Friday, December 31, 2010

Happily Saying Goodbye

To 2010, not the blog sillies :)

This is an odd new years eve for me. Normally, I lament the passing year remembering the good times, surprised how quickly its gone and what I didn't get done.  Analyzing my regrets and working out resolutions for the new year. This year. I am happy to be done with 2010.  Despite some good times (The winter olympics, passing my comps), 2010 was one of the worst years I have experienced.  It started off by totaling our vehicle on our way up to our regular ski mountain holiday. And not from a rear-ender or crashing into a snow bank, but a full on roll over. My poor little monkey replayed that scene with his trucks over and over and over.  Thank God for the movie Cars, which introduced him to the concept of tow trucks and tow yards as that was the only way to calm him down.
After that hubby quit his well paying awesome benefits but completely non-mentally challenging job to work for the family business, which ended in disaster.  Him and one of his siblings had a huge blow out that may or may not be repairable. The only good thing that came out of it is that Mr.SM has stopped putting his career on hold in the hopes of making the business work as a career.  He found another job, but the months that he was only working for his family were extremely stressful and were right when I was studying for my comprehensives. Talk about recipe for bad things.

Well I"m sure you know what happened, my comps got delayed. I was unhappy and angry and Mr.SM was frustrated about his inability to find another job. Stressed out about finances etc. Not exactly a match made in heaven. In the middle of all this, our beloved grandpa got sick and passed on.  I shouldn't laugh but looking back, I think shit really. We were not emotionally equipped to handle that stress and it showed. Our communication was zero. We were both isolated in our pain at losing out grandfather, we didn't know how to cope my child kept asking questions. Then we lost another grandfather and there I was the week before my comps burying yet another grandparent. Yes it put the comps in perspective but that doesn't help with the heartache.  Nor did it help with the isolation that both of us were feeling, actually I was feeling.

Right before my comps we had a huge blow up / discussion about what was going on. Mr. SM was figuring that it was all normal considering what was going on and I was considering walking out. What a difference in view points.  The thing was, our issues weren't a lack of love but a lack of communication. Which we're continually working on.

The only good thing that has happened this year is that Mr.SM is home more, which is its own adjustment and well we're attempting to repeat our experiments. So here's to 2011 being much more joyful :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy whatever it is you celebrate

We celebrate secular Christmas, so merry christmas!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 17, 2010


A common theme within science is repeatability. Are you able to get that same result more than once? How do different variables effect your outcome? As most of you know, I work with the lovely Drosophila melanogaster. I have to admit that when I first starting working with them 2 years ago, I was a bit squeamish about them and thought my PI was the oddest person ever for talking about how beautiful / cute bugs were. Let me admit that I now say the same things over and over again.

Anyway my point is that in terms of replication I really only need to repeat an experiment 2 times. I used genetic crosses and stain about a shit load of progeny at a single time. In a single cross I"ll have the progeny of >15 different matings and stain about 15 experimental animals. I will then usually redo the cross with fresh parents another time or two to with make sure that the results are due to the genetic manipulation I've done and to get cleaner images (not pretty, cleaner ie less background, better tissues etc).  Other times I'll be trouble shooting and once I've worked out the conditions, I will do stuff 2 times to make sure the result is true. I''m the first to admit that if the result is unexpected, I'm apt to repeat multiple times, just to be sure.

The thing is, I work on short time lines. Its easy to troubleshoot as you know your results quickly and can adjust for errrors in the protocol? I always wonder about longer term or epidemiological type studies. I've been reading alot about vitamin intake levels and how long terms studies have had to be halted because of increased mortality risks. A well publicized trial by NIH into  estrogen replacement therapy was halted because the increased health risks were too great.  I wonder how did they determine their protocols? How does once troubleshoot when the effects won't be seen till years down the road?

I often joke that my monkey is my own little experiment. In a sense he is, because we're raising him very differently than the way either  myself or Mr.SM were raised. From his nutrition and activity levels, to the way he is disciplined and engaged with us and his surroundings. Whether this will result in more well-balanced and less crazy adult then either  of us are (or our parents) is unknown.  Have we made "grave" errors in our protocol that be won't known for a few years either? So how do make adjustments in our plan or do we just keep doing what we're doing with number 2? From the data, monkey seems like an easy going happy little boy (other than constantly escaping daycare...thats another post).  So I guess that means we're on the right track and have nothing to worry about.  Well at least thats what I'm going with . Number 2 will be our repeat experiment, though he/she does have the added variable of a mischievous older sibling. 

In case I was a bit unclear up top. Yep in 9 months I will be raising my own little experimentS. Which is why I've been silent on the whole blogging front lately. I've had 0 energy....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Better late than Never - Hockey Pool Week9

It appears as Lavaland is holding on to her lead with no worries about any of us catching up. She's steady as she goes, no matter what Gerty-Z tries, she can't manage to catch up. Though she is managing to kick all of our buts on a semi - regular basis. Chall, Lavaland and myself all tied for second highest point catch last week.  Thomas is holding steady at the rear and Cath, Ricardipus and Bob are holding together in the middle, though with Cath desparately trying to get into the front lead with the rest of us. A sneak peak ahead suggests that GertyZ might finally overtake lavaland with Chall getting ahead of me...Damn You Two.  And damn those PV changes!

here's the data for all you nerds :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Remembering Polytechnique

I don't have much to say, other than I'm choosing to ask you to take a moment and remember the 14 women that were gunned down in Montreal over 20 ago today.

I don't know what we can do to end violence against women anymore.  I used to feel like we were making headway, but the more I learn about todays video games and watch tv / movies, I feel like we're moving backwards. Committing violence seems to be a joke or a game. I'm trying to teach my child to do better and continue to ask for my politicans to put actually do something about gun control. Unfortunately, again that is something our current PM does not want to do

Today, I am asking you to take a moment to remember those women and the millions of others that die senselessly.  Please think of something you can do, to make a difference.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I"m alive

barely. i am sick with the worst head cold ever. combine with fatigue from the crappy few months, nausea and marking makes me a very very unhappy individual.

which is why i've been shockingly silent on the whole science cheerleader thing, missed the hockey pool and am over all just a grumpy ass grad student..

thought you should know.