Friday, November 30, 2007

Most Expensive

Clive Christian No.1 has been named the most expensive off the shelf perfume. A combination of Indian Jasmine, Bergamot, and Sandalwood. I do admit the combination of scents sound extremely lovely.

I think that the extravagant price tag (upwards of over $2000/ounce) is more due to the packaging. The perfume bottle has a lead crystal stopper, a 24kt plated neck over sterling silver, and set with a diamond solitare.

Personally? If I am going to buy precious gems and metals, it will be to adorn me and not my perfume bottle. I am vain that way.

Besides, I am more interested in how a perfume smells on me rather than how it looks in a bottle on my dresser.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with someone regarding regrets and paths not taken. Although it is not healthy to always look back and focus on regrets and paths not taken, I do think it is important to look back every now and then and reflect. I think that the reflection allow us to focus on what brought us to the particular path we are on, as well as give us reason to continue on the current path.

I will say this though. Next time I yearn to be a little fish in a big pond, I hope that someone is kind enough to knock me upside the head and bring me to my senses.

There is a lot to be said for being a big fish in a small pond. It is called sanity...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Photography Copyright Violation

A little while ago, a friend and fellow colleague of mine had one of his photographs "stolen". It was taken off his website and published in a large Turkish newspaper. It was a picture of a sea turtle he photographed. The newspaper never asked for his permission to publish his picture or give him credit for that picture. He contacted the newspaper editor. The picture was retracted from the online version.

However, he was never financially compensated or given credit. He certainly had the basis for a lawsuit.

For this reason, I am hesitant at times to post my pictures or poetry. I really hate the idea of someone using my work without credit. Of course, one way to get around this is to post my identity on my pictures and other work. I don't know if I am ready to do this, but I would like the idea of putting more of my work out into the public eye. Perhaps it is time I came out of the shadows so to speak?

At any rate, I do hope that what has happened to my friend has not happened to me. I don't want any of my pictures out there without my permission or credit. People don't realize all the difficulties I have had to endure to get some of my pictures. I have spent a lot of my money on my equipment as well as endured some physically challenging situations to photograph my subject matter. Of course, my creativity and part of me is embeded in those photographs.

What I do, I do out of pure love. Financial compensation is nice, but it is not what I seek. Permission and credit. Not much to ask for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I am at an indecision regarding my photography club. It is a club I joined back in early spring.

It has to do with one of the members. A physician/photographer at the club asked me out on a date many months back in early spring. He sort of made a beeline for me at the very first meeting I attended. So, for our first (and last) date we went out on a photography expedition. After a day of taking nature pictures, he invited me back to his place. He wanted to show me his pictures. He also wanted to show me his skill with Photoshop. So he did.

After he showed me his pictures, he asked me what I thought of them. I told him I best like the bridge he photographed at Cuyahoga Valley. He then asked me what I thought of this one picture where he photographed these three fall leaves. As a botanist wannabe, I knew that those leaves were not capable of the colors he forced upon them in Photoshop. So, I told him, "It does not look normal". When he asked why, I explained how those leaves do not turn that particular color. He then told me that he was interested in selling the print and that most people are not botanists like I am. I told him I was not a botanist and I stuck to my original assessment and comment.

I think it pissed him off. After the date, it was as if he dropped off the face of the Earth. No calls, no emails, nothing. So be it.

The next two photography meetings I saw him. Although I was not interested in going out with him again, I figured we could at least have friendly conversation since we belong to the same club and have an interest in photography. But he avoided me and I felt like I was the plague to be avoided at all costs. It probably did not help matters that the club members went ga-ga over my marco shots and gave me first place at the meeting "show".

The next three or more photography meetings I did not go to. I was just too busy with experiments.

Now I get an email from the club regarding the Christmas meeting. After missing three or so meetings already, it would just be a simple matter to just not go anymore. But that in many ways is wrong. I like the members in the club. Also, sooner or later, I will come across him again even if I avoid the club. Photographers are always running into each other whether it is an expedition, a class, vendor show, exhibition, etc.

My male friends have told me I should "never tell a man something of his does not look normal".

But he asked for my opinon, and I gave my opinion. If someone does not want my honest opinion, then it should not be asked. I will not be insincere to stroke someone's ego. I also figured that with him being a physician, he could handle my honest critique.

So, I am at a bit of an indecision. To stop going to the club and avoid an uncomfortable situation for the time being, or continue to go and be proud of my pictures and knowledge.

I have until next Thursday to make my decision...

If you don't want my honest opinion, then don't ask for it...Sheesh.

Giving up

I came into the room fully dressed in my protective gear. Eye protection, sterile gloves, the works. It was for my protection as well as the patient.

The patient was already opened up. My colleague had started before me. I looked at my patient. Seemed so vulnerable. Hard to believe that things deteriorated to this point.

But I could not indulge my emotions right now. I had a job to do. I had to focus because my patient depended upon my skills and knowledge. Everything up to now would be put to the test.

I put my hands into the patient's cavity and began to work. I was almost surprised at how warm it was inside--I should be used to that by now. The gentle hum of the instruments nearby provided my music. It was in a way soothing to listen to that hum. It also helped me keep my attention focused and my hands steady. Steady hands was what was needed the most. A careless move would be disastrous.

My colleague and I worked in tandem. Few words were needed. It was as if we could read each other's thoughts. Maybe for a brief period of time, we could read each other's thoughts.

We worked. Some things we did by sight. Others by feel. Yet other things depending upon the monitor readings.

All seemed to be going well. The patient's output on the monitor seemed low. But I knew ways to compensate. So I did. I was thrilled to see an output gain. I felt like a god. All that was surging to the will of my hands made me feel powerful.

But something was wrong. Something just did not seem right. I could not say what. Was it instinct that was telling me something was wrong? Something did not seem right to my senses.

The patient soon began to fail before my eyes. My colleague and I worked furiously to correct the problems that occurred. No sooner did we try to fix one problem, a new one reared its ugly head. But that is what happens in death. It is often a cascade of events like the fall of a child's dominos.

We tried and we tried to revive. Our attempts were futile. We looked at each other and knew it was time to give up. I saw the sweat beading on the face of my colleague. I could feel my own sweat beading on my face as well as sweat dripping down to the small of my back. The room seemed so hot all of sudden.

Failure. It is not easy to face failure. It is not easy to give up.

Nothing left to do now for the patient. The patient would now be in the care of those whose specialized training is to determine a cause and then fill out a report on the findings. I wondered what that particular specialist would find? Would it be something I did? Or would there be some underlying cause that was the patient's demise?

I looked at the monitor one last time. I read the final readings: Fatal Chopper Error. The spectrophotometer had experienced its last and final readings. Starting my day I did not realize that today would be the spectrophotometer's last day.

Another Meme

Found on Sparrow:

1. Diamonds or Pearls? Diamonds, baby. Diamonds. I have pearls. I love pearls. But I can afford some pearls. I am going to desire what I can't afford. While I am at it, how about the rare ones. A nice red or Canary perhaps? Blue is pretty as well.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. Indulges my senses. The scent and the taste is just wonderful.

3. Beatles or Stones? Neither really. But given a choice, I will pick Beatles.

4. Steak or Pasta? Steak. My apologies to the bovines.

5. Revolver or Semi-Automatic? Well, my experience is a little limited in this regard, but I would have to say semi-automatic. I lost my "handgun virginity" with a semi-automatic. But there is something very sexy about a revolver that I just can't quite put my finger on...

6. Feather or Foam? Feather. Nothing quite so wonderful as sleeping on a bed of feathers, a pillow of feathers, and a comfortor of feathers. Of course I had hell to pay in the morning with my allergies, but that is the price to pay for a piece of heaven.

7. Republican or Democrat? Oh geez. I take the fifth on this one.

8. Stick or Automatic? Automatic. Although I did start to learn on a stick. However, if someone wants to for some reason to give me a nice Ferrari or Porsche, I will drive stick.

9. Table Service or Buffet? Although I do like being able to see my food before I choose. But if I already know ahead of time what I want, I will gladly take Table service and enjoy the luxury of being waited on.

10. Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall? Spring. Fall used to be my favorite season. But too many bad things have happened to me in the fall, so right now, the season is clouded with unpleasant memories. Right now spring does it for me. It is the promise that spring holds that I enjoy. The energy and new life.

11. Sailboat or Motorboat? Sailboat. I like the slow, relaxing pace. Something also about allowing the wind to carry you someplace.

12. Dogs or Cats? Cats. I do like dogs. But I have always had cats.

13. Beer or Wine? Wine. Especially the dessert wines of the Tokaj region. VERY expensive (some out of my price range), but oh so worth it.

14. Hugs or kisses? Hugs. Kissing is nice as well.

15. Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart? Tough one. Cary Grant. I really liked An Affair to Remember and North by Northwest. Cary Grant seems to exude that feeling of protection and safety I yearn for in a man.

16. Pie or Cake? Cake. Moist, preferably chocolate cake.

17. Tea or Coffee? Coffee. Jamaican Blue Mountain beans freshly roasted, ground fresh and then prepared by the French Press method. Tea is nice when relaxing though.

18. Male Friends or Female Friends? Tough one. With male friends I don't have the weird competition that female friends seem to have. With female friends, I don't have the weird sexual vibes that I sometimes get from my male friends. But right now, I am closest to my female friends than male friends, so I will go with female friends for this answer.

19. Pool or Beach? Beach. Warm sand beneath my toes. Listening to the crash of waves. Water the temperature of bath water. Hmmmm. Soothing. However, for actually swimming, I prefer a pool. It is clean(er) , usually hygenic due to chemicals, and you don't get that "sticky salt water" feel on the skin.

20. Hotter or Colder? Gosh this one is tough considering it is November and I really dislike the cold. But logically, you can put on more clothes on when cold, but when hot, you can only take so much off and be naked and still hot. But I cannot deny that there is something about heat that makes me feel alive and invigorated. Almost sensual. The cold? Well, the cold just makes me want to snuggle up to a fireplace and hibernate. So, I guess I will take Hotter. Although if I was doing this Meme in late July in 90+ degree weather during a photography expedition in a wetland with near 100 percent humidity, the answer just might be different...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Adventures in Cat Ownership

Yesterday was the day from Cat hell.

When I got home yesterday, things were certainly amiss.

I first noticed that my CD player was knocked down from where it usually is. Odd. It is not a small item. It could not have been knocked down easily.

As I took off my coat, I noticed the strong scent of cat turd. Perhaps someone just got done using the litter box I assumed. I noticed as I headed towards the bedroom, the scent got stronger. Oh no. But when I went into the bedroom, it was gone. I finally found the offending turds. Some cat(s) have left 5 turds in the bathtub. Ick. I had just changed the type of cat litter and I assume they did not like my choice of cat litter. So, I picked up the offending turds and flushed them down the toilet.

The cat turds clogged the toilet. Toilet is still clogged. I now have to work on unclogging the toilet when I get home tonight.

The cat turds also left a stain in the bathtub. I had scrub the tub down with Ajax to disinfect and remove the brown cat turd stains.

When I went out to the living area, I noticed a faint smell of cat urine. Oh no. I finally located the spot. It was on a throw rug in front of the TV. I took the throw rug and tossed it in the washer with detergent and bleach. I then used the rug shampooer on the area to make sure I got up any and all of the urine that might be there. The dislike of the new cat litter most likely to blame.

Then I noticed that someone had puked on the oriental rug. I happen to like that particular oriental rug.

Then I noticed someone had projectile pucked all over the sofa. Ok, I dislike the sofa, but no need to puke all over it.

So much for that nap I was planning on taking to ease my back pain...


I realize that I am in a mood and a bit of a scrooge right now.


There is something very annoying about having inflatable Christmas decorations that move and make music from across my house. Everytime I step foot outside I have to listen to that thing. Not to mention look at its tackiness.

Whatever happened to those nice (and quiet) nativity scenes?

I also wonder how those things deflate from an accidental gun discharge...
Although we all know that I would not even consider doing such a thing, right?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Struggle

I am attempting to go through my mother's things and figure out what things to keep and what to discard. I am struggling.

Sooner or later this needs to be done. I need to decrease the entropy around me.

Yet, it is so very hard.

I see the dress she was sewing draped over the chair. Never to be finished. Receipts that bear her signiture I stuggle to discard because there will be no more items that will again have her handwriting. Her clothes will never again be worn by her and yet still carry her scent.

All this simply reduces me to tears. Just as well because then I can no longer see them through the blur of wetness and it all just goes away from the range of my vision.

Perhaps, this all is just too soon to do this. It has been a year, let it feels like just yesterday I watched her take her last breath.

Perhaps this is just the wrong time of year to do this. The holidays are still hard enough to deal with without this extra burden.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I am just not ready...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Science-isms or I am a Geek

I know I have been in the lab too long when I start saying stuff like:

When explaining cooking directions, I say allow it to equilibrate (rather than allow it to come to room temperature).

When explaining another recipe, I say allow it to incubate for 12 hours (rather than marinate overnight).

When asking how to make something, I talk about looking up a protocol (rather than looking up a recipe.)

When standing in line, I ask people how long is the queue (instead of asking how long it takes being in line)

A Meme

I usually don't do Meme's, but I found this one on Miz Minka's blog and I like it.

So, here goes:

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Wm.

Favorite sports to watch? I don't watch sports. Figure skating or dancing would have to be the closest to watching sports.

Hair color[s]? Red? Reddish brown? Not really sure how to categorize my hair color. I guess red would have to be it.

Eye color? Light blue.

Do you wear contacts? No.

Favorite food? Chocolate. Almost anything with chocolate. Oh, we are talking food, not dessert, eh? Ok. That would have to be Indian food. Almost anything Indian.

Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings. But scary movies can be fun if they are psychologically scary with a minimum of gore

Last movie you watched? Lover's Prayer.

What color shirt are you wearing? Black.

Summer or winter? Summer.

Hugs or kisses? Hugs.

Favorite dessert? Something with chocolate. Hungarian desserts are my favorite. I would say a nice Rigo Jancsi would be the highlight of my day.

What book are you reading now? I assume we are not taking about something from the Journal of Biological Chemistry. So, then...The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Issola by Steven Brust.

What is on your mouse pad? My mouse.

What did you watch on TV last night? I usually don’t watch TV.

Favorite sound[s]? Listening to a gentle summer rain through my bedroom window as I fall asleep.

Rolling stones or Beatles? Neither really. I suppose if I had to pick between the two it would have to be the Beatles. They have some songs I would not mind listening to.

What is the farthest you have been from home? Hungary.

Do you have a special talent? I am told I have a knack of picking up on/mastering new things and seeing things from a different perspective.

Where were you born? Fairview General Hospital.

Whose answers are you looking forward to getting back? Anybody who cares to tell me.

Most likely to respond? Not sure since I am not sure who would care to do this meme.

So there you have it...

Medical Rant

It has been two weeks now since you stuck that needle into my jaw without warning me.

You know what? My jaw still hurts. I still cannot fully open my jaw without pain. Heck, I can't even fully open my jaw.

So, you know what? If I still have problems in the morning, I am calling your office.

And that referral to the TMJ specialist? You better not even bring it up.

You caused this immediate problem. Now you fix it...

Christmas trees?

I went down to the research cafeteria today to eat my lunch that I brought from home.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear? But the commons area is partially closed off due to some merchant selling pre-decorated Christmas trees!

I will not even go into a rant about how merchants are selling Christmas items earlier and earlier. However...

I must say, that those trees are hideous. They are not much wider than I am. They are not much wider at the bottom then from the top. They are very narrow trees. Almost, just almost cylindrical. They look like something you would put (or hide) in a corner somewhere.

But what got me was this one tree in particular. It was the way it was decorated. First of all, it had all these long ostrich feathers that were obviously sprayed with silver metallic glitter paint. When did feathers become Christmas decorations?

Then there were these oval stuffed felt decorations that had long beaded tassels sewn into the bottom. They looked like something recycled from a bra of a dancer from the Moulin Rouge or similar venue.

But I suppose the tree does have a lot of practicality to it. When you get tired of the ornaments, you can use them (the feathers and bra cups) for a strip tease and/or dance...

I want...

To know what it is like to have a "normal work week".
To have a normal sleep/wake cycle.
To not be dependent on caffeine.
To see the light at the end of the tunnel.
To not feel depressed.
To not feel anxiety at the begining of the day.
To not feel guilt at the end of the day.
To go someplace for a week where no one can find me (to indulge my recluse side).

(Yes, this kid is tired and has not fully recharged...)

This is Wrong

It seems to me, that this is just wrong.

The chestnut that came off a tree that Anne Frank gazed upon while hiding from the Nazis is being auctioned off on ebay. I checked the listing and so far, it has a price of $700. Boasting, that you can grow your own Anne Frank Chestnut tree from the Chestnut fruit being sold.

I find no problem with propagating this particular (now diseased) tree. It seems like a lovely sentiment to have seedlings of this particular tree.

However, it just seems wrong to me to profit in some way from a person's suffering and demise.

I find no mention of the proceeds going to some charity or to some cause to better the world or mankind in any way. I can only assume that this is for pure profit.

This just seems wrong.

Am I the only one whose stomach is turning from this story?

(Editorial note added 11/21/07: The ebay item sold for a final price of $10,240.00.)

Friday, November 16, 2007


Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with
You scored as The Librarian

You're the Librarian! Once a wizard, now an Orang-utan (due to an unfortunate magical accident), you refuse to be turned back for a few reasons: In this form, it's easier to reach the shelves and hold more books; having the strength of five men makes people return their books on time; life's great philosophical questions boil down to "when do I get my next banana?" You say "ook"; but are usually understood well enough.

The Librarian






Gytha (Nanny) Ogg


Commander Samuel Vimes


Carrot Ironfounderson


Lord Havelock Vetinari


Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax




Cohen The Barbarian


Found quiz from WtC.


This has been a rather difficult week for me. I am emotionally, mentally, and physically spent. To top things off, I seem to have managed to pull a ligament in my foot during a fall. So, I am emotionally, mentally, physically spent, and limping.

However, last evening I found a reward at my doorstep. A book that I have been wanting was delivered. It is a first edition, signed, hardcover, and out of print. Ok, let me repeat, it is a first edition, signed by the author, hardcover, out of print, fine condition.

Normally, I can't afford something like that. I have seen a signed, hardcover, first edition being offered on average for a couple of hundered dollars.

The non-fictional book, The Orchid Thief was the basis for the fictional movie, Adaptation (which I also own).

I am so looking forward to reading this book. I am going to devote some time to pleasure reading for a change. The pile of journal articles will just have to wait. I need to recharge right now.

A cup of Earl Grey tea, a warm blanket, purring cats, and The Orchid Thief. What could be better?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Early Music

Music has always been one of those things that seems to cause my very soul to stir and resonate with emotion. I suppose being an introvert, it is a good outlet for my emotions and passions that are deep within me.

Lately I find myself listening to early period music, specifically of the Medieval and Renaissance era. The music from that era has a certain soothing elegance to it.

I also decided two evenings ago to place my fingers on a keyboard that has been silent for over a decade. I decided to play some liturgical pieces from that era. My fingers at times were a bit clumsy and slow, but they still remembered the pieces. They still remembered how to express the emotion that is deep within me. The notes that came forth in my fingers were expressive and cathartic.

As I listen and play pieces from that era, I find myself longing to actually be part of that era. Perhaps it is the music and romance of that era that speaks to me.

Also, one little know fact of that era is that King Henry the VIII was actually an accomplished composer. He composed various pieces of court music. The famous Greensleeves is attributed to his penmanship. However, some scholars debate this. Despite the fact he had a certain tumultuous personal life, I would venture to say that he was perhaps the most talented monarch of the English throne.

(La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee.)

Professional Growth

My seminar talk is finally over. I have to confess that it took a lot out of me mentally and physically. It is not easy talking to a room full of people who know a heck of a lot more than you do.

Yet, somehow, I created an impression. A very good one. My seminar talk is now the talk of the department and numerous people have come up to me to tell me what a great talk I gave. I cherish the compliments that tell me how I made chemistry and kinetics easy and understandable. My talk even came up in a staff meeting and even in another talk.

It makes me feel like maybe, just maybe I have come a long way from the quiet girl struggling to excel in the path of science.

And yes, I am glad I put forth the effort and time I did for this talk. It certainly has paid off--for me at least.

But one thing I will note from my feedback is that while giving a seminar talk is not the time to compose novel word combinations in the English language. Being bilingual can at be a disadvantage when distracted with nervous energy.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Grieving Process

A little over a year ago my mother died. She was my last remaining parent and when she died, a lot died with her.

Gone were the feelings of unconditional love that a parent gives. Gone was that comfort one feels of "going home". No more unconditional love. No more going home. No more finding a warm meal when I have spent all night in the lab. No more presents in my shoes on St. Nicholas Day. No more conversations and laughter about the silly things I did as a child.

So I built a fortress around myself. A strong one. I stayed bound in the denial stage. It was almost like a companion. It allowed me to function on a certain daily level. I was also proficient at avoidance. Hospice offered bereavement counseling which I knew would be a good thing. But I also knew that it would force me to feel in order to begin the healing process. So, I never went to the bereavement counseling offered by Hospice. Most of the time when I left the lab, I would go to a bookstore or coffee shop to take my mind off of the pain. Avoidance tied into denial allowed me to function in my stressful enviroment, deal with my personal disappointments, pass my oral candidacy examination, and live in my mother's house.

When some of the immediate stressors subsided from my life, my fortress somehow crumbled. No longer could I keep numbing myself. The pain manifested itself fiercely. I felt almost debilitated. I still feel that way. Sometimes I feel the pain searing through me and leaving me wondering if there ever be a day that I will feel better. Wondering and asking if a day will come when I can smile rather than wipe the tears from my cheeks.

Someone told me today that I am "willful and disobedient" (the person also left out stubborn). I have to say, it made me smile. Smile, because it sounded so much like what my mother would say to me. For the first time in over a year, I found myself smiling about my mother rather than crying. It gave me hope.

I realize that death is permanent. I will always have a void in my heart.

But hope is a good place to start. A good place to be.

(Photograph by Matthew Hendrickson--Lake View Cemetery)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I had a conversation with someone last evening which made me think about one of the wrong reasons people get married.

Some people get married because they want to be identified as some one's spouse. I think this reason holds true for both men and women. But sadly, I think that it holds more true for women than men.

Some years back, I was in a car with a friend of mine and her husband to be. I was not too fond of her choice of husband as I considered him to be extremely arrogant and way too full of himself. But hey, I was not the one that was going to have to live with the guy, so I tried my best to tolerate him.

The conversation in the car shifted to where she talked about wanting to quit her job eventually and become a stay at home mom. Nothing wrong with that. It is an admirable thing to do even if it is not something I want for myself. But what got to me was his attitude on the matter. He said that she had just gotten a promotion for her new job (the engagement) and she will be getting another promotion in June (the wedding). It seemed to me that he was already shaping her identity into his. It seemed to me the beginings of a dysfunctional relationship. I was rather disgusted.

When my mother was alive, she would talk about a certain woman that we knew as having a high status because she was the wife of a lawyer. My mother would exclaim, "But she is a lawyer's wife." I would then say, "So what? What about her? What does she do? What type of person is she?" To that my mother would reply, "She is a lawyer's wife." You can see that conversation would go no where.

I think it is important to maintain your own sense of identity. Even if the person is a stay at home mom. Have your own identity, your own interests, your own opinions, and your own life outside of the relationship/marriage. This is critical for emotional self-preservation. Otherwise, you lose your own self. You will also lose respect. Respect from yourself and other people.

Above all else should be respect.

The man who respects you for who you are outside of his identity is the man to have and to hold and cherish for the rest of your days.

Without respect, there is nothing.

Above all else should be respect...

(Painting by Edmund Blair Leighton. This is a painting I particulary like and seems to fit the post.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


My photography interest is in nature macro/micro photography. All my equipment is geared for that particular area.

People have asked me about taking photographs using human subjects. I have to say that one main reason I have not done it is because I don't have the proper lens for it. Trust me, human subjects and macro lenses are not a good combination, not unless you want all the flaws "enhanced".

But there are times I toy with the idea. I think about getting that type of lens to take certain photographs.

The above photograph certainly makes me think about spending good money on a lens for that type of work.

But there is the added problem of manipulating camera equipment and using myself as the subject at the same time.

But a photograph like the above would certainly be well worth the expense and effort.

A photograph to take the viewer's breath away...

(Photograph by Joseph Hancock)


I have to give a seminar talk for the research institute in one week's time frame. Oy. I am already working myself up in terms of major anxiety. I realize this will not be as bad as my oral candidacy examination where my future depends on my talk, but still.

Panic stricken? Mildly putting it.

I had to give my title to the administrative department this morning. That really seemed to pull me out of the denial of my upcoming talk.

The cartoon rather sums up my feelings on the matter.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dreams and Vulnerability

About ten years ago I had a dream about a man I know who was attempting to help me during a medical crisis. In the dream, I kept refusing his help until it was too late to help me.

For years that dream has stuck to me. Bothered me. Never quite understanding the full content of the dream. Even now, I don't fully understand all the nuances of that dream. But somehow, today, some of the dream has clarified in my mind.

Dreams, I believe are the windows to our mind. Our deepest thoughts and desires manifest in dreams. Freudian analysis terms our dreams as wish fulfillment. Even our worst dreams are a form of some type of wish fulfillment--even if it is a simple desire to change some negative outcome in our lives.

Many years ago, I worked as a therapist in a methadone clinic. I saw a variety of people who did not take very good care of themselves. I ended up coming down with the flu. No, I don't mean a very bad cold, I am talking about the flu. The type where you can wind up in the hospital. The type where your life can be in danger type of flu.

One of my more serious symptoms was that I had a fever of 103F for a few days. I was also somewhat disoriented. I could barely, just barely get out of bed. Forget trying to meander to the kitchen to get something to drink.

Even though I was somewhat disoriented, I knew I was in trouble. It was time to ask for help. So, I called my then boyfriend to pick up some OTC medication for me and check in on me. I was even thinking of that it just might be a good idea to go to the hospital but knew that in my condition, driving would have been a bad idea and I might end up in the morgue rather then the emergency room if I drove. That is also assuming I could even make it out to my car.

So, the boyfriend comes over, gives me the meds, checks my temperature and is amazed how high it is and tells me that he has to leave because he does not want to stick around and catch the flu. Doesn't bother to again call or check in on me until 5 or so days later. By then, my fever broke and I was very slowly getting better.

That incident I feel has shaped a certain attitude in me. I became somewhat reluctant to ask and accept help from people when I need it. Today, I realize how it manifested itself in the dream.

I felt that it was better to refuse help than need help and be denied. It was better not to be vulnerable in the first place.

Simple Pleasures

Botanical Latin.
Proves to evoke a plethora of pleasures to a closet Botanist on a Friday evening.

Who would have thought?


To All Medical Professionals:

Please do tell me if you are planning on sticking a long needle into my jaw. I tend not to like those kind of surprises considering I have TMJ dysfunction. Yes, I tend to be rather hypersensitive to any pain and pressure even close to my jaw for that obvious reason.

Yes, I am going to have such a strong physiological and emotional response to something like that. Sort of defeats the purpose of a nerve block, doesn't it?

If you tell me you are going to do something like that, I can prepare myself emotionally. Otherwise, it is going to be a bad experience for both you and me.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging

The cats that reside under my roof seem to be in most part in sync with me. We all get up together around the same time and eat breakfast around the same time. I assume that while I am away, they nap during the day. When I come home, they come to greet me at the door. During the time I am having dinner and doing miscellaneous things, they take the opportunity to play. In other words, they are active while I am active. The added bonus is that in the evening, watching them play is quite entertaining. Later in the evening, as I start getting ready to go to bed, they settle down. When I finally nestle myself into my bed, they too are going to sleep as well. They are pretty quiet during the night while I sleep and I assume that they are sleeping or in down mode. This usually works out well for me. Usually.

The problem is that lately I have been keeping rather odd and rather late hours in the lab. I have been coming home at various times. Anywhere from 2am to 8am. Cats, being creatures of habit, do not seem to know what to make of my odd hours it would seem. Their typical schedule seems to have gone out of whack.

So, it would seem that last night I had an attack of what I term the Polter-Kat (or more precisely, the Polter-Katzen).

When I got home last night at 2am, I was way too tired to do anything or even eat dinner. I realize it would have been a simple matter to just pop something in the microwave, but fatigue won over hunger and just fell into bed when I got home. I was looking forward to falling asleep within seconds, but it was not meant to be. The Polter-Katzen decided to strike.

First, the Polter-katzen decided to go into high energy play. I could hear various crashes throughout the house. It sounded like some sort of high speed chase was in effect until they hit some solid obstactle--like the wall. Distracting.

Then one of the Polter-Katz decided to get up on my dresser and start playing with a bouquet of flowers I had in a vase (they are wilted and somewhat dry at this point and make various crinkly noises when played with). I got up, shooed Polter-Kat away. Polter-Kat came back and continued playing with flowers in vase. Got up, scolded cat, and put vase of flowers in dining rooom making mental note of dealing with the dried flowers the next day.

Polter-Kat came back into room, found a small piece of cellophane paper to make new crinkle noises. Got up again. Found small piece of paper and properly disposed of it. Scolded Polter-Kat.

Polter-Kat has decided she is thirsty. Starts slurping water from the water bowl in the bedroom. I did not realize cats could slurp in such a loud and distracting manner. Oh, and who's bright idea was it to put a food and water bowls in the bedroom anyhow?

Moments later, Polter-Kat is on large dresser playing with some dried red roses I saved from a bouquet I received this summer. Shooed Polter-Kat away.

Then again, Polter-Kat is back on same dresser. Now playing with a large key that is sitting in a gift box. Apparently Polter-Kat is trying to remove key out of box. Finally gets key out and drops it on the floor. Starts playing with key on the floor. I get up again, shoo away Polter-Kat, and put key under my pillow so that Polter-Kat cannot easily get to it. Must make mental note to remove key from under pillow at some point so that key does not end up poking my body while I sleep. Plus having a key under a pillow is a weird thing anyhow.

At this point, I have learned from my mistakes and banish all cats from my bedroom (including Rorschach who was quite innocently curled up on my bed purring). I close my door.

Later, I hear what appears to be some type of fur equivelent of a bowling ball at high speed come rumbling down the hall and come crashing through my door (opening it in the process). Apparently, a game of high speed chase was in effect. Rorschach (aka Inkblot) was the chasee. He then finally catapulted himself onto the bed and I was the landing pad. Although quite impressive for a 16 year old cat, it was not appreciated. Milliseconds later, the rest of the Polter-Katzen were leaping on my bed to continue the chase. I was not amused to have various Polter-Katzen landing on me.

But they finally did settle down and go to sleep.

It was 4am now. I had to be up in two hours in order to get to the lab early to go over data with my advisor.

Poltergeist: (from German poltern, meaning to rumble or make noise, and Geist, meaning "ghost", "spirit", or "embodiment") denotes a spirit or ghost that manifests itself by moving and influencing objects.
Katzen: german plural of cats.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Talking in my sleep...

I have my alarm clock set to our local public radio station. I like this because I enjoy waking up to hearing a human voice as well as listening to something hopefully interesting as I am being nudged from my slumber.

However, I am finding two problems with this.

This first problem is that I have been consistently sleeping through my alarm. As a graduate student, I have become quite adept at dozing through someone talking. This can be rather annoying when I am listening to a talk and I actually want to hear what the speaker has to say.

The second problem is that my brain seems to have no problem integrating the subject of the radio program into my dreams. This has lead to some very very weird dreams.

So, I think perhaps it is time to switch to a music station. Perhaps then I will end the talking in my sleep...

[Sorry, but I have no intention on disclosing the contents of my dreams. Dreams are windows to the mind and I have my secrets...]

But here is a nice video of a song that I enjoy and seems to suit my post and my mood.
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