it's cool
work on the under arm wiggle (not much can be done in 2 weeks but I can try)
actually go to the dance, no wimping out

I have two weeks to not lose my nerve. Wish me luck.

*I loathe high waisted "shape wear" because it usually just rolls up into my waist the first time I lean over. I think I have one high waisted girdle/thigh slimmer thing that doesn't do that but I'll have to see if it has enough compression.

01 March 2009

Sunday in the Park with Snow

...and flooding, but the snow is way prettier. You know if I posted pictures about the half rabbit my dog presented me with I'd have to post about our pretty, and now almost completely gone, snow.
This Camilla bush is in the rose garden at church. BTW, church canceled on account of snow? Plu-leaz!

These berries were at the park. More pictures are here.

I'd just like to comment on the loveliness that is Spring in Alabama - only in spring can it be sunny and 65 on Thursday, 70 with tornadoes and hail Friday, and snow on Sunday. March is actually not that odd a time to get snow (if your going to get any at all) because cold fronts can bring enough moisture and drop the temperature enough; most of the winter when it's cold it is too dry.

The picture Dad uses to remind him why he doesn't move back north is from the big snow of 1993 (spring before we moved here) when we, in VA, got 16-18". Thing is they got a foot down here with thee same storm. I was out of school 3 days (mostly because the snow was so deep where the plows had been through that there was no where for kids to stand waiting for the bus). Everything was closed here for 5 days and my brother was with out power for several of those days. It's a toss up complete paralysis in the face of (rare) frozen precip or being expected to shovel the damn stuff but having some every year.