Friday, June 27, 2008

So it beings again

Tomorrow at 5am, I go from Katie, the mild mannered Ph.D. candidate, to Katie, the swamp creature.

Many people have remarked to me that they never would have imagined me as a nature enthusiast mucking around in the wetlands (swamps). To a certain degree, I have to agree with them. By appearance, I am a demure petite woman who on most days is poised and polished. On other days, I show a different facet of myself.

But that is not untypical. Like facets of a stone, I show something different depending on the angle that you look upon.

I suppose this particular facet of me has had some chiseling in my childhood. I was the girl who went to the pond looking for frogs and toads—and not afraid to touch them. I was the girl who caught crickets and brought them to class for show and tell. I was the girl who upon seeing a spider, would look at it closely and marvel at its intricate web--and yes, I was the girl who absolutely loved the story of Charlotte’s Web. I was also the girl who annoyed my mother to no end with all the things I caught—my favorite being the Praying Mantis I brought home to her.

I can’t describe what it is that drives me to explore places most people would not want to set foot in. There is something almost sensual about being so closely connected with my surroundings. The smell of the pristine earth fills me with the sensation of a primeval home. There is a sense of pride knowing that I allow myself to experience the various forces of the environment where others fear to tread. There is the metamorphosis that occurs when I allow the adventurer in me to surface. It is the visual textures that delight me and drive my passion to photograph them. My passions drive me to compose some of my pictures in a way as to make people look at things in a different way. My excitement is like that of the big game hunters even though my subjects are for my macro lens.

This facet of me is still being polished. I have yet to see what it will be like when it is finished--if it will ever be finished.

(Picture taken 07/06 with 105mm Nikon macro. Click on for a better close-up.)


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

--Robert Frost

(This is a poem that is often misused and misunderstood. For a proper explanation, look here.)

(Picture taken 6/06 with Nikon 105mm macro lens)

Friday Cat Blogging

This makes me all misty eyed and go awwww:
more cat pictures

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Girl's Night Out?

I was having lunch with a couple of my friends yesterday. They noticed my depressed mood and decided to do something about it. People who know me well know that when I am depressed I tend to retreat into a shell and need to be prodded out. Thus, they are going to take me out for an elegant evening of food, drink, and dancing. I have been instructed to dress in my finery with strict orders of what to wear (something similar to the above). One of the items being high heeled shoes.

Now, keep in mind I am nursing two foot injuries and a possible bruised rib. I am not sure if my friends will end up cheering me up or debilitating me.

Dead Body

So, yesterday evening, as I was doing some yard work, I made the gruesome discovery of finding a dead body in my garage--not the human kind, but the animal kind.

Badly decomposed (a good thing at this point) with nothing more than a skeleton and a pile of fur. It obviously was an opossum. I felt sad at its discovery. The way its skeleton was positioned, it was curled up in a ball like posture. It almost looks as if it passed peacefully in its sleep. I couldn't help but hope that my garage provided it with some security and comfort in its final moments.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A favorite aria?

The lovely arias from Rusalka still continue to drift through my mind. Here is a particularly lovely rendition of "Song to the Moon", which is my favorite aria from that Opera. This rendition seems to have a bit of a Celtic nuance to it. At any rate, I really must make it a point to at some point learn this aria. Perhaps this aria is destined to become my favorite aria to sing? Although I would have to learn how to control my tears as this aria often makes me cry.

Adventures in Nannyware

As I have a Mac laptop, the first thing that comes up is the apple start page when I log onto the research institute's internet. Upon doing so, I noticed in one of the sidebars an advertisement for the re-mastered Star Trek, The Original Series. Of course, being a Star Trek fan, I click on it.

The institute blocks me and gives me the standard warning message upon blocking me.

Could someone please tell me what is so dangerous or naughty about accessing Star Trek????


I will admit that I like corsets. They are wonderful to enhance the figure in all the right places under a dress or part of a dress. Worn as an outer garment, some of the lovely silk and satin ones are very romantic and even demure. Sometimes I really enjoy showing that feminine side of me and the corset really seems to bring out that part of me. It is not something I wear on a regular basis, but something for an occasional evening out.

From time to time, I will browse the various websites offering absolutely beautiful corsets for sale as well as articles by woman who enjoy corsets.

However, I do find this article disturbing. I realize that corset training was popular in a bygone era, but the article seems to promote it for modern times. An adult deciding to undertake corset training is an adult decision after all. But to write an article that seems to advocate corseting a child 24/7 is just wrong. I really do hope that this article is indeed a work of fiction.

If I should ever have a daughter, I would like to think that she would be a "cut above" due to the intellect and inner beauty I hope to instill in her.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Found this at Miz Minka's blog.


Q: What is your wallpaper on your computer? : A macro picture of a rose (not my picture--just something that was available on my Mac laptop)

Q: How many televisions do you have in your house? Three. Usually I don't turn them on and just are collecting dust.


Q: Are you right handed or left handed? Right, but fairly ambidextrous.

Q: Have you ever had anything removed from your body? Four wisdom teeth, four premolars, and one baby tooth that my orthodontist was impatient to have out and done with.

Q: What is the last heavy item you lifted? A huge box full of books.

Q: Have you ever been knocked out? As far as an anesthetic? That would be three times.


Q: If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No. I although I like to plan things, that is not one of them. Ignorance is my bliss in this regards.

Q: If you could change your name, what would you change it to? I always liked the Hungarian name Ildikó. It happens to be my cousin's name. It also happened to be name of Attila the Hun's last wife. It also is the name of my previous voice teacher. It is a name that is exotic but not too difficult to pronounce in the non-Hungarian speaking community.

Q: What color do you think looks best on you? Pastels. They usually bring out the blue in my eyes.

Q: Have you ever swallowed a non-food item? None that I know of!


Q: Would you kiss a member of the same sex for 100 dollars? No.

Q: Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for 200,000$? No way.

Q: Would you never blog again for 50,000$? Yes.

Q: Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for 1,000$? No.

Q: Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for a million dollars? No. (WTF?)


Q: What is in your left pocket? Nothing.

Q: Is Napoleon Dynamite actually a good movie? Huh? I did not even know it was a movie.

Q: Do you have hardwood or carpet in your house? Both. Hard wood floors in the bedrooms, carpeting everywhere else. I hate carpeting.

Q: Do you sit or stand in the shower? Stand--duh.

Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own? About two.


Q: Last person who texted you? Melissa--fellow swamper.

Q: Last person who called you? Daniel--wanted to make arrangements with me to photograph the rose pogonias (a type of orchid).

Q: Last person you hugged? Molly--a previous member of our lab.


Q: Number? Don't have one. Numerology does not float my boat.

Q: Season? Spring.

Q: Color? Like blue, pink, and purple.


Q: Missing someone? My parents.

Q: Mood? Sad.

Q: Listening to? The birds chirping. I like it quiet.

Q: Worrying about? Being able to finish everything by the end of this year and find a job.

Q: Wearing? Periodot green top with black pants.


Q: First place you went this morning? Out to the porch to feed the stray cat.

Q: What can you not wait to do? Go out and photograph the rare Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid on Saturday.

Q: Do you smile often? It depends if I have something to smile at/about.

Q: Are you a friendly person? Yes, but I am an introvert.

Double Knocks and Nothing More

I like to follow the search for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. My interest piqued when I attended a lecture on it at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

At the moment, the only clear evidence for this bird are the recordings of its distinctive double knocks. But sadly, no clear photographs or video coverage exist to prove its existence beyond doubt.

I sincerely hope that one day, evidence to show that it did not go extinct will surface. Until then, I, like a lot of people, will be cautiously optimistic of its survival.

The Science of Brain Farts

Here is an article about the science of brain farts. Brain farts are momentary lapses in concentration. Sort of like brain hiccups. Abnormalities in the brain are detected 30 seconds before the brain fart occurs.

Usually my brain farts are verbal in nature and I have always blamed it on being bilingual. You know, when you have two languages trying to coexist in one brain, there can be unusual consequences.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Rigó Jancsi

My favorite dessert is the luscious Rigó Jancsi. It is Hungarian in origin and I first sampled it on my last trip to Hungary. Sadly, I have not had it in 24 years. Why so long? It would seem that I have yet to sample an authentic Rigó Jancsi outside of Hungary. My brother-in-law tried to make it once for me as a birthday present, but sadly failed in his endeavor. Although the failure was still pleasing on the palate, it just did not come close to replicating the original. I also tried the Rigó Jancsi offered by the Farkas bakery, but even they admit that it is not authentic in duplication. It differs enough that I think they should not even call it Rigó Jancsi and should come up with some other name for their chocolate confection.

Rigó Jancsi is a chocolate lover's dream come true. It is chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate. The top is a solid layer of chocolate. The cake is light and fluffy. The chocolate mousse cream is like eating a chocolate cloud. Also, consistent with the Hungarian palate, it is not overly sweet. As a result, it is not difficult to eat many in a single sitting. Perhaps some day I will try my hand at trying to re-create this masterpiece. My Hungarian cookbook describes careful folding of the batter to ensure a light and fluffy cake as well as beating the chocolate cream until the peaks are stiff enough to stand on their own. It also states that everything depends on using the very best cocoa.

This dessert has an interesting historical background. It was named after the Hungarian violin primás Rigó Jancsi. It turns out that the Belgian Duke was having dinner with his wife at a venue where Rigó Jancsi was playing. The Duke's wife, the Princess Chimay fell in love with Rigó Jancsi's passionate dark eyes and soulful violin playing. She left her husband for this gypsy violinist. It created quite the scandal in that day. The scandal caught the imagination of a pastry chef and hence created this dessert to honor the love affair.

Rigó Jancsi may have stolen the love of the fair Princess Chimay, but the dessert has captured my unrelenting longing for it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hungarian Sundays

I have always enjoyed watching the Hungarian Bottle Dance. It is a dance by women that is done with a bottle of wine upon their heads. It is a dance I am not going to even attempt.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Sums up my mood today:

Star Trek Saturday

This one is for William the Coroner and Miz Minka (who has been in a Scottish mode lately):

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Go out and do something nice to enjoy the begining of summer.

Me? I will go home, finish weeding the rose garden and then sit down with a lovely cup of tea and enjoy the beautiful roses in bloom.
Ah, I do so love roses. I never tire of them. Only wish I had more time to tend to them.

(The painting above is one of my favorite Waterhouse paintings)

Friday Cat Blogging

I while back I had a foster cat named Hercules. He got adopted earlier this year and these are the pictures of him in his forever home. He is now named Samson. He sure does look happy. I love happy endings.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just show me how to love you

I love this duet--always have.

Orchid Guide

Although I was joking about becoming an orchid/botanical guide (see previous post), it turns out it is not far from the truth.

So far, two people expressed an interest in going with me on an expedition in a few weeks to see and photograph the rare Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid. Since it is such a long trip, I am going to throw in a couple of other wetlands on the way back for interest and to make the trip worthwhile.

They both agreed to meet me at 5 am to start the trip. But I am a little worried about how they will handle the Tiger mosquitos out there. But hopefully, the masculine attitude of "if she can do it, so can we" will kick in.

I am trying to figure out a way to tell them about the other aggressive biting insects and arthropods they will encounter. And I did not tell them that I sustained about 75+ bites (I stopped counting at 75) when I last went out there. I also did not tell them about the crustaceans and leeches we might encounter.

But I did promise that at some point we will stop for ice cream. So, we will come back all bitten--but happy.

An orchid guide? Wow. This is so cool. Who would have thought?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Orchid unknownus--update

Since Miz Minka is curious if I have identified the Orchid unknownus, yes I have. But sadly, I must report that I have "cheated'.

As it turns out, I have managed to get a bit of a reputation in the orchid community as someone who knows places of wonderful botanical treasures. Perhaps I should start a side business of giving guided tours? Anyhow, my orchid friend has been asking me for about a year now to take him on some of my expeditions. So, I let him know I was planning on going to Triangle Bog and he can tag along if he liked. Since he was kind enough to give me an orchid, the least I could do was let him muck around in a Bog with me.

My friend suggested I meet him at his home and that he would be willing to drive to the bog. So when I met him at his home, he was kind enough to show me his orchids. Upon doing so, I saw a plant that looked very similar to the one he gave me and I asked him if that is the one he gave me. He said it was, and that I figured it out. The identity of the orchid is:
Spiranthes cernua f. odorata 'Chadds Ford' - The Fragrant Ladies Tresses

As it turns out, I was just getting ready to move onto the Spiranthes genus as I have ruled out some other genera. I was also dreading the fact that it might be in the Spiranthes genus because even in bloom, the species is very difficult to identify for even a seasoned taxonomist. I did once identify a species of Spiranthes, but only because it was in bloom and that my macro lens allowed for great magnification of its features. But it was in bloom. To identify the species for the one that was given to me, I would have had to just take an educated guess.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Picture Me(me)

Found this Meme on Miz Minka's site. I thought I would play along. The only rule is that you must answer each question with a picture. So, there you have it. Everything about me in pictures:

1. What is your current relationship status?

2. What is your current mood?

3. What is your favorite band/singer?

4. What is your favorite movie?

5. What kind of pets do you have?

6. Where do you live?

7. Where do you work?

8. Who do you look like?

9. What do you drive?

10. What did you do on Saturday?

11. What did you do on Sunday?

12. What is your favorite network TV show?

13. Describe yourself:

14. What is your favorite candy?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Orchid unknownus

I belong to an orchid society. I enjoy the opportunity interact with a group of people who share a common interest as well as learn something new.

But I am afraid that I have made an impression upon its members that I am not sure if it is good or bad. We had a meeting last year in which we had an orchid taxonomist give a talk. I loved this talk because taxonomy is a keen interest of mine. Some people consider it dull, but I consider it fascinating. In fact, from time to time I love to just curl up on my bed on a lazy afternoon and just read up on taxonomy. As a result, I was able to answer all of the speaker's questions--from the common to the obscure. After the meeting, various people, including the speaker thought that I was a taxonomist. I explained that I was a Ph.D candidate in bioanalytical chemistry and just simply have an interest in taxonomy. But sadly, the impression has stayed with the members.

So, one of my friends, who is a member decided to give me an orchid (a division of a native orchid from his collection) a while ago. When I asked him what it was, he refused to tell me. He wants me to figure it out. No matter how many times I asked, he refused. The thing right now is just a bunch of leaves. Sheesh. It is extremely difficult to classify something when it is not in bloom. So, I asked him the cultural requirements (I figured that might give some clues to its classifciation as well as know how not to kill it). He tells me to keep it well watered and to put it into the refrigerator for part of its life cycle. Eh? Although I am always looking for growing space due to my ever expanding collection, I never thought of my refrigerator as a growing area. I guess somewhere between the milk and cat food I am supposed to put an orchid? Fortunately it is a small orchid.

Anyhow, next week is our orchid society's meeting. My friend is one of the speakers (he is giving a talk on growing native orchids). No doubt he will ask me if I figured out what the orchid is. I have not even begun to look through my books to try to classify the thing (and remember, it is NOT in bloom--all I have is the leaves to go on). Oh well, I have a week. In the meantime, I have the following tentative classification:

Refrigeratorus damifino.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eating the Kitty

Oh no. It turns out that Hello Kitty has gone into one of my favorite realms. That realm being chocolate. I love chocolates. Preferably the lovely imported Belgian ones.

Supposedly these Hello Kitty Chocolates are perfect for gifts to a woman--especially for Valentine's Day. I think if I were to get these as a gift from a man, I think the chances of me agreeing to see that man again would greatly decrease.

Is there no realm sacred from this Kitty?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Formal Attire

It has been two years since I attended a formal event and got the chance to don a full length ball gown. But the truth of the matter is that as much as I love mucking around in swamps, I do love the opportunity to get all dolled up, get my hair done, and put on a beautiful gown. When I last attended a formal event (at the Ritz Carlton), I was happy to hear that I was considered to be the woman with the most beautiful dress. Of course having a sister who owns a bridal store certainly helped matters. She would not allow me to get anything other than something that would turn heads. Although I confess that making such a grand entrance did cause me to blush a bit.

Ah I do miss getting all dressed up like that. But I do like this dress:

I also like the video and miss dancing like this in such a dress:

I guess I am just a romantic at heart.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Star Trek Saturday

This video amuses me.

As it turns out, I did once attend a Star Trek convention. Yes, I can be a geek at times. Anyhow, it was a lot of fun. Some of the people that came in costumes (I was NOT one of them) looked so "realistic" that it seemed as though I walked onto a Paramount set filming a Star Trek episode. The Klingon costumes and footwear were amazingly realistic. Looked more like the Klingon home world than the lobby of a hotel.

Dual Citizenship

Today I had to visit the Consul General to Hungary to take care of family matters. After those matters were taken care of, he told me that I am eligible to apply for citizenship to Hungary.

Being born here in the U.S.A., I never thought I would be eligible to attain dual citizenship. But some rules and regulations have changed, and since I am the descendent of Hungarian citizens, I am eligible.

So, I will be filling out the paper work and in about 6-8 months, I will officially be a citizen of Hungary. I will have dual citizenship in the two countries I am fond of. Also, any children I may have would in turn be eligible to become citizens of Hungary.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Hough Bakeries and Childhood

Talk to any Clevelander, and chances are it is with great fondness that the person remembers Hough Bakeries.

I am no exception. I have fond memories as well. However, for me, it is taken a step further. For my father worked a good portion of his life as a mechanic/engineer for the Hough Bakeries plant. Because of this, my childhood was filled with the wonderful tastes and memories of Hough Bakeries.

You see, my father worked the graveyard shift. This meant he got off work in the early morning hours. From the plant, he brought home the baked goods that were being prepared to be sent off to the various stores. I venture to say that I got to taste the baked goods before most Clevelanders got the chance to buy them.

My father would arrive home with the characteristic white box with blue swirls wrapped in string. He would leave the box on the kitchen table for me to discover. I would awaken, go to the kitchen and see the box. I would unwrap it wondering what wonderful things it might contain. Sometimes it would be chocolate cupcakes. Other times it was glazed donuts (no one made better glazed donuts), or a whole cake. My father would bring home a wrapped box of goodies several times a week. I can say that there was no shortage of lovely baked goods for me to choose from. It almost was like a bit of Christmas so many mornings.

As a child of one of their employees, I got the privilage at times to actually go inside the plant. For a child, being inside a large building filled with confections, sugar, vanilla, and chocolate is a bit like being in Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory. Of course, there were always the Hough Bakeries Christmas parties.

Sadly, Hough Bakeries has since closed and the delectable tastes are just a mere memory. But what a wonderful memory.

I do miss Hough Bakeries. I miss my father. And I miss his loving gestures that were white boxes wrapped up in string.

Friday Cat Blogging

more cat pictures

More often than not, this pretty much sums up what I am like in the morning.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Song to the Moon

Tonight I had the incredible joy of seeing (and hearing) Dvorak's Rusalka.

My favorite piece from the opera is an aria, "Song to the Moon" from Act I. Rusalka is a water nymph that has fallen in love with a human prince. In the Song to the Moon, she offers to the moon a prayer that the prince may know of her love--even if briefly in a dream.

The aria at times has the ability to move me to tears because is is filled with such intense longing...

Here is a video I found of the Song to the Moon:

A translation of the lyrics:

Silver moon upon the deep dark sky,
Through the vast night pierce your rays.
This sleeping world you wander by,
Smiling on men's homes and ways.
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me,
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Oh moon ere past you glide, tell me
Tell me, oh where does my loved one bide?
Tell him, oh tell him, my silver moon,
Mine are the arms that shall hold him,
That between waking and sleeping he may
Think of the love that enfolds him,
May between waking and sleeping
Think of the love that enfolds him.
Light his path far away, light his path,
Tell him, oh tell him who does for him stay!
Human soul, should it dream of me, Let my memory wakened be.
Moon, moon, oh do not wane, do not wane,
Moon, oh moon, do not wane....

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

I really like this article.

I once dated a couple of guys who wanted to make me into some type of anorexic model. Seriously.

When I was in college, my last few years, I weighed between 90-95 lbs. I am not sure why I was so thin. Part of it might have been due to the fact that I was a runner. But then again, for about one half of my life, I was always "too thin". I remember at one of my cross country physicals, it was determined I had a body fat percentage of 17%.

However, things swung the other direction for me for the second half of my life. I developed a medical condition that was undiagnosed for a while which caused me to gain a lot of weight. It has been a slow, but progressive battle to get down to a weight that I want. I have no desire to be 90 pounds again--even though it was the desire of a couple of my ex's.

The battle of weight loss still continues for me. But I still feel attractive even though I don't look like an anorexic model.
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