Friday, June 30, 2006


What Is This????

I just got my 4+ diopter lens for my AF Micro Nikkor 105mm lens and I have been having fun seeing what type of close-up capabilities it has for my photography.

Ok, maybe a little too much fun.

So, I pose to you, can you guess what this is????? Post your guesses in the comment section.

The lens is capable of even better and closer shots and I will post those types at a later point in time for your amusement!

Please click on photo for an even better close-up!!!

Friday Cat Blogging

I have decided to take a break from trying to photograph my uncooperative cats this week for Friday Cat Blogging and post a link to this video instead.

The indignant expression of the cat is worth viewing!

Thanks shrinkykitten!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Escaping My Troubles

Sometimes it is not always possible to make my woodland escape when all is not right in Katie's world.

Sometimes I go to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

There I can indulge my passions.

There I can be oblivious...

There I can cry my silent tears...

The above photograph was taken at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens with my Nikon D-50, an AF Micro Nikkor 105mm lens, and Sigma macro ring flash. I hope that my photography skills are improving...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

It is time for Friday Cat Blogging!

I have decided to post a picture of someone else's cat for a change. It would seem that mine have developed an aversion to my point and shoot camera and I am just not quick enough my digital SLR. They seem rather suspicious of things that flash light at them. Can't say I blame them, I am rather camera shy myself.

Anyhow, I met a bunch of cats on my trek at Resthaven this past weekend. My purpose of visiting Resthaven was to observe the Ospreys and see if there was any interesting flora to catch my eye for photography.

The only interesting flora I could find was the poison ivy that I managed to sit in while observing the Ospreys.

Now, bear in mind, that since I have quite an interest in plants, I can identify poison ivy. However, this poison ivy was covered in some material that was previously mowed. It was new growth emerging from underneath some debris that I did not see.

Fortunately for me, it was covered in enough debris and I did not sit all that long in it. Thus, it did not penetrate to my skin. I suppose that it would have penetrated if I had sat there long enough.

Thus a happy ending all in all.

Many thanks to Thomas for his willingness to be a guide at Resthaven and his deft mastery of the camera lens for this cat picture.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sitting not so pretty...

Utricularia vulgaris:

Ah, the things I do to get a good picture of an interesting plant would probably surprise some. In fact, they often do.

This picture was taken this past weekend with me precariously sitting on the very edge of a swamp with my clothes getting soaked through. Had I not been careful and balanced, it would really not have taken much for me to plunge head-first into this swamp. Fortunately, I did not fall in, only came out just a bit wet in some places.

The plant that I worked so hard on getting a good picture and getting my clothes somewhat soaked is the common bladderwort. It is a carnivorous plant that feeds on zooplankton, fairy shrimp, waterfleas, copepods, scuds, paramecia, rotifers, nematodes, and microscopic insect larvae. This is a floating, submerged plant. The bladders which trap the prey are located on the leaves of the plant which are partially submerged. The bladder of the plant "pops" open when there is a disturbance in the water and captures the prey.

Charles Darwin, along with two other biologists identified the "bladder" of this plant as an "trapping device" rather than a "floatation device" as some had originally thought.

Was getting soaked worth this picture? I hope so...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Friday is once again here. Friday also means that it is time for Friday Cat Blogging in the Blogosphere!

So, here we have Marzepan looking rather perplexed. Probably because just earlier Mici had smacked her and yelled at her when she was on the cat perch (Mici at times gets a little territorial about the cat perch). Perhaps Marzepan looks perplexed because she may be wondering what she could have possibly done wrong to deserve that treatment by Mici? Poor Marzepan!

The picture was taken with my digital point and shoot. It would seem that this week all my cats were somewhat uncooperative regarding getting a picture for Friday Cat Blogging! I had a difficult time just getting a quick picture with my point and shoot. It was impossible for me to get a picture with my digital SLR considering how long it takes me to manipulate the camera at this phase of my learning process.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do I learn????

My previous post on my penchant for body lotions and fragrances reminded me of something that happened to me as a result of my weakness for fragrances and body lotions.

A few years back when I embarked on being a graduate student, I was in an organic synthesis lab as a Ph.D. student. Considering how much I adored mechanisms, I thought being an synthetic organic chemist would be a good fit for me. Later, I joined my current lab because I wanted something more "biologically based".

Anyhow, I was taking a graduate course in organic structure and mechanisms taught by the same professor who was also my advisor at the time. He is still is my "home" program advisor even though I now have a different advisor guiding my Ph.D. work.

One day, I was working in the lab on some synthesis step when it became time to go to this class. So, I finished up and washed my hands. I kept some body lotion handy since I washed my hands frequently and did not want them to dry out. So, after washing my hands I put on this "Raspberry Fruit Frappe" body lotion. I still have the stuff and let me tell you, it smells quite delicious and extremely delightful.

Without further thought, I went to class.

I sat down and then the professor came in and started the lecture and began writing a mechanism on the blackboard. All of a sudden, he stops in mid electron transfer. He just stands there seemingly unable to continue. He finally turns around, looks around the room and states that something smells really wonderful. Since there were only seven students in the class and I was the ONLY female student, I instantly knew that he was referring to my "Raspberry Fruit Frappe" body lotion. I sheepisly looked backed down at my notebook not wanting to admit anything and hoped he would just turn around and continue with the lecture.

But he did not.

Instead,he kept looking around the room even more determined to find the source of this "wonderful smell". He exclaimed even louder that something smells really wonderful and sort of like a bakery. He even stepped outside the room to see if he could locate the source of his distraction. He steps back into the room and rather perplexed at being unable to locate to source.

I figured at this point, not saying anything was more distracting. So finally, I spoke up and told him that the scent was me.

He still looked perplexed.

So, I explained to him, in front of the entire male-dominated class that just prior to coming to class put on this "Raspberry Fruit Frappe" body lotion. I don't know what the expression was on my classmates since I wasn't about to look around, but I imagine it must have been amusement at least.

So, you would think after this incident I would learn to temper my penchant for fragrances and body lotions?

It would seem not!

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Weakness

Note to Self: Consider what you will smell like after sampling different fragrances and lotions!

For some women it is a thing with shoes. For me it is something else.

There is something out in the retail world that causes my feminine genes to go into overexpression mode (scientific pun intended).

It is fragrances and body lotions. Namely the ones at Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works. I often get drawn into these stores like a moth to a flame. There is no way I can walk by these stores without going inside and buying something.

Right now, I have a closet filled with body lotions and fragrances. Mind you, I have enough that if the fragrance and body lotion industry came to a halt, I would be set for life. My skin would always be forever soft and smelling nice until my dying day. In fact, probably enough to pass on to any offspring.

I think I have always enjoyed putting on fragrances and lotions for as long as I can remember. It has been my daily ritual after bathing. It makes me feel good both physically and emotionally. I enjoy smelling nice and smelling a nice fragrance on me.

However, there can be a problem with this. For example, I went into Bath and Body Works this past weekend. I started sampling all these different fragrances and body lotions in the most non-discriminatory manner possible.

First, it was raspberry lemonade. Then some mango mandarin. Then some pomegranate. Finally finished with coconut.

Suffice it to say, I left the store with a craving for a fruit salad and no doubt smelling like one...

My life as a graduate student...

As a graduate student, I have to go to group meetings. We usually have someone presenting in group meetings. There does not seem to be an order in place for my advisor picking someone to present. It reminds of the game, "Duck, duck, GOOSE" when I was a child. My advisor looks around the room at each person, then his eyes eventually rests on someone and says, "I want you to present next week."

It seems to me, that more often than not, I am it. In fact, the above cartoon really exemplifies my last lab meeting in which I was the presenter. Yes, I literally did finish my slides just five minutes before presenting.

Click on the cartoon for a close-up if you have difficulty reading the words.

Thanks to shrinkykitten.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Galeandra dives:

Silent Tears

The simmering silence of night...
A slow whimper... a tiny sigh.
She is crying again....
Silently, achingly, wretchedly...
What demons are she running from?
What nightmares haunt her?
Or is it the mundane everyday life that is tearing her down?
Silent walls... words that hurt?
She cries, broken like a bird whose wings are clipped.
In a cage she has made for herself.
Can she find no escape?
No haven from this world of ours?
Why, oh why is she crying?
Why is there none to hear her?
To offer her some comfort?
In this world that seems to be so bright.
But can be the abyss of darkness for lost souls.
Souls with silent tears...

Anjas Jabbar
Copyright 2003

Photography credits to Thomas, my photography mentor...

Friday Cat Blogging

Once again it is time for Friday Cat Blogging! Although really, every day is a good day for cat blogging!

Once again, here we have Mici. She is still not pleased about being my photography subject. I think here she is contemplating her revenge on me...

This picture was taken with my digital point and shoot. I think it will take some time before I take pictures of Mici with my digital SLR since I am still quite slow in getting my pictures set up and taken. Unfortunately, Mici is quite nimble and so are her paws. By the time I start getting things set up, get the settings right, she will have vanished seemingly into thin air.

Since no doubt she was plotting her revenge in this photo, I can only imagine what she has planned for me when I get home tonight...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

First Pictures

Cypripedium acaule:

A closer shot of Cypripedium acaule:

Cypripedium montanum:

A group of Cypripedium kentuckiense:

Cypripedium kentuckiense:

I had the opportunity to use my new digital SLR camera, macro lens, and macro ring flash to take some lovely pictures of some Cypripediums. These are my first pictures and I am quite pleased with the result.

I have to confess that I cannot take full credit for these pictures. My photography mentor's hands guided my hands...I am still learning.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Practical Joke on Me

Note to self: Remember where you put the fake maggots!

In general, I am not freaked out by insects. In fact, I rather find them interesting. The only type of insect that freaks me out is bees, wasps, and hornets. I don't dislike them, just get freaked out by them if they have taken a strong interest to me and I don't have epinephrine with me. Yes, I am allergic to them, and at this point in my life, I don't care to find out how allergic. Anaphylactic shock is not something I want to experience first hand.

Anyhow, when I was at the ASBMB conference this past April, I picked up some fake maggots that they had out for the taking at this forensic exhibit. I dunno why, just thought that it would be something cool to have. Also, I thought it might come in handy if I ever need some payback for a practical joke played on me. I think that they look quite realistic.

Well, I did not want to walk around the convention center with fake maggots in my hand, so I put them into this little pouch that I got at another exhibit and then put the pouch into the bookbag that ASBMB gave me. I then promptly forgot about the maggots in the pouch in the bookbag.

So, then I started using the ASBMB bookbag and taking it to the lab with me. I was looking for something in the bookbag and came upon the fake maggots.

Suffice it to say, practical joke played on me, by me...

Friday, June 02, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

Here is a picture of Mici. She was a rescue, but she was a "planned" rescue in that she was adopted from a rescue organization.

When I took her picture, she was so not in the mood to have her picture taken. But what could I do? I needed a picture for Friday Cat Blogging regardless of how she felt about it!

Sometimes it is necessary to accommodate your pet humans!
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